We all want to be successful in life, don’t we? In order to do so, we must set goals to achieve that—goals that determine the means to realize our definition of success.
However, people have varied definitions and measurements of success. And we want to pursue the right kind of success lest we want to find ourselves consumed and unhappy.
Most people feel successful in being in a position of authority, such as occupying a high position at work or having more than enough provision to indulge in regular travel and a bit of luxury here and there.
Success for most is measured quantitatively and materially. If I have a lot, then I am successful because I am happy. But do our possessions really guarantee prosperity and fulfillment in life? By prosperity, I am not limiting this to wealth and an abundance of material things—like how the world perceives it. You can have little money, no debt but lots of love in life, peace in your heart and a sweet sleep each night and I would personally define that a successful, prosperous life.
What is success to you, as a parent? I want to ask you to take time to answer this because your definition of success inevitably impacts the way your child would aim for it and because it influences our parenting.
If success to us is a high paying job and having a big account to cover the future then we could be slave-driving our children without us knowing.
The Bible in 2 Corinthians 5:9 through the life of Paul shares with us what our goal in life should be: “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”
Why should our goal be pleasing the Lord? He explains further in the verse that succeeds it: “ For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
To answer the question, simply because we are accountable to Him—The One who gave us everything, yes including the gifts and talents we have.
Tho the fruit seem to be directly from the labor of our hands, ultimately everything is from the Hand of God. Apart from Him we have and we are nothing (John 15:5).
If you ask me for my definition of success before I even sat down and listened to the service message in church last Sunday that discussed this in detail, it is knowing I have done what God wants me to and I know that when I have a peaceful, restful sleep at night. It is towards the end of the day that I gauge if I had a great, successful day: When my heart is not troubled and I can rest in God’s goodness and sovereignty as I resign for the day.
My definition is somewhat aligned to the perspective the apostle Paul gives us, only at a lengthier time frame. A day to me is a lifetime here on earth for him. Rest at night to me is eternal repose in his words. How we live this lifetime on earth affects our eternity, because we are accountable to The One who made us and placed us here – Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And what do we aspire for to hear from Him when Judgment day comes? “Well done, my good and faithful servant, come and share your Master’s inheritance!” (Matthew 25:21).
It is our faithfulness to Our Father up there while we are here on earth below that is the true mark of success. We please God when we obey His Commandments and His personal and individual calling for us all; and we have a harmonious and congruent public and private life. When we honor God in all we do, we are successful in His eyes—the only One whom we must aim to please.
If grades and awards matter to us so much that we pressure our children to the point of exasperation, may we realize that there is more to life than those. The heart and values that shape it, if you ask me, are of more importance than any medal, certificate or ribbons to honor our children academically.
If we once took pride in the number of activities our children are engaged in and excel at–though they may feel coerced and exhausted from the rounds—, may we assess honestly that their sense of achievement is not misplaced and not drawn from the number of titles.
Ultimately, I pray that simply answering to and obeying the calling for us and our children suffice to live a life of peace and pleasure knowing Our Heavenly Father is pleased in all that we do, because we do all for His glory.
One question to ask yourself in the many areas in your life and work you do, especially as we enter this week of rest and reflection: Is God glorified in this? How do I bring glory to God through this?
Wondering what can help you check the standards for that? Open your Bibles, read Joshua 1:8 and be guided by instructions from the One who created you, this life and placed you where you are today. Are you living for Him?
God bless you and have a great, fruitful, faithful, successful, peaceful week!