Are You on the Path to Success?
Just like you, I want success!
The tricky part is determining what success actually is. There are definitions galore! Here are just a few:
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” -Booker T. Washington
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” -Maya Angelou
“Failure is success if we learn from it.” Malcom Forbes
There is something to like about each of these definitions, however, if I’m honest, my beliefs lie more in line with Merriam-Webster’s definitions:
- Degree of measure of succeeding
- Favorable or desired outcome; the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
- One that succeeds
And when assessing myself in light of Merriam-Webster’s definitions and comparing myself to others, true success often feels out of reach.
Success is Intangible
I want success to be something tangible; that’s why the “measure” of succeeding strikes a chord with me.
The truth is that success is intangible. It’s more a way of being than I’d like to admit.
Another Perspective on Success
Some time ago I was listening to a sermon on the radio while driving. I honestly can’t remember what the sermon was about. I just remember what God was saying to me when Enoch’s life was mentioned. There is very little said about Enoch in Scripture. No major achievements, no amazing successes, and no noteworthy moments. We don’t even know what he did for a living or how much money he made. What we do know is that he had a number of children, he “walked with God for 365 years,” and then God took him away – not did away with him, but he was so pleased he brought Enoch home!
The idea of walking with God is used metaphorically in Scripture to suggest a way of doing life or way of conducting yourself. A paraphrase might be “Enoch stayed in step with God” or “Enoch did life God’s way.”
Enoch is mentioned again in Hebrews 11 as a man of faith who pleased God. That’s powerful!
From God’s perspective, success means trusting Him enough to stay in step with Him. That’s quite different from the world’s idea of success: prosperity, wealth, fame, gain, happiness, victory, and honor, among other things.
I want an Enoch kind of success in my life. Sadly, as much as I want it, I often drift.
With Enoch’s life in mind, success can be thought of as…
Enoch trusted God, and God was pleased!
For me to trust anyone, I have to be sure that they have my best interests in mind; that they are “for me” and love me. The same is true when it comes to trusting God.
When I take control of my life, even when I might not be conscious of it, I’m doubting God. Unfortunately, I am prone to taking matters into my own hands in my work, relationships, more. That lack of trust leads to problems – rarely to success.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:3-5 (ESV)
Surrendering seems counterintuitive, but I experience the best results when I let go and follow Him!
Staying in step with God means I must surrender my pace and direction to His. Most of the time God’s pace is s-l-o-w, much slower than mine, with brief moments of hustle that generally take me by surprise. I must remember that He’s still leading me even when life doesn’t go as planned. His perspective is bigger and more long term than mine.
300 years is a very long time to do anything! Enoch lived 365 years and steadily walked with God. (Genesis 5:24) To walk with God, Enoch had to match God’s pace and head His direction. That means walking in steady surrender. STEADY SURRENDER!
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.” Mark 8:34b (MSG)
3. Intentional Watching & Listening
In order for Enoch to live God’s way, he had to keep his eyes on God and listen to His voice for direction. Maybe that happened in actual walks and talks, I really don’t know for sure.
For me, watching and listening to God means, spending time in His presence and hearing His heart for me. It means connecting with Him throughout the day with eyes and ears open to what He might be whispering to me.
The more I am attentive to Him, the less prone I am to comparing and allowing that to discourage me.
And I drift. Even after spending time with Him first thing in the morning, by breakfast I can become deaf to His whispers. It takes intentional reminders to stay in tune with what He’s up to during my day!
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:6 (MSG)
True success is rarely found inside your comfort zone! It requires you to stretch, grow, and take risks! I’m guessing that Enoch’s life wasn’t easy-peasy either and there were ways he had to stretch, grow, and take risks too!
I’ve experienced firsthand that moving forward on the path of success rouses my Fear Monster.
Light, space, zest – that’s God! So, with him on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing. Psalm 27:1 (MSG)
God’s creativity constantly amazes me. He made me a unique one-of-a-kind woman and His purpose for me is equally unique so it’s silly to think my journey will look like yours. The more confident I am in who God made me to be, the less I will need to be like you.
The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8a (ESV)
6. When He is Glorified – That’s Success!
Sometimes I forget that as a child of God, my highest purpose is to bring Him glory – not me. It isn’t that He doesn’t care about the desires of my heart; it’s that He plans to fulfill those desires in a way that makes it abundantly clear that He made it happen. And He knows me better than I know myself. He knit me in my mother’s womb. When I follow Him, I discover passions that I would not have discovered on my own.
You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Psalm 139:15 (MSG)
… do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory. I Corinthians 10:31b (MSG)
Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire. Psalm 37:4 (GNT)
I imagine Enoch encountered hard times, frustrating moments, and obstacles just like I do. He was human and yet he pleased God by successfully walking with Him. And unlike anyone else in Scripture, Enoch escaped death!
Settling into God’s view of success – a life that follows after Him in obedience is the best place to be; a safe place to be. The pressure to perform is eliminated and I feel accepted and loved. The little things that God does each day to care for me become more apparent. My gratitude soars. I’m more content and confident when I am following His lead.
Are you on the path to success?
Originally posted on 2/25/15, this post has been updated and revised just for you!