Redefining Success

Gina Butz expectations, identity 2 Comments

What does success really look like?

photo by Edu Lauton

It’s no secret to people who know me that I like to be successful. I tend to shy away from activities if I know I can’t do them well. And by well I mean better than anyone else (ugh-it sounds worse outside of my head). Average is Gina’s F.

This kind of thinking brings to mind the story of the talents from Matthew 25. One servant receives five talents, another two, and another one. Those with five and two make the most of what they have, investing them wisely and doubling what they have. But the servant with one talent does nothing with it. He wastes what he has been given.

I’d like to think that I have five talents, nay, ten talents. Oh what I could do with ten talents. But in some situations, I realize I might only have two. Maybe even just the one. That shouldn’t make a difference, but it can to me. I allow what I think I have to influence how much I will put myself out there. I become more focused on how using these talents will make me look than on being a good steward of them. I get distracted by comparing my talents with the talents of others. I think more about what they can do for me, than what I am doing with them for Him.

Take writing, for example. The more I am exposed to successful writers, the easier it is for me to doubt that what I write is worth putting out there. Am I successful if I don’t have the same following as them? Am I good enough if my posts aren’t wildly popular? Should I even bother? I see the success of others, and it’s tempting to think that if I can’t do that, I should just give up.

I need to redefine success.

Because according to this story, success is not about how much you have, how much people recognize what you offer, even what an impact you make. Success is being faithful and obedient with what he has given youTwitter , whether it’s a little or a lot.

So being successful as a writer is not about the number of likes and followers and retweets. It’s about listening to God’s voice and sharing whatever words He gives me because He asked me to share them.

And being successful as a parent is not about our kids’ achievements. It’s about believing that God has given us responsibility and resources to pour into our kids, claiming grace for what we lack, and leaving the results to God.

And being successful in our work isn’t about attaining more financial security or that corner office, but using the gifts He has given us to the best of our abilities in whatever space God has called us to work.

And being successful in life isn’t about creating the perfect amazing outward life, but about walking the long and dusty road with Him day in and day out, taking each next step as He leads regardless of who sees it.

In all these activities, our responsibility begins and ends with faithfulness and obedience. What He does with what we offer is up to Him. Whether He brings great fruit and influence and world change, or whether it falls on deaf ears and closed eyes, we have been successful if we show up.

So how have you been looking for success in your life? And what would it look like to simply be faithful and obedient today?


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When You Just Have to Do One Day at a Time 

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