Control or Contentment? Success or Selfishness?

I’m hearing lots about eliminating “toxic” people from my life–those who don’t contribute to my “success”–about walking away. I really like this idea, but does God?* In listening to and reading motivational “success” gurus I know I’ve gotta get up at 5:00 a.m. if I’m going to “be somebody.” But God says I am somebody. People always want to know what I “do” and the temptation is to say, “I’m a writer,” as this, unlike homemaking, is an approved occupation. But God approves of me. Just because.

Still, the messages are so compelling, as are the ideas of writing bestsellers and achieving other lauded goals, having an actually heeded day planner, and checking off my to-do lists each day. And the facts that vision boards don’t work for me, and my plans almost always are superceded by “life” doesn’t faze me. It can’t be that all those people are missing something–after all, they’re “successful”–I MUST TRY HARDER. FASTER, FASTER, WORK, WORK!

As I ponder all these things, and wonder why Christian motivational speakers consider non-Christians “successful” simply because they’re famous, I suddenly remember something I once heard, and now I am listening: If at first you don’t succeed, fry, fry, a hen. Ah, now that sounds like success to me. My daughter recently roasted a fat chicken in the Hobbit way – bacon, butter, herbs, and those things under as well as atop the skin. The chicken was first rinsed and then patted dry, to be cooked on high heat, and all in pursuit of a very crispy and delicious skin. Roasted along this dear bird were root vegetables, and all hearts were made glad.

When Rebekah asked what I wanted done with the chicken I could have told her my plan. Rather, I asked for her suggestions and out came An Unexpected Cookbook–The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. Not my plan, but better than. I’m liking the sound of that: Not my plan, but better than. My daughter is happy, my family enjoys an excellent meal, and I don’t have to cook. Success!

* In Andrew Murray’s classic book, Humility, he writes: “Look upon every fellow man who tries or vexes you as a means of grace to humble you.”

What if my Success is More Successful than Your Success?

I know about Vision Boards and The Five Habits of Successful People; and about Morning Routines!!!  I’ve heard about The Seven Things Successful People have in Common, or is it Eight?

I’m familiar with the idea of turning off the loveliest of classical music, and certainly not listening to The Eagles telling me to Take it Easy, because there are motivational speakers to be heard while I drive.  And when I’m putting on make-up.  Then as I whip up a politically correct dinner, I can listen some more.

I know “successful” people are disciplined and determined and consistent.  At what?  At going after their dreams, being all they can be, living life to the fullest!

I am thankful for such people, and thankful I’m not one of them.  I, too, have my eyes on the prize, my goal clearly mapped out and pursued.  The prize is the high calling of God, and for me that is first and foremost the care and keeping of home and family.  The goal is to be so enamored of God, my ears so keenly tuned to the Holy Spirit, so after Jesus, that like Him, I only do what I hear my Father say to do (not there yet, but on the journey).

That means I get to live a life of adventure and excitement and a somewhat giddy unpredictability.  This life is much tougher than getting up at 4:00 am to write a by-God-I-will number of words daily, do my prescribed workout minutes, eat my egg whites, drink my protein shake, dress for success, and all before 9:00 a.m.

This life is for those crazy enough to forget all that and to try walking on water – no formulas, no gurus to look to.  Only Jesus.

This life is for those willing to labor to enter into His rest, to be led down the path straight to His blessed, favor-filled, victorious Garden of Eden life.  Success!