Striving for success is like chasing a rainbow. The search is pretty with lots of colors and sparkle with the promise of that pot of gold at the end. Really, though, you never get to the end.
I’ve shared about how I’m learning to find value over success in the areas of ministry over at Facebook. Through this journey, developing a taste for value isn’t easy. We humans seek out applause, recognition and affirmation. Even if you don’t like being in front of crowds, you still want to be noticed for what you do behind the scenes.
If this desire is the motivating factor behind anything we do, it’s driving us for the wrong reason. Plus, it’s chasing that elusive rainbow where we’ll never reach the end to get that infamous pot of gold. Chasing success will never fully satisfy, therefore, it will never really end. If you are like me, my intentions to serve and minister were good. However, deep down under those good intentions, I still wanted to know if people noticed me. Their response was my measuring stick of whether I was good enough. I wanted to be successful because that must mean God’s stamp of approval was on me. Well, and…..that people liked ME!!
How do you know if you are chasing rainbows ?
First of all, I am learning my identity is in Christ alone. Once I learn my worth is in Christ and my relationship to Him is more important than what I do, then I can let go of needing what other people say or how they respond. My efforts at ministry are an overflow of loving God. This is an ongoing process. I’m never going to fully realize this as long as I’m on earth.
Once I have my identity in the right place, I can distinguish the difference between success and value: Success feeds my ego and pride, and value encourages others, glorifies God, and makes me thankful.
Seeking success benefits me. It feeds my ego. To be successful, I’m focus on the number of likes I get on a post or the number of views on a Facebook video. In front of a crowd, I’m looking to see how many people show up or how much they applaud. I’m getting very transparent here…I”ll even wonder if this one thing will open up an opportunity for another thing. Success (for me), more often than not, is trying to look good for myself, to make sure people notice me, and see what’s in it for me. When I’m striving to be successful, it’s all about me.
Seeking value benefits the people around me. I’m not concerned with how I look but rather if people are encouraged, edified, and desire to draw closer to God. Do they hunger for a deeper relationship with God because of how I’m am reflecting Christ?
Another way I know I’m being of value is when a precious woman writes me a thank you note saying how much she got out of an event. Or, a dear friend tells me to keep going because my efforts are making a difference. Or, someone telling me what I said was exactly what they needed to hear. God uses these individual responses to encourage me that what I’m doing is of value to each of them.
My ultimate measure of whether I’m seeking success or value is my intention towards God’s glory. Am I wanting Him to get the credit or me? Am I worried about looking good or spiritual or ‘all-together’? Or, am I focused on God being the center of attention? Am I more concerned with placing my acts of service at His feet, as an offering to Him, and then leaving the results up to Him?
I’m working at it in practical ways…….
I am developing the practice of not looking at the results and likes on social media. I am developing a reliance on God’s love and presence and my identity in Him. I am working at performing a task and not expecting anyone to notice or get credit for it. I am growing in doing my best even when no one is looking. And then, when God does something really awesome, I fully celebrate and give Him the credit, “Look what God did!!”
Also, I treasure those notes and words of encouragement from precious souls. I really feel like God is hugging me and wrapping His arms around me saying, “Keep at it, Beloved!”
Finally, I’m learning that whatever applause, affection, or praise I do receive, I’m to offer it back up to God with thanksgiving.
Alicia Britt Chole, in her book 40 Days of Decrease, describes how she imagines all the praise and success she receives from others like flowers. At the end of the day, she gathers those flowers given to her and offers them back to God as a bouquet of gratitude.
I love that idea! Giving back to God what is rightfully is His anyway!
So, I’ve got 2 challenges for you.
1-The next time you serve or volunteer ask yourself, “Am I trying to be successful or valuable?” When you do something at work, are you expecting someone to notice or hoping God will get the credit? When you do get showered with praise, make a point to gather up those flowers and give them back to God as your offering of thanksgiving.
2- If someone does something that made a difference in your life, tell them. Write a note, send a text, or post on their Facebook page. You’ll never know what it means to them to hear, “What a difference you made in my life!”
As we learn together to practice the pursuit of value, those rainbows won’t be so alluring. That pot of gold won’t seem so tempting, and we’ll find our satisfaction in the treasure of God alone.
Share with me what you’re doing to be of value over at the WoW page!