Success?

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A couple weeks ago something cool job-related happened to my husband.  I was happy for him, for us– and yet it has made me really contemplate what I use to measure success.  When I was working in the corporate world, success was assessed by quantitative and qualitative measures.  More sales, higher profit margins, increased customer acquisition, happier customers or easier navigation.  It’s easy for that mindset of more, more and more or good, better, best to bleed into my ideal of a successful life.

Before I go on, let me just say I do not think there is anything wrong with having more, buying things or making money.  No, no no.  I believe these can all be very good things.

These things, however, are not how I want to measure success in my life.

I want success to be measured by being transformed more like Christ.

Yikes.

I feel like a failure a lot.  A few nights ago my husband and I were arguing, loudly.  Very loudly.  I think our landlord probably heard us (we share a wall with him), which is incredibly embarrassing and I could only think how grateful I was that Maya was sleeping.  We ended the argument late, feeling stupid and immature yet falling asleep in each other’s arms.  The next morning we felt like complete failures.  How is it that we can do the church thing and read that big ole bible and say our prayers and teach our little girl the bible stories and still fail so miserably?!

I want to have a successful marriage.

Read: I want my marriage to be transformed more like Christ.

I want to have a successful job.

Read: I want to be transformed more like Christ where I work.

I want to have a successful life.

Read: I want to be transformed more like Christ every day.

Every day.

Every day?

Every day?!

Yet this is his will, no?

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. ~2 Corinthians 3:18

I will fail, yes.  I will probably fail a little bit every day most likely.  Yet ever increasing glory from the LORD is mine the scripture says!  And if it is from the Lord, He can do it and He will.  When I am tempted to give in to whatever it is, He will provide a way to succeed!

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ~1 Corinthians 10:13

I want to let go of my ideas that success looks like a gourmet meal on my “spring” table, a perfectly decorated and organized house, a little girl with a strategically placed pretty bow just on the right spot on her wavy hair saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, or a husband who brings home flowers and starbucks and lingerie.  All of those things are nice, and I would love to have even one of them (not to mention all of them at once!  That would be a dream!) but alone, a successful life (by my definition) they do not make.

How freeing it is to embrace life with this outlook.  How overwhelming it is at the same time!  May I seek Him always, Him first and let the rest fall into His lap with each choice I face today.

May His grace abound.

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Don’t Waste It!

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First of all, I’m not going to apologize for this picture but I know it looks a little funny.  A christian blog with a photo of two frat guys (or maybe they’re not frat guys, I’m totally assuming!) with a beer and a shot of who knows what (gasp!) on the front of the blog…  But I just felt like it really drives home the point of this post.  We really can be influenced to do/be/feel a multitude of things (apparently, including wearing leis and not wearing shirts while not laying out on a beach but whatev! haha!).  But I digress.  To each their own!

I remember sitting with my boss one rainy afternoon, talking about my job performance.  It was a good conversation; I’ve never been one to slack off or not get something done.  Even so, something struck me throughout our conversation that I’ll never forget.

Influence.

He told me that I had the unique ability to influence those around me, and I could use that to either motivate and help grow the business or I could waste it.  Use it or lose it, essentially; make it count or pour it down the drain.  It was up to me.  

While I’m sure he meant for those words to make me think specifically about my promotable future, that conversation was a pivotal moment for me beyond just my job.  He said I could be influential.  I had the ability to influence decisions, minds, direction– even mood.  Thankfully, my boss wanted me to flourish.  He wanted to help me understand the business even more so that I could better make decisions and better guide that influential spirit he believed I had.  I was grateful for his mentorship.

Influence has power, doesn’t it?

And while I think he was right about some things, there’s something I think could use a little tweaking (tweaking, not twerking, LOL!).  While he was speaking to the uniqueness within the business environment, I do not think influence is unique to only certain individuals.  What I’m talking about is not like a skill or a gift or a strength.  While some may use it more heavily than others (politicians, anyone?! :)), we all have the ability to influence, lead and build.  Don’t waste it!

Now that I am a wife and a mama, I realize this more than ever…  Especially regarding the tone of the spirit in our home.

  • If I am crabby, my baby girl gets restless.  I can assure you destruction mode will follow!
  • When I am annoyed and unhappy for no apparent reason (PMS I hate you) the people I love most suddenly follow suit.
  • If I am tragically over-dramatic, over-dramatic responses and tones of voices and words fill that stuffy air.
  • But when I choose joy, gratitude and patience, the mood reflects those tones as well.

It’s kind of scary, but we have power!  Don’t waste it!

It’s up to you.  To me.  It’s up to us to set the tone in our homes.  Aren’t peace and joy and kindness so much better than moodiness, crankiness and criticism?  Doesn’t forgiveness begin to chip away at resentment?  Isn’t grace refreshing to keeping score?  You set the mood.  I set the tone.  We are the deciding factors.  Don’t waste it!

“Do everything without complaining and arguing…” ~Philippians 2:14

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” ~Ephesians 4:29 (emphasis added)

The last couple days these verses have been the topic of my study, which bums me out on one hand because it brings to light how much growing I have to do in this area!  On the other hand, however, it illuminates what Christ intends for us– and if this is His will, He will do it!  Now…  Will we allow him and will we be obedient?

Don’t waste this power, my friend.  Your influence is key to shaping the vibe your home, husband and children (or if you’re single– your roommates, classmates, coworkers and/or teammates) will exude.  You can change minds, decisions, direction– even moods.  Your influence has power.

You are influential.  

Don’t waste it!

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