How do you measure success?
That’s a brilliant question because the world is fiercely pursuing you, seeking to force its own elastic rules into your thinking.
What do I mean by elastic rules? The world will set one line in the sand and say you’re a success when you finally reach that post, and then the moment you are a millimetre over the line the goal will be catapulted forward with the same carrot dangling before you.
Success in the world’s eyes is a moving target. Enough is never enough, and everyone else is so much better, faster, more, and mightier than you.
Comparison and competition can be crippling
Instead of celebrating the wins of others, or your own, you are caught in the constant pursuit of someone else’s promise, and chasing someone’s else’s dream
Let me stop right here. Your creative call in God cannot be hijacked by anyone else.
The yoke of success and fruitfulness the Lord has shaped for your neck is easy and light for you to carry. Trying to don the yoke he has designed and crafted for another will chafe your neck and trouble your conscience.
Why? Because God has a massive all-encompassing Kingdom purpose, and each one of us has our specific part to play. You may measure by levels of income, but our Father is measuring our success according to our level of obedience.
Obedience is better than sacrifice. Knowing His voice and walking in step with Heaven is better than all the earth can offer.
At times, it may be motivating to draw inspiration from others’ affluence, but more often than not, we measure ourselves in comparison rather than as a companion. It seems that competition is a disease inherent to fallen human nature.
A searching verse from Corinthians sums it up:
“Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!” 2 Corinthians 10:12
Your productivity goals are, or at least should be, different from others’. If they are aligned with your stage in life, your values, your particular skillset, the measure is really yourself. Only you can determine if you are successful or not.
I have fallen into the ditch of “enough is never enough” on more occasions than I would like to confess.
We read the boasts and income reports of fellow entrepreneurs with envy and think, “If only…” but when we reach the same seemingly dizzy heights, there’s the temptation to bypass thankfulness and strive for the next plateau.
A Single Eye
Speaking with Holy Ghost about my tendency to be triggered in a negative way by the constant noise and boasting in the online space, I lamented the fact that I can so easily be rubbed the wrong way by someone else’s breakthrough.
Rather than celebrate their flourishing call, my eye sometimes narrows.
A cynical spirit is not from God. Discerning yes. Dis-eased by what you see, no.
Needless to say, there are mixed messages that are broadcast, especially in the world of marketing (even Christian marketing), and they can so easily lead to confusion. Many are designed to twist the knife and stir worldly desires, shifting your focus from freedom to fear of lack. Purporting to invite you to a life of abundance they instead amplify what people ‘don’t have’, not what they do.
But how should we respond? Is it our place to judge another, or are we only authorised to judge our own reactions and responses and relate those in keeping with our own call?
With your personal walk and call in view, not shadowed by a thousand other towering voices, the light of God’s favour is given free access to fill our entire being with his light and revelation.
Your next step will be clear.
How about this for a naked prayer, recorded in my journal this morning:
“I want You to go deep and rip from my belly all that infects my eye!”
He led me to the following verses in Matthew:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:21–23 KJV)
A single eye.
Literally, without folds. Nothing is hidden or covered up. It is laid straight.
A single, unwavering purpose. Fulfilling it’s office.
It means simple, where there is nothing complicated or confused. (Check out Thayer’s Theological Word book)
A clear eye, intent on fulfilling it’s singular purpose.
With one focus – serve the King generously without comparison.
An evil eye.
Diseased, full of labours, annoyances (there’s that rub!).
Pressed and harassed by works and hardships.
Unintermitted toil carrying no suggestion of results (welcome to the hamster wheel!).
Envious and narrow in it’s estimation of others.
Productivity – producing good and abundant fruit – is holistic. My family life should be richer as a result of my production; they should not be starved of my presence and attention.
The truly rich and “fruitful” (productive) man or woman lives by measures of genuine value, regulating their life accordingly.
Too often, we are goaded like blind and dumb cattle into thinking our progress towards the goal can be measured by a bottom line.
Your true worth is not determined by your net worth.
Limited Pie thinking insists that if someone else has a big slice, there’s less for me.
But who says the pie has to stay the same size? As we all rise, the pie expands and the opportunities open up that previously did not exist.
Free yourself from comparison and competition, and commit to YOUR call.
Serve Christ with your whole heart.
Keep sowing, and let Him take care of outcomes. He is an abundant rewarder.