Looking back on a long and somewhat unusual and adventurous life, one of the most important things for me is not how much money I have in the bank, how many of my goals I accomplished etc. No, when you become old it’s important that you have a peace with yourself, to look back and know you did the best you could. You may not always have gotten it right, but you tried. That you might have blown it a lot of times but you didn’t chicken out or pull your punches, that you lived in integrity as much as you were able.
These things bring peace in old age. I know some who do not have this peace, though they have been forgiven they find it hard to forgive themselves. We tend to lose our critics along the path of life, but our own heart ever holds the mirror.
What do you picture when you think of a successful person? Media prompting – we’ll most likely picture a well healed business man/woman dressed in the best money can buy, or maybe a celebrity living the high life in a palatial mansion. I’d challenge that concept though.
Firstly the notion of success first requires a choice of what goal you desire to be successful in. Talking to young people, I’ve noticed an alarming trend to simply accept the goals promoted so often in the media (as stated above) without conscious thought or choice, often not even perceiving there are other goals. This is a mistake, not only because not all are fitted for these particular callings (thank God!) and may feel discouraged and lacking when they can’t attain them, but also the ones who do succeed have a tendency to be the saddest, most miserable of mortals.
There’s a great saying – “Before you climb the ladder of success make sure it’s leaning against the right wall!”
I like my son’s goal – to marry and make a happy family (sadly he’s yet to achieve that one having discovered you need a woman with the same goal – his ex being a bit of a gold digger!) Then there are my daughters’ goals. Some went for financial goals and succeeded, (it came at a price though – it always does). One choose ethical teaching ( succeeding and becoming a successful business woman as a result, without compromising her integrity). Another wanted to help her autistic son realize all he could of his potential (I honor her choice highest of all.) She’s succeeding miraculously but there was a lot of sacrifice involved. My youngest wants to leave something of value behind in the way of literature (she’s still setting out.) Even in my own family goal can vary greatly.
I have a second reason also to challenge the accepted notion of success. As a Christian (and human being) I believe in the end we are rated on our degree of love, humanity and integrity. Whether you believe appraisal will come in a look of pity and disappointment by an all loving God or the legacy you leave behind in the way of fond (or not so fond) memories.
I somehow don’t think most financial high fliers and celebrities are going to score high on those ratings. I rather see the struggling, single mum, the street sweepers who greet everyone with a sunny smile on the rainiest of days, the relief worker who cries himself to sleep under the weight of care for others, these are the one’s I see who are the real successes of life, who bring a radiant smile to the eyes of God, who are treasured in the lives of others.
So don’t feel bad if you don’t see yourself as “successful” maybe you score higher than you know!
Surrendering to his base instincts he pulled the trigger,
Blood splattered pristine walls, lives ended.
Lives of endless suffering, of loss, of fear began in that moment.
Surrendering to her lover she gave herself to him in perfect love and trust.
From their union life sprang forth, a seed planted that day that would enrich lives forever.
Becoming one in love they each became complete, two became one and bore fruit.
Choose your “gods” wisely.
Surrender to the God of love, peace, joy, long suffering brings life.
Surrender to the god of pride brings hurt, suffering and ultimately death.
Let us not confuse the two, Satan is the god of pride, however well disguised, when we look upon others with disdain we surrender part to him, but “God is love” when we look on others with love, compassion, empathy we see through His eyes.
The greatest freedom is in total surrender to God – the right one!
It is not the level of prosperity that makes for happiness but the kinship of heart to heart and the way we look at the world. Both attitudes are within our power. … A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy, and no one can stop him.
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008),