The Measure of Success

There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven.    (Ecclesiastes 3:1 – AMP)

For years, I have said the ruler with which I measure my own success is that I’m exactly where God wants me to be, in the moment He wants me to be there, doing what He has called me to do at that place and time.  If I was at that intersection of place, time and deed, I was a success.  Here’s the problem:  I may believe that to be true, but I wasn’t living by it.  The reality is that I spent more time comparing myself and my accomplishments to those around me rather than being content with living in the present.  Comparison and not trusting God regarding my current “status” in life made me an unhappy person.

Has God been pursuing you to serve Him in some capacity, but you’re discouraged because you feel you’re too old to start something new?  Are you discouraged because you’ve reached a certain age and you think your usefulness has seen better days?  If these are lies you’ve been entertaining, then stop it already!  The Kingdom of God is at hand, and He has created you for a specific purpose.  Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t give up on God!  Habakkuk 2:3 (AMP) says, “For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, Because it will certainly come; it will not delay.”  Ask God to outline the vision He has set before you for the rest of your life, regardless of how many years, months, or days that may be.  Maybe your success will be in evangelizing to the next Billy Graham on your death bed.  We shouldn’t give up on satisfying the desires God has placed on our hearts.

God is looking for individuals to be obedient and to trust Him.  I’m 44 years old.  Three years ago, I walked away from the career I thought would bring me success and started working for my husband.  I’d made so many mistakes in my journey with God that I thought He would no longer have any use for my services.  I thought I’d aged out of any hope of success.  But this is God’s truth – I’ve just begun to walk into that for which I was created.  I’m more excited than I’ve ever been about what lies ahead!  I’ve finally realized that God doesn’t measure the timeliness of success based on the number of years we’ve been on this earth but on our willingness to answer the call at any age.  He’s not even close to being done with me yet!  And, guess what?  He’s not done with you either!

If you’ve read this far into the post, I beg you to read it to the end.  As with all my posts, my hope is to encourage you.  You may not get the instant gratification of encouragement in the next couple of paragraphs, but it’s coming, I promise!  First, though, let’s talk about some individuals that I in no way compare to based on their accomplishments.  The youngest elected U.S. president was John F. Kennedy, who was 43 years old when he was inaugurated.   At age 20, Kylie Jenner may dethrone Mark Zuckerberg as the youngest self-made billionaire.  Zuckerberg was 23 years old when he earned that distinction.   The helicopter’s inventor, Ivanvich Sikorsky of Ukraine, invented the helicopter in 1909 at the ripe old age of 20.   The youngest New York Times bestselling author, Jake Marcionette, was 12 years old when he debuted his first book.  Finally, how would you feel about being treated by the youngest medical doctor (ophthalmologist), Ambati Balamurali Krishna, when he was 17 years old?  I was barely passing basic high school science classes at that age.

So, I really don’t compare myself to individuals like these.  I have more of a tendency to compare myself to peers of equal opportunity, education, age, etc.   However, I have an important reason for mentioning the folks above.  Yes, these individuals were exceptional in their early achievements.  I’m sure they possessed great confidence, intelligence, and giftedness to make history at such a young age.  But don’t worry, there’s a bright side for us common folk!  The time at which each of these individuals set forth on their projected path of success to the point at which they achieved their goals likely spanned just a few short years.  Based on their age alone, they probably worked less than five to ten years to achieve their goals.  Let me guess, you aren’t feeling encouraged yet?  But, you should, and here’s why — if these young people, with their limited life experience, can achieve their goals and successes from start to finish in five to ten years, then why can’t you accomplish that which God puts on your heart?  If you didn’t do it from 20 to 30 years old, what’s to stop you from doing it from 70 to 80 years old?

First of all, success and greatness aren’t about having billions of dollars in the bank (although it would be nice and I ain’t gonna say no to it!).  Success isn’t about having achieved the highest levels of education.  Success isn’t about being the most famous, and it isn’t about being elected to the highest office.  For most of us, that was never God’s will for our lives.  God created each of us with unique gifts, talents, and calls upon our lives.  It’s fruitless to compare what we achieve in our lifetime with the achievements of others because their accomplishments were their own, not God’s calling and will for OUR lives.   By entertaining comparisons, we fall into the trap of the enemy who loves to accuse us of not being good enough, and that simply isn’t true!  Your success will NOT be found by striving for the call upon another’s life.  Your success will be found in fulfilling God’s call upon your life.

To achieve God’s success in our lives, we must allow God to position us to be at the right place at the right time.  In the future, I will share times when I didn’t understand why I was positioned in particular places in my life.   I’ve experienced the pain in leaving, and I’ve experienced the pain in staying, but my success was in being obedient to God’s direction.  Whether I stayed or I left, it was in Him.  Obedience doesn’t mean we won’t suffer for a time, but obedience will produce good fruit in due season.  Success will find us when we trust God.

Finally, and the reason I wrote this blog and hoped you’d stick with me to the end, so many of us think that we must achieve specific accomplishments by a certain age, say 30 years old, or we’ve failed.  This is a lie straight from the devil!  I want to refer back to the young people that found notorious success in their lives and why their accomplishments should encourage you.   You need only to give yourself to God each day, regardless of your age, to be successful.  It’s a misconception that there’s more value to success achieved under the age of 30 as opposed to success between the ages of 60 and 70, or even 70 to 90 years of age for that matter!  The idea that age matters is a human concept, not a Godly one.  Remember Abraham?  God’s purpose for him was accomplished in his later years!

I’ve found freedom by releasing myself from the comparison of others.  I may not have been a success yesterday and I may not be a success tomorrow, but today, I’m a success.  Today I’m writing the blog that God asked me to write.  I may have only two people reading this blog (because I asked them to be my grammatic and spiritual editors, so they pretty much have to), but it’s for the audience of the One who has captured my heart.  By simply walking in the obedience of God’s will, I have, today, achieved success.   Your success has nothing to do with the things of this world nor your age.  Your success is only defined by walking, today, in the purposes of God for which He created you.

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is [indeed] plentiful, but the workers are few.  (Matthew 9:37 – AMP)

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