Success May Not Always be What You Expect

Success is a relevant but slippery topic for Christian young adults. Many have graduated high school or college and joined the workforce, some with excitement. They find, however, that the world they entered is different than what than what they expected. Things they considered concrete may seem anything but, including how to measure accomplishments and achievements. Added to this is the idea that there is a massive amount of advice available about success and what it is.

This advice very often is given by people who have already reached the pinnacle of prosperity and spoken like the journey is merely following three simple steps. There is, however, no need to panic. Instead of finding simple steps, there are three truths a Christian young adult can use to find success. By keeping these in mind, the journey may be less daunting, but also it can be educational and be very enjoyable.

The first truth is to throw out the cultural idea of a standard definition of success. This may be a challenge because of the notion that concept is planted in our psyche from an early age. We are told about millionaires and presidents but not crossing guards and home care nurses. Society lauds students who get full scholarships to 20 colleges but not the student who is the first person to be accepted into college. There is no one size fits all because there is no one size fits all people. This is especially true with Christians.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Ephesians 2:10 reflects this theme. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” If our lives are His plan, then He determines success. He sets the standard. He has already decided our good works, and all we have to do is find out His plan and follow along. This may be a hard habit to break, but as you continue to submit to the idea that the determination of what is “good works” is not yours, then it will be easier.

Success by definition is accomplishing one’s goals. The goal doesn’t matter. The achievement of the goal does. If God directs our lives and we achieve the good works He has prepared for us, that is the highest level attainment. This doesn’t always bring money or fame. If these things are the only way a person evaluates their accomplishments, it will lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction.

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SOURCE: Urban Faith, Terri J. Haynes