Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:)
God really does turn things upside down.
Let me tell you, He’s turning a lot of things upside down in my life and it’s uncomfortable. But growth is uncomfortable. And growth is good.
I talked before about how God is redefining success in my life. But IT’S SO HARD. Seriously.
Lately, God’s teaching me: Success isn’t wrapped up in what I can do. It’s how I do those things.
Success isn’t what, it’s how.
But I have a major problem with that idea because I love all my whats.
I’m an enneagram 7, so I love to do everything. During my senior year in high school, I was in the musical, played soccer, published my book, took AP classes, and worked all at once.
Please don’t read this and be impressed. This is not healthy. I didn’t share all the things I did to show off. I included them because I want to show you: I’m stuck in a rut of tying success to doing things.
Because I’m a 7 I can naturally be decent at a lot of things. I’m a fast learner. So if I join ping pong club without any experience, I definitely won’t be the best, but I’ll catch on and be able to hold my own after a little while.
This is why it’s so easy for me to spread myself super thin and want to do everything. Because I can be okay at a lot of things. Not great, but sufficient.
All through high school, I did things. I joined all the clubs, poured everything I had into soccer. I tried new things like the musical and ping pong club and writing club. I served lunch and took hard classes for the sake of just taking them.
I told myself the more I did, the more successful I would be. And that mindset stretched me thinner than a piece of paper.
But now God is turning that mindset of “doing” upside down.
Now He’s showing me what success looks like to Him.
Honestly, this Fall has been full of a lot of failures. A lot of missed opportunities. A lot of no’s. A lot of mistakes. I haven’t sold hardly any books. Writing my next book has become really hard.
Most of the time, I feel like I haven’t done enough the last few months. I fall into that “doing” rut again and beat myself up. “You decided to not go to college for this, and you’ve barely sold any books! Can you even call yourself an author?”
But despite all the things I’ve failed to do, I’ve grown closer to God this season than I ever have before. And I haven’t been growing closer to Him because of what I’ve been doing for him. I’ve simply been growing closer to Him because I’m with Him. That’s all.
And that feels weird.
I babysit a lot. So pretend you’re me, babysitting for your neighbors or something. You’ve put the kids to bed, played games with them, ate mac-n-cheese. The house is finally quiet. Suddenly, the garage door opens and you hear a car door shut. The parents walk in and as they dish you cash from a random kitchen drawer, they ask you, “so what have you been up to the last few months? I heard you didn’t go to college.”
The scariest question out there. Because after years of being able to say, “Oh, I’m just publishing a book and doing school and playing soccer and acting and singing and blah blah blah” all I have now is,
“Well, I’ve been working and uhhh I’ve been spending a lot of time with God.”
The looks I get are pretty funny.
But after believing for so many years that doing = success, I feel like such a failure saying my biggest step forward this season is growing in my relationship with Christ.
And it’s not a failure! My relationship with God is the greatest thing I have. But under my fraudulent, cheap definition of success I brand it as a failure in my weakness.
I think God is removing a lot of earthly success in my life during this season because He’s showing me what true success looks like. And it’s hard.
But I know: even if I feel like a failure, when I am with Christ, I know I am not one.
Because success to God is:
Choosing to spend time with Him over doing things.
Listening instead of speaking.
Humility over pride.
Building His kingdom instead of building my empire.
As hard as it is to say, I know all the things I did aren’t really a big deal to God. But I know He cares about how I did them.
God doesn’t need me to do anything for Him.
He doesn’t need me to write books about faith to bring people closer to Him ~ He can do that Himself.
He doesn’t need me to worship Him ~ He commands the praise of all humanity.
He doesn’t need me to write blogs every Saturday morning ~ He can speak truth on His own perfectly fine.
But He invites me to do those things not to prove myself or be successful or any of that crap, but to be with me in those things.
Again, He reminds me, we’re not human “doings.” We’re human beings. Crafted to be with our savior.
So I’m learning that this is success: to be with God.
It’s uncomfortable for me to think of success like this. But when God flips things upside down, it can get a little uncomfortable.
And I know success can’t be boiled down to such a simple phrase, because I know success is a lot more than just sitting with God. But it is from being with God that our minds are transformed, that our knees hit the ground, that our hands reach to help, that our mouths open to testify, that our hearts are healed.
From justification blooms sanctification.
From grace blooms faith.
From being with God blooms “success.”
But success is such a cheap, worn-out word. I think God replaces it with something far more valuable:
Surrender > success.
Being > doing.
How > what.
Jesus > the treasures of this world.
Lily sang her version of the song and she’s very proud;)