Merriam-Webster defines “Success” as: “1. obsolete: OUTCOME, RESULT 2 a: degree or measure of succeeding b: favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence 3 : one that succeeds.”
If things turn out well…if one attains a desired object or end then by definition one has succeeded. But what is YOUR desired outcome? What is YOUR objective? Have you considered it…? Or do you wake up, make a pot of coffee, take a shower, get the kids ready for school, go to work, stay until you can leave, come home, think about supper, eat, watch some tv, get the kids ready for bed, get yourself ready for bed, and start all over again the next day? Of course for simplicity sake I did not put in the kids events, trip to the grocery or dry cleaner, trip to the sport’s store at the last-minute for a pair of wrestling shoes that had to be purchased for tomorrow, pay bills and search for stamps, wash dishes, do laundry, pack lunches, look for keys, and on and on and on and on. It is a litany of the mundane. The story of most of our day-to-day lives.
Is this being a success? I don’t know. Are we providing all of the creature comforts and emotional support for our family? Are we telling them about and showing them God’s Love through our interaction with them? Are we donating time or money or goods to charities or people in need? Are we available to be a sympathetic ear or a strong shoulder to our friends if they should need us? Do we take a few minutes out of the busy-ness to just NOTICE and to say “Thank you”? Do we hug and kiss and tell people who matter to us that they matter to us?
There may be more on your list of what makes life successful…but can I make a suggestion? Think about this…instead of getting up and doing what you always do, take a few minutes. It could be right now…it could be when you are driving in the car alone. Turn off the radio and let it be quiet ..it could be while you are taking the dog on a walk…or taking a shower…or about to lay down and read for a minute before you go to sleep. Put the book down and let it be quiet … Don’t turn on the TV when you sit down on the sofa. Just think about this for a minute ….Is your life what you want it to be? What are you doing? What do you want to be doing? If you could create the perfect home, the perfect job, the perfect day, the perfect life, what would it look like? Specifically what would it look like if you could literally manifest your dreams into reality.
Think about that. Think about it and see it and see how you fit into it and think about HOW you might make it true.
If you say, “Christy…that is stupid. My wife is a bitty (or my husband is an Ogre)…yes, of course I love him/her anyways – truth be told I am not that easy to live with either… I am tired, and stressed out and impatient. I hate to be nagged at and I don’t get the appreciation I think I should… It s me as much as it is him/her but I can never see that being perfect. And my kids are rotten little smart-mouthed monsters that scream and fight with each other… there is no peace and quiet…and they are total pigs too… and completely ungrateful. And my job is just a job. It pays the bills and that is about all. It is a necessary evil…but I can’t change that – I have too many people depending on me. It is way too risky to change jobs at this point in my life…”
And on and on and on…we can make excuses that ARE TRUE and RATIONAL, all day long. If you aren’t even willing to do my little “exercise” of imagining how your perfect life looks, then just stop reading now. I am almost certain that what you have right now, good or bad, is enough for you. For some reason you have bought into the lie that this is just the way life is, and you don’t deserve better. I think that is from the devil, by the way. The devil wants us to spin our wheels, exhausting ourselves and going nowhere instead of focusing upward and outward at the things and people who matter.
Our life and reality will not change if we do not know what we want, specifically, and can see it in our mind. We cannot obtain a goal if we have no goals to work toward. To create the world that we want, we must stop…and think…and see… and plan. Be CLEAR. Do not be vague with sweeping generalities. If we want our spouse to speak lovingly to us…if we want our children to be respectful and kind…if we want our yard to be a place of serenity and beauty…if we want to know more, go places, enjoy a good meal HOW DOES THAT LOOK? What do we have to do to make those things happen? Can we change how we do things to ENCOURAGE the outcome we want? Start out small and slow if necessary. PROVE to yourself that when we focus on what we want, we are much more likely to get it!
One day we may be confident enough that we ask God to provide us with all of the things that He wants for us. I don’t know what that looks like for you, but for me it looks like this: Healthy children who are doing well in school… involved with friends and activities… who spend time with each other and who are affectionate, kind and thoughtful. A man who is my heart…who loves me and cherishes me and who adores my children…who is the best friend I ever had…who is tough but gentle…protective but patient. He is my mate in my body, mind and soul. A house that is a home…filled with love and light and laughter. The sound of chirping birds. Cats curled up in my lap. A dog on the rug at my feet. Quiet, calm contentment.
