What is Success Really?
Recently, I've doubted & questioned my authority to encourage. Eyes closed, connecting with the Advocate gifted by Jesus* wisdom pervades...
If one was examining my lifestyle, actions, words and intentions, humbly stated, one might say it's pretty remarkable, joy-filled & positive, despite invariable happenstance, shortcomings and failures. I'm cradled in kindness, possess a steady zest & passionate curiosity, and awake with gratitude and a grin. My childhood nickname was Smiley. Shining God's Light -- His SonShine -- is my mantra. It's a meaningful life and not taken for granted.
Not a headline act, before 10, 100, 1000, 100,000, 1,000,000, advising clever or faster more efficient ways to think, act, and improve, I've shied from sharing thoughts. I'm not a celebrity and don't even play one at work, nor degreed in psychology, education, sociology, human relations, or other subject matter implying to have mastered human longings of the heart, or Life 101.
..and then, the Advocate reminds: Who would say my life is any less rewarding and enjoyable than someone who has all that, does all that, or studied all that? Perhaps a celebrity master-mind might confess that my quality of life is actually superior, though not a competition. So, what exactly is a successful life?
Recently, a customer apologized for not replying sooner due to busy-ness. He assumed I was also, until retorting to the contrary.
I intentionally don't fill days with to-do's or to-where's. Instead, time is budgeted to clean house, pluck leaves & dead bugs from the garden & admire what remains alive & buzzing, to wipe & stare into my little dog's eyes, to create space for friends, for crafting yummy meals, sitting on cool grass to read mail, feel the world go by, hear a child giggle & chat about mundane stuff with a neighbor.
The Tibetan Buddhist monk Dalai Lama is revered for remarkable wisdom & insight; however, most of his 3am to 7pm day is scheduled for reflection, prayer, and meditation, heeding his own internal advocate. Busy-ness, status, and social media don't make one's insight more impactful or meaningful.
By secular standards, success translates into fame, money, a fancy car, a castle of a home -- mote optional, trips around the world, yachts awaiting and whatever lives on the dream-boards of many envisioning more.
By God's standards, though, what exactly is Success?
Peace of mind
A pure unabashed heart
A thriving garden of friend- & fellow- ship
Using talents & gifts wisely
Christ-like behavior to self & others
A genuine relationship with our Creator
Feeling cradled in kindness by all
Excitement of a new day
Constant & anonymous generosity
Wholesome pure love
Acceptance of limitations, imperfections & failures even
The Apostle Paul advised to fix our thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable (Philippians 4:8). Doing so will put us on the path to integral success. So clear. So simple. Not necessarily doing or having more and may involve doing -- or being -- less. Heeding his own advocate, Paul's life was successful, providing clear instructions for us to have it all.
Isn't focusing on true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable sweeter, more gratifying & pleasant than grasping for a mote?
What defines your success? Is it aligned with your mission statement?
What does being top-o-the-ladder, or lead-dog, mean to you?
How do you stay on track each day toward your goals?
*...And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you...He is the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth...We will come and make a home in each of them...I am leaving you with a gift -- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give you is a gift the world cannot give. -- John 14:16 NLT