Take The First Step
Good Evening readers!, For tonight's blog entry, I wanted to touch briefly on something I am currently learning and wanted to share.
Last week I began listening to two books inside of the Audible app on my cell phone. The title's are "Win From Within" written by Pastor John Gray and "The Passion Generation" written by Grant Skeldon.
***There will be spoiler alerts in this blog entry***
I'd have to say that it's really opened my eyes to what is truly important when it comes to being successful in life. While I still have a couple of chapters left to read on both books, I highly encourage anyone who may not have gotten these books yet, to GET THEM AND READ THEM!...I thought I'd bring to light just a few things I've learned about capturing true success.
SUCCESS- the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one's goals.
the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
What is Success?
Many times when we think about being successful, we believe that materialistic things or that the promotion or outward validation we've always wanted is what we are to strive for at best when accomplishing life's goals. For many, It's the "American Dream" we all strive for right? To live a fulfilling life of ultimate comfort or wealth or whatever we deem is societies exceptional life standard. Whatever that invisible bar is that we hold above our heads according to societal views about the "perfect lifestyle" , if we are not vigilant, it can drive us to be overly conscientious about that goal. It can set an unhealthy president within us.
What I've gathered from both books so far is that:
1) Success has more to do with the inward validation of a person rather than an outward praise from obtaining things or people around us.
2) Success has a different meaning/definition according to the generation.
Both books written by the authors listed above give the same message but different perspectives on what true success is and what it means to a person.
Pastor John Gray uses the story of Jacob in the Bible to target the inner workings of what we as humans physically do to become entangled in the very thought of successes or prosperity in life. He goes over the decisions Jacob made in his early years when he tricked his Father into giving him his blessing instead of his older brother Esau. Without giving the entire concept of the book away, (because I really think you all should read it) we can see that in the Bible years later, Jacob becomes acquainted with a man named Laban who ultimately tricked him into doing more work for him. Pastor Gray dives into the correlation between the decisions in how one's desperation for success or prosperity in life can actually follow you until you are forced to deal with the inner problem! It's really Powerful!
While Grant Skeldon's book "The Passion Generation" targets the importance of disciple-ship among the older and younger generations, he uses statistics and personal experience to identify the meaning of success according to the generations. He specifically magnifies the Millennial Generation and what they deem is living a successful and prosperous life compared to what that has meant for generations in years past; all while gelling everything together with the ultimate message of "we are stronger together". Again, it's really powerful!
So What Are You Saying?
Yes, success can be labeled and framed specifically to one person's heart and desires. I believe it is necessary to have something tangible to aspire and to reach for in this life; however I hope more aspirations are shifted towards the inner working within ourselves rather than the tangibles. The thing is, more people are focused on the NEXT project first and not looking at the NOW project currently in front of them. It's levels to success. How can we live in the prosperity life that God grants us prematurely? More people are reaching for the job promotion without fixing the gambling problem they have before they get there. More people are reaching for the big audience without addressing the anger issue they have before they get there. More people are reaching for the marriage without addressing the impatience they have before they get there. You understand?
It's the inner work I hope to encourage us all to begin doing so that when we get that job, that new opportunity, that platform or whatever door God opens for us, we don't mishandle it. I hope that when we get there, we all aren't praying to God for more forgiveness because we mishandled a thing versus sending up prayers of thanksgiving and new direction/guidance. This thing is speaking to me too so please do not believe that I have it all together. I don't. I am simply trying my best to recognize the areas within myself that need to be mastered before I get to the place of asking God for life's successes.
What's the First Step?
The first step is to see it. Identify your shortcomings, your flaws, your bad habits.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?" -Mark 8:36”
When you look at yourself, truly look at yourself inwardly... what do you see? Are you the person who walks around believing "welp I am who I am. God made me this way so deal with it." If that's you, I pray you see that you are more than your attitude, more than your addiction, more than your childhood experiences... whatever it is you feel cannot be transformed or elevated in a positive light, I'm telling you you're wrong. You can change.
Once you are able to see the things that can later affect the goal you hope to reach, the easier it will be to enjoy it. We will forever change and evolve, but the first goal to success should be mastering ourselves. We can only do that with God's help might I add.
Once we get on the road to mastering ourselves, we will be better prepared to take on what comes along with the doors God opens for us because we won't still be battling old challenges in new territory. We'll be approaching new challenges in new territory with greater faith and confidence that we'll overcome them too! My Pastor, Kevin Brown is currently teaching out of a series called "Mindset", It's really helping us to see how amazing God can renew us even though we are physically in the same place. A complete transformation can be done mentally while we are sitting in the same place we may have been dealing with for years. It's that transformation, that restoration, that redemption and revelation of the mind that sets us free!
It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that you have to beat level one in order to get to level two. In baseball, you have to touch every base in order to get to the home plate. Sometimes you're waiting at first base for a little while before you can get to second...it's just the rules. We can't cheat the game. The only difference here in this game of life is that we often think we can cheat our way to the top by faking our way through the steps...but Christ is the only one with the rule book.
Wrap it up
I encourage every reader to prioritize the work needed to making YOU as an individual better. Ask God to show you yourself and the areas that you need His help in fixing. I remember I prayed this prayer and became acquainted with a woman I could not stand. She exhibited behavior and had mannerisms that I in fact had but wasn't aware of. I would pray that God did not let me run into her at the job because I just didn't wanna hear the narcissism in her conversation for another day. He told me "this is what your conversation sounds like." I'll be honest and say that I got offended..until He magnified my conversation with others in my own ears. He introduced me to myself through this woman. Let me tell you, the prayer of self evaluation isn't one for the faint of heart. Unless you're ready to see who you are and how you act, you may wanna hold off on the prayer until you get some tougher skin. All in all, it is good for you. I'm not saying that material things in life as aspirations shouldn't be in our minds. I agree that it should....but I am saying that shouldn't be the first thing we ask God for.