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Archive for February 23, 2013

The Common Identifier

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The Measure of Success

I’ve been thinking about “success” a lot lately. At work I’m surrounded by managers and team leaders who are 22 years of age and younger. Some of my closest friends have their “dream jobs”; or are earning what I would describe as “the big bucks”. So many friends, family members and acquaintances are in relationships. My “adopted brother from another mother” is getting married. My cousin and a best friend from high school are due to give birth soon…

I stand and I look at it all. At everyone. And sometimes it’s really hard to not think “they’re living my dreams; when will it be my turn?”

I’ve said it many times, but before Mike’s death I felt like I was going places. Post Mike, it went completely out the window. For the past 4 years I feel like I’ve fallen into a dark well and I’m paddling my brains out trying to find a way to climb out. Climb out to the path that I was originally on. My plans. My dreams. Everyone else seems to be excelling past me at lightning speed… And I’m “on pause”. But I’m not, because the time continuum is quite literally carrying me on.

Two things had gathered in my thoughts on this subject recently. Firstly, my life hasn’t followed the typical traditional pattern of: go to university, meet someone, get married and have kids. Secondly, I’ve realised I am at present walking in my destiny. Consequently, if these two statements are correct, then I’ve realised that in my confusion and frustration I have been fighting against creation itself.

Sometimes in life we feel so unsettled and incomplete. And often we realise we’re trying to go against something or force something to happen when we actually just need to let go, jump in, trust and accept. By constantly comparing myself to my perception of the world’s standards of success I’m guaranteeing myself to fall short every day… I’m not giving God a chance to show me success in my life through Him.

I found myself faced with the question “well what do I really see as success?” Because I’ve seen “success” all around me these past few days. As well as the successes mentioned above I’ve also seen: the patience of a colleague who spends almost 2 hours trying to find the locations of items; the biting of one’s tongue in an argument; the sacrifice of time and finances for others; the demonstration of extravagant love; a midnight trip to see the stars; the energy to complete daily chores; the discipline to eat healthy; the wisdom to submit to leaders even in disagreement and injustice; the commitment to invest in a phone; a kind word; the ability to make others feel important and worthy; the freedom to hang out with friends; arriving to a destination on time…

The list is endless.

In truth, none of this makes me feel passionately alive and hopeful that my life is successful; but I do feel challenged to balance out my fears of the “huge” life achievements with all the daily successes God gives me. I’m not sure turning my attention to this will reduce or replace the longing of my larger dreams but I do have a feeling somewhere between my heart and stomach that I wont be going to bed each night feeling bad about myself.

One could suggest “just change your dreams if it causes you sadness.” At this moment in time I don’t want to change or limit my dreams… But whether or not I reach those dreams I do know I don’t want to waste the time in between with constantly causing myself to feel like major parts of my life are under the title of “fail”. If I believe God loves me, if I really believe He isn’t finished with me… Then I need to trust Him that he knows my heart and my dreams. Solid belief and trust would certainly make it easier for me to faithfully walk my life even if I don’t understand why it is the way it is or what He’s up to.