"Am I a success or a failure?" is a question that has been bouncing around in my mind for a few weeks now. Some days I feel like a success, but honestly, more days than I'd like to count, I feel like a failure. I tried to sit and define what success means to me just so I can better understand why my emotions flip-flop so much. Many things came to my mind, but the answer for me was this: success means to work hard at something and see it flourish, see it multiply, see it become bigger than what you had originally envisioned. That's success. With that definition in my heart, I now understand why, much of the time, I see myself as a failure.
Before anyone tells me that I'm not a failure, let me give you a few examples of what I see:
-I wrote a Pre-School curriculum. I worked day and night to complete it. I labored over it and prayed to hear from the Lord as to what children need to learn about God. Result- I have sold a few books, but it hasn't gone anywhere. I have even worked hard to market it, but still nothing.
-I clean and clean and train my children how to keep a tidy home. I work hard, very hard to keep an organized, clean home. I teach and train. I look around my house and I see clutter, dirty floors, walls, and the most unsightly closets.
-I love ministering to women and children. I love this blog. I love sharing my heart on the blog to bring comfort and healing to other women as God has comforted and healed me. I love creating crafts that bring moms and kids together. I've been writing this blog for five years, I still have only twenty-five followers.
-I begin dieting, eating right, excising. I believe that this time I will stay committed, but then something happens, I stop and go back to my old ways.
Success in the Webster's Dictionary says, "A favorable or satisfactory outcome or result. Something having such an outcome. The gaining of wealth, fame, rank." My children said they think success is "completing something" another said, "completing something well." I thought about all of this and thought, "Yes, completing my book, writing a blog article, cleaning the house does make me feel successful, BUT again there is no continued feeling of success when the book doesn't sell, the article isn't noticed or the house becomes a mess again. I think, "So what was all that work for?
I was beginning to feel like a hamster running on a wheel. I was running and running and working hard, but in all actuality, I felt like I was going no where. I was questioning, "Is all my work in vain? Am I wasting my time?"
Then, I recently re-watched, with my son, the movie, The Blindside. It's about a homeless, black young man who was taken in my a white family. The family took him into their hearts, gave him shelter, food, and an education. They turned his life around simply by being the hands and feet of Christ on this earth. As the credits rolled, tears began to form in my eyes. My son looked at me and said, 'Why are you crying?' I said, "One person made a huge difference in the life of another."
Then I thought about my life. Twenty-one years ago I was a homeless, white girl who was taken in by a black family. They took me into their hearts, gave me shelter, food and a deeper love for Jesus. They turned my life around simply by being the hands and feet of Christ. One person made a difference. I often think that I am doing nothing and I am going no where, but the truth is God uses me to touch the lives of others, when, many times I don't even realize it.
So, what does 'success' mean to me now? Success means to be used by God to touch the lives of others without always knowing the outcome. To be obedient to write books, write articles, pray for anyone He puts on my heart, pray with people-even strangers, in order to touch lives with the love of Jesus. To be His hands and feet on this earth. To love and raise my children to follow after Christ so that someday they will be the hands and feet of Christ to others. To love and cherish my husband so he can go out into the world and impact it for Christ. In loving and praying with others I might not always get to see the effect in their lives- I might not see the 'outcome,' but knowing that I was obedient is where the success lies. If I can do this, little thing, touch lives for Christ, be obedient to God, then I am a success.
I'm not going to lie and say that it wouldn't be nice to see my book published, -it would. Or to see my blog take off! -it would. But, all the recognition from this world, or lack of, doesn't make me a success or failure. Helping another fall in love with Jesus, giving them hope, doing for others what was once done for me is all the 'success' I really want.
Help me to be content in my obedience to you. Help me to be your hands to touch, hold or bring healing to others. Help me to be your feet to walk and go where others are hurting and need you. Help me to touch lives in your name. Help me to deny the worlds definition of success and take up what you deem is successful in my life. I release my book, writings, house, dieting, and more, into your hands.
Thank you for agape love through my time of frustration and confusion. Thank you for using me even when I saw myself as a failure. Thank you God for comforting my heart and helping me to see the true meaning of success. Help me to never forget it again.