What does being successful mean to you? Reaching a certain income level? Having a happy family? Being recognized for your work and abilities? What would it take to make you feel like a truly successful writer?
For instance, I’ve met many authors who say that if they could just get their name in print, they’d feel successful. Many of them do get their books published and when I talk to them, they often admit that they still don’t feel like a “successful author.”
I think that’s because our definition of success changes as we reach each new level in our lives. What we thought would make us feel like a success five or ten years ago may not make us feel successful today.
That’s why I’d like to take a little time to discuss with you what true success is and what it means. I’d like to offer three different ways to look at success:
1) To be successful means that you have done your best. If you have done all you can, expressed the truth as clearly as you are able and honored God by giving whatever you are working on your all, then you can truly say that you are a success. We aren’t asked to measure by the world’s standards, but by God’s standards…and doing your best to use the talent God has given you is truly the mark of success.
2) To be successful means that you have exercised your creative talent. We are made in the image and likeness of a creative God. When we are creating, be it a painting, a garden or educating children, we are being like our God…which is what we are called to do in all things.
3) To be successful means that done your part to bring about knowledge, insight, and love to further the Kingdom in earth. No one can say things exactly the way you can. No one can touch the people you can. No one can sing your song…or write your words. When you have done that which only you can do, you are a success.
When we measure our success only in economic terms, we fall short of what our God has in mind for us. I would remind you that St. Francis de Sales’ famous book, “Invitation to the Devout Life” was written for a small, private audience and yet it continues to inspire thousands every year. The letters of the Little Flower were written only because her superior told her to and with no expectation that anyone outside the convent would ever read them. Yet those same letters were instrumental in having St. Thérèse of Lisieux named a Doctor of the Church and in creating a new way of looking at God’s love and mercy.
When we measure our success only by worldly standards, we may or may not measure up. But when we measure our success by God’s standards, we are assured of eternal success.