Trips that I take or the other special not day-to-day desires are “icing” on the cake.
And of course there is church, my religion, my faith – the knowledge of God’s presence surrounding me always. I raise my hands and my face to Him and I weep from sheer joy and thankfulness. He feeds my soul.
I did not get to this place in my life…a place that still has many difficulties and imperfections…because I woke up, took a shower, made a pot of coffee, got the kids ready for school, went to work…etc. I got to this place in my life…a place that is the HAPPIEST, most HOPEFUL and CONTENT place I have EVER been because I stopped one day, and thought about how my life looked versus how I KNEW my life should look.
I didn’t get to the place I was forced to STOP and PAY ATTENTION over night…and things did not change for me over night either. I have been very fortunate in that I have always known who I am and more importantly WHOSE I AM. I have always known what is important to me and what I want. I had to discover the hard way that I had gotten myself to a place through naive and poor choices where no matter what I did, nothing changed. I was hitting my head against a brick wall all day every day. But funny thing about brick walls, they don’t change or move. I had to STOP be still and re-evaluate…I had to pay attention. It became clear that my options were: 1. Continue what I was doing that was causing me great pain,was zapping my energy and focus away from my children 2. Stop and stay right where I was – not moving. Stuck and frozen in one place… I stayed in this place for a while. 3. SEE. Be honest about my reality versus my vision. My vision was for love, and peace and happiness.
Can we ensure success – that what we visualize will materialize?? And if we can’t ENSURE it then how do we at least begin to encourage it? It is chance luck? Do we make a detailed plan? Does success land in our lap or do we have to go out and search for it? How awful if we don’t know what we want… and it lands in our lap…and we don’t recognize it for the gift that it is! How many opportunities may have passed us by because we did not know that we were supposed to grab a hold of them? We were too single-minded and hyper-focused on the tree in front of us to see the forest.
I have said before that I want to be successful, but not necessary in the same way that you do. It all comes down to what motivates us…money? possessions? popularity? power? influence? None of those things motivate me.
First we have to determine our objective. Why do we do what we do and what are we trying to gain? This is an INTENTIONAL question – what is your intent? Your purpose? Are you thinking, concentrating, using your mind to plan? with a goal?
I was recently accused by a person of “wordsmithing”… and actually I appreciate that. I try to choose my words carefully so that people do not misunderstand me.Truth be told, I LOVE words. I love their sound…their complex meanings…trying to determine the exact right one to create the image of what I am trying to convey. Because it does not escape me that, in my opinion INTENTIONality is necessary for true success, I want to give you all of the various meanings and definitions of “intention” (exactly as it appears in the dictionary) 1. a determination to act in a certain way : RESOLVE 2 :purpose with respect to marriage 3 a : what one intends to do or bring about b: the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered 4: IMPORT, SIGNIFICANCE 5: CONCEPT; esp: a concept considered as the product of attention directed to an object of knowledge 6 : a process or manner of healing of incised wounds syn INTENTION, INTENT,PURPOSE,DESIGN,AIM,END,OBJECT,OBJECTIVE,GOAL : what one purposes to accomplish or attain.
I really had no idea that “intention” had so many meanings…and I find it fascinating! It seems to cover just about everything that would determine “success”. BEHAVIOR…MARRIAGE…RELIGION…KNOWLEDGE…HEALTH…and of course PURPOSE, OBJECTIVE, GOAL.
“What one PURPOSES to accomplish or attain”… Purposes is not the same thing as doing…but it is a start.
All I am trying to say is this, whatever we do we should try to do with INTENTION. What ever we say we should try to do with INTENTION. We are using the energy anyway to do necessary things all day anyway…why don’t we do them with a goal in mind? With a purpose? With an outcome so clear in our mind that it would be almost impossible for it not be become our reality.
Do you doubt me? “Have faith in God, “Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. and when yo stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:22 -26
It isn’t about the HUGE and SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE… All you have to do is KNOW what you want. CLEARLY PICTURE it in your mind. ASK in PRAYER. EXPECT it. DO what the Spirit leads you to do and your success may come in ways you could have never imagined. Walk by faith. Live intentionally.