Saturday, April 28, 2012

Still I Judge Success By How I'm Dressing

I've been thinking a great deal about success.

I graduated from high school with a 3.98 GPA. In college I earned a 3.2 and while that's certainly not something to write home about, I managed to earn it while working part time and participating in a gaggle of theatrical productions--typically behind the scenes which I promise you was usually a lot more work.

I thought I would do something important. And by important, I thought that I would be something big. I wanted to see my name in lights. I wanted, at the very least, to see my name on the chalk board on the first day of school and not because I was still the student who couldn't shut up.

Advanced Placement.

Academic honors.

That is what I was used to and that is what I assumed would always define me.

I'd get married. We'd have two incomes. I'd own a home I didn't lose and we'd have a retirement plan that didn't involve one of us working until the age of 92. Academic success would lead to career success which would lead to financial success.

But compared to what? Compared to my neighbors* who own two homes, drive sports cars, employ a gardener, have a recreational vehicle, regularly check their nice retirement account and wear an expensive wardrobe? Compared to someone in Uganda or Honduras or Haiti who works ten times harder than me just to feed her family? Is she less successful than my neighbor?

Success is the achievement of something desired, planned or attempted. It is also the gaining of fame or prosperity. And I wonder, when did my working definition become the latter? When did success become about earthly prosperity? When did I start comparing myself to everyone around me and why do I struggle so greatly with maintaining a heavenly perspective?

I get turned around
And I mistake my happiness for blessing
I'm blessed as the poor
Still I judge success by how I'm dressing

I don't want to judge success by the clothes I wear or the car I own. I want to "Do what the Lord commands and follow His teachings...Then you will be a success no matter what you do or where you go." 1 Kings 2:3 CEV.

Success is the achievement of something desired, planned or attempted. I just need to remember that the only success that truly matters will be granted or denied at the gates of heaven. May my Master reply, "Well done, good and faithful servant." (Matt. 25:21) and not, "Depart from me. I never knew you." (Matt. 7:23) My Lord does not ask me to be famous or to prosper financially.

He simply asks that I live for Him.

So keep 'em coming these lines on the road
And keep me responsible be it a light or heavy load
And keep me guessing with these blessings in disguise
And I'll walk with grace my feet and faith my eyes.**

*Not my actual neighbors. Just a compilation of people I know. From around. From TV. Whatever.
**Lyrics= Faith My Eyes by Caedmon's Call

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