If success is perfection, no one ever achieves it. We know that truth somehow, way deep inside ourselves; and sometimes the reality of it keeps us up at night or causes us to stare blankly out the kitchen window in despair. Why do we behave, then, as if perfection is a real possibility?
Why do we define our worth, our impact, our success, on the impossible prospect that we can have it all and we can do it all?
I don’t know, but I know we do. We think we will be a success if we check off all the good things:
- Perfect, loving, harmonious, romantic marriage to a heart-throb who quotes the Bible and makes good money
- Perfect, respectful, obedient, smart, talented, healthy children who quote the Bible and make good grades
- The right church
- The right job
- The right zip code
- Good clothes
- Good food
- Good friends
We think we can have all that and more if we try harder, live better, and manage our time and our finances.
But it doesn’t work. We fail every single day, and then we finally give up on ever being a success. Because in the real world, we look around ourselves and see the laundry hidden under the bed and the baby screaming instead of sleeping and the husband we just had words with and the bills and the leaky roof and the dirty minivan and the garden of weeds and the ill-fitting clothes and say, Enough! I’ll just stuff it all in the back of the closet and live in the closet with it and hope no one knows the truth about me because I’m a big FAILURE.
That’s the lie Satan wants us to believe. When we listen to the lie about what success is then we also believe the lie that we will never be successful.
It’s a lie. The truth is much more powerful and much more intimidating: success grows within our failure, because of our failure, through our failure.
How do we find success, then?
Someone once said, “Success is finding God’s will and doing it.” God defined success to the young leader Joshua as knowing God’s Word and obeying it (see Joshua chapter 1). And though that can encompass so many, many parts of Joshua’s life — and mine — I can’t help but notice what God didn’t say was true success:
- His marriage
- His children
- His job
- His wealth
- His health
- His decorating
- His clothing choices
- His diet
You can likely list more things. It feels good, doesn’t it? So many things, things we have little control over, do not define our success. This list includes many aspects of our lives, even obstacles to overcome, but they don’t determine our impact.
Joshua had a clear blueprint from God — follow His plan and be successful. He did, and he was. It seems pretty simplistic for us moms now, but it was not easy for Joshua at the time. Remember, he was saddled with relocating and leading into battle over a million people who had just led Moses to the grave and had tried the patience of the Almighty until even He wanted to wipe them off the face of history.
I wonder if that’s why God took the time to talk to Joshua about what success really means. It didn’t mean sinless perfection, it meant following God. It meant living and saying His truths no matter the consequences, no matter the obstacles. It meant glorifying Him by courageously living out all God commanded him. It was trusting God to take one life and to make it extraordinary.
We can do that. We can be successful. We can be influential. We can change our world if we do just that — live and say His truths no matter the consequences, no matter the obstacles. We can see God use our ordinary lives in extraordinary ways if we have the courage and the faith to simply obey wherever we are.
What do other readers think of this book? I wanted to know, so I gave it to dozens and dozens of real women — moms, wives, single gals, ministry leaders, teachers, and friends just like you. And over 40 of them personally endorsed the book for it’s encouragement, advice, and “real” factor. Here’s what Jackie says:
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from – if you are a woman that loves Jesus, you need to read this book. It contains the truth and freedom and encouragement that we all need, so that God can truly work through us.
Homeschooling mom of 4 and writer at oneredeemedmom.com