I heard something on a podcast a few weeks ago that grabbed my attention…and my heart.
The woman who was being interviewed was an author and public figure, so the way she’s been taught to measure her success is similar to mine. You judge it by things like how many likes your video has on Facebook, how many followers you have on Instagram, how many copies of your book you’ve sold, how many people attend your events, etc.
She described the ups and downs she had personally experienced when she used those metrics to judge her work. One book was awesome by those standards, the next one was a flop. Yet the one that didn’t do as well commercially was the one she clearly felt God calling her to write.
Had she heard Him wrong?
Then she said the phrase that made my ears perk up: Instead of measuring success by numbers and likes and all the worldly measures, she has learned to measure it by the simple question, was I faithful?
Was I faithful?
That’s an entirely different question to ask yourself than did I have the number of people I wanted at the event, did I make a certain amount of money, did I expand my “reach” by some arbitrary number.
This requires a major shift in mindset as we replace all of our worldly questions with the simple question of faithfulness.
When I look at my life and my work from that point of view, my perspective dramatically changes. It helps me let go of the outcomes. I can’t control them anyway, and I know that beating myself up about them is not where my loving Father wants me to be.
Yet we go there, don’t we. I’m sure you do too in your world. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or you’re in charge of lots of people, whether you’re an executive or you’re cleaning toilets, we all have standards we want to reach. We all have goals for our lives and our days.
And as a Life Coach, let me say, that’s a good thing! We end up wasting our energy when we aren’t focused on a goal and lack direction. When we don’t have a target we’re aiming for, we end up wandering through life aimlessly. We get stuck and never have the opportunity to reach our full potential.
Goals are good. I help people set them and navigate their way to them all the time.
But how do we keep things in balance? How do we not get caught up in outcomes but yet be intentional about giving our very best to God? How do we set Godly goals and determine whether we have been successful or not?
Better yet, how do evaluate how something turned out?
Here’s something I realized as I pondered these questions: People in the bible who were faithful didn’t always reach their goals.
I think about Moses never getting to the promised land. Was he a failure? Hardly!
I think about David not getting the temple built, as much as he wanted to. Was he a failure? Absolutely not! His Psalms continue to speak life and breathe hope into our souls thousands of years after his death.
And what about the “weeping prophet,” Jeremiah? God called him to preach a hard message of change and repentance, and no one seemed to listen. Was he wrong to follow God? We can all agree, no.
In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us about Godly goals. He covers everything from doing good, prayer, fasting, and setting our priorities and values. He begins by saying:
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.”
Matthew 6:1 (MSG)
If you read the verses that follow, you’ll see that Jesus speaks about pleasing God rather than people. And He talks in great depth about our motives and where our hearts are at. That’s what matters.
For me, this shift in mindset is incredibly liberating. If I can stand before the mirror, look myself in the eyes, and say with all honesty that I was faithful to what God asked me to do, no matter what the outcome might have been, good or bad, I feel at peace.
So yes, set those goals. Give your very best in service to God. He deserves it!
But even if things don’t turn out as well as you hoped, celebrate the fact that you were faithful!
Hugs and love,