My sweet friend wrote to me and confessed she feels she is failing at every aspect of her life. How often we all feel that way! There are days when our life feels wasted and fruitless, we fail to live up to our own expectations. In truth, nothing I do in and of my self will be fruitful. It is only Christ, through us, who can bring life, fruitfulness, and meaning to what we do. Our body is dead and the works of the body are dead, lifeless. (Romans 8:10)
The first place to start is by examining our definition of success or failure. What are we measuring ourselves against? What goals or expectations have we put on ourselves?
When people evaluate their life and decide they aren’t measuring up, what standard are they using?
- How much money they have?
- The cars they drive?
- How much patience they have with others?
- The state of their relationships?
If you are struggling with feeling like a failure, I would encourage you to complete this sentence:
I would consider my life to be successful if: _______________________________________________________________________________
Take some time to ponder your answer. Examine your deepest sub-conscious expectations about your life. Let this sit for a day or two. When feelings of failure come up ask yourself why. What expectations about your abilities, attitudes, or behaviors are you not meeting? When you take the time to catch yourself in the moment of frustration and really assess why you are feeling the way you do, you might be surprised at the answers.
Now, compare your answer to God’s expectation.
God is not interested in what we are trying to do. He is interested in who we are. His idea of a successful, fruitful life is one spent in the pursuit of Him. Our goal should be to work on 3 areas: our relationship with the Lord, our obedience to His will, and serving others.
I like Charles Stanley’s definition of a successful Christian life:
“The continuing achievement of becoming the person God wants you to be and accomplishing the goals God has helped you set.”
If we put our energies into growing in faith, virtue, temperance, godliness, patience, knowledge of God, brotherly kindness and love, He’ll take care of guiding us to do the work He wants to do through us.
We might not ever see the fruit of our efforts. We may feel like we are failing in every area of life, but it’s not for us to judge. If our hearts are fully dedicated to knowing Him more, making our lives a living sacrifice, and loving others, then we can rest assured, in God’s eyes, we are a success.