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How do you define success?

Posted in Affirmation, and Goal-setting

My recent conversation with a friend turned into a summit on success.  We talked about the fear of success, the signs of success, and ultimately, how God defines it.  The desire to succeed is innate.  In its simplest form it means to prosper, thrive, or flourish.  But realizing this goal is far from simple.

keys to successWhat makes you feel successful?  Your answer likely aligns with your level of ambition or your definition of accomplishment.  As my friend and I talked, I shared how my view of success has changed over time. Through the years, I’ve sought:

Success by the numbers.  A high G.P.A., more money in the bank or more square footage in my home are affirming figures.  But figures can fluctuate and my confidence can follow their trend.

Success through relationships.  I am grateful for the blessing of having a loving family and friends.  However, if there is stress on a bond it brings tension to the mind.

Success in a career.  Experiencing a surge in my career is rewarding.  But once the surge is over a sense of “what’s next” is hard to dodge.

This is just a sample of my seeking.  I’ve seen numbers, relationships, and career paths rise and fall.  It is wonderful when they peak and yet, it takes more for me to feel grounded.  The idea of being successful is appealing, but the way I define success is essential.

According to Joshua 1:8, the ultimate success is obedience to God.  When I make any other success my ultimate, I lose sight of obeying Him and I lose out on the blessings He intends for me.

The pressure to succeed is real and it comes from many directions.  Our culture, communities, and inner circle can create and inflate expectations. However, I’ve detected the gateway where pressure comes crashing through.  It swings on one word — pride.

If I leave the gate open, every opinion within and around me sets the pressure gauge.  But as I shut the door on pride, a vacuum seal of God’s love forms around my heart.  In those moments, His opinion is the only one that matters. Proper perspective returns.  Pressure is locked out.

I’m learning lasting success is not measured by human standards.  Success as God defines it rarely looks like the success the world applauds.  In a pressure-free environment, I’m more likely to realize accumulation and accolades dim in comparison to an obedient heart.

There are certainly times when I miss hitting the mark of obedience.  But in those times, God gently tugs at my heart so I won’t miss receiving His mercy and grace.

If creating your next success looks more like a frenzy than finishing well, here’s some good news: we can take a deep breath and relax!  Every expert began as an amateur.  Every great love has to stand the test of time.  And every creative idea needs development to reach its full potential.

A good success is not always easy or instant.  But the principles and promises in Scripture assure us a good success is possible. I’m praying we’ll stay the course – God’s course.  Focusing on that goal brings plenty of hope to the heart and joy to the soul.

 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” – Joshua 1:8 NLT


  1. Nashawn Turner
    Nashawn Turner

    Great article Joy!!!! How God defines success should be our pursuit!

    May 19, 2015
    • Joy

      Thanks Nashawn. There is great peace and power in being satisfied with His definition!

      May 20, 2015
  2. Barbara

    I was just reading this very scripture this morning. And it is always a blessing to line up your thoughts, words, deeds and desires to what the word of God says. You are so right it is hard to not get on the wheel running, running, and running to try to meet the goals you have for yourself and as well as how you want others to see you.. at least I do. But God has a way of making our own crooked paths straight. Thanks for the reminder.

    May 19, 2015
    • Joy

      I know what you mean, Barbara. I’m determined to trade-in my wheel for His will.

      May 20, 2015
  3. Crystal Dawn Murphy
    Crystal Dawn Murphy

    Joy this is a wonderful reminder of how to measure success through God’s eyes and not our own. Thanks for your obedience to His will to write this.

    May 20, 2015
    • Joy

      You’re welcome Crystal. I am glad this post encourages you.

      May 20, 2015

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