The price of success.
That title would allude to the fact that I actually attained some outward success and therefore know what I’m talking about… but the truth is, compared to others, my “success” was piddly.
Which is a real shame considering it was literally the best I have ever done at anything. Well, except for high school field hockey, actually; I was a pret.ty.bomb. defenseman for my Mustangs.
But I digress.
I was good at what I was doing, but it never felt like good enough.
Because there was always more.
And there still is.
This world is set up in such a way that we applaud numbers more than we applaud people. We care more about what your bank account represents than what your character exudes. We will slap you on the back if only you’re famous enough, knowing that you wouldn’t take the millisecond it would cost you to turn around and wave our way.
As long as you’re at the top, you can see all the people below you just vying for a little eye contact that they can tell their friends about.
Yea, people love you when you’re way up there.
Except for when you don’t do what they expect you to do.
They’ll love you if… you are who they think you are.
They’ll love you when… you prove you’ve earned it.
They’ll love you until… you disappoint.
So there I am, acquiring more than I ever thought I would have: money, prestige, recognition, etc. Only, I realize, while I’m up there trying to carry everything on my shoulders, that I just wasn’t built for this kind of load.
I mean, I was encouraged to work towards freedom. But what that really meant was I should be working towards excess.
Now the prize meat that was dangled in front of my nose during the entire race was no longer mine to enjoy.
Work for yourself… but only if it still benefits others.
Work for yourself… but only if you’re actually working for the company.
Work for yourself… but only if you never stop.
The price of success was a heck of a lot more than I was willing to pay
And the crazy part was, I didn’t even feel successful in my success. I felt burnt out. I felt used. I felt like I was missing the whole point. I felt like if I stumbled, I’d never regain my footing. I felt like I was doomed to spend an eternity trying to prove myself to people who didn’t really care about how I felt.
Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
That was me.
Right there, smack dab in the middle of trying to win the approval of human beings and talking about how much I didn’t need the validation.
Look, everyone’s gotta make that money money. I get it. You have to have cash flow in order to survive. Unless you live somewhere in the Brazilian jungle. Then, you just need to have an antidote to venom or something. But here in the U.S.? Yea. Money. Need it.
But… you guys… come on…
You don’t need all of it.
And really, shouldn’t we be more commended for not being greedy a-holes who are always pushing for bigger, better, faster, stronger, more, more, more, more, more, more than commended for being amazing self-seeking individuals who succeeded in acquiring too much to ever be used in one lifetime?
We talk about leaving a legacy, and meanwhile our marriages and families are broken down and in shambles.
We talk about leading a life of freedom, and meanwhile we’re glued to our phones worrying about the next deal that’s going to go through.
We talk about showing our kids we can do anything and meanwhile they’re entertaining themselves while we’re off doing everything but spending time with them.
We talk about making more to give more and meanwhile, we could give all the more that we make and just continue living at the same financial level we’ve always lived at.
We talk about enjoying our success but meanwhile we’re striving for the next success.
Hey, I’m a girl with goals. Just because I don’t believe in going after all that this world tries to entice me with doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that I am going after. I simply believe we’ve all gotten jaded somewhere along the lines. We took self love to the extreme (I’m looking at you, Kanye).
2 Timothy 3:2 “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy…”
Somewhere along the road to freedom, we became imprisoned by the excess mentality.
Success isn’t freedom, friend.
Freedom is the price of success.
You’re either striving to get to the top or scrambling to keep from falling.
Romans 8:5 “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
What if… and it’s a crazy thought, I know… what if we just didn’t work for things (I say as I sit with my back to a shoe closet lined with at least 80 pairs of shoes)? What if we just worked to glorify God in all that we did?
I believe, if everyone cared as much about other people as they claim to on their social media pages, this world would be a lot less “rat race” and a lot more “Jesus”.
The bottom line is this: you’ve just gotta decide if the price of success is something you’re willing to pay.
I don’t know about you, but when I get to the pearly gates, and God asks me why I did all that I did, I don’t want to have to tell him I did it for a paycheck or a title… because I’m 100% sure he will be unimpressed.
Have you ever had to make a choice between outward success and inner peace? What did you choose?