Have you ever been on a road trip somewhere you’ve never been before and been driving along only to realize that you missed a turn a while back? Maybe you didn’t see the sign.
It happened to me in Kansas City when we were moving out here to Colorado. Or maybe it was St. Louis. That trip was a blur.
In my case I saw the sign for the exit I needed but I was in the wrong lane to get the moving truck over by the time I saw it. (And why would I have to take an exit to stay on the same highway is beyond me.)
When you realize you are on the wrong road you have to change course and find a way back to where you want to go. In my case there was a loop around the city that we took and didn’t loose much time at all.
However, what if you keep motoring down the wrong highway and don’t realize it?
Then eventually you’ll get somewhere. But it won’t be where you expected to go.
Most people are looking to succeed. I mean no one sets out saying, “I hope I’ll be a huge failure one day!”
Pursuing success is a worthy undertaking. The trick is knowing what success really is.
I got thinking about this reading a year-end article by someone I know. He looked back over the past year and a something jumped out to me.
I met this guy years ago and then we were at similar places in our businesses. Since then he’s accomplished quite a bit. He has built up a huge social media following and travels all over the world speaking for large audiences (he now pulls in a 5 figure speaking fee, from what I understand.) He’s published a bestseller and is working on others. He’s also launched several successful online ventures.
Over the years as I watched his business grow I sometimes felt like I wasn’t measuring up because I wasn’t traveling the world and doing all the things that he’s been doing.
Then I read his year-in-review post.
In it he mentioned that he’s now separated from his wife. 🙁
Now I realize that there is a ton I don’t know about his situation. But I do know this. No amount of “success” is worth it to me if it tears my family apart.
In fact, that’s not success at all. It’s the opposite of success. Un-success.
Another guy I counted as a friend killed himself this year. He had a huge social media following and traveled the world speaking to all kinds of groups too.
There was a ton that went into his family life falling apart.
But no matter how you slice it, a path that ends with you taking your own life is not the road to success.
I’m sure their work choices were not the only factor in the family dynamics of these two guys I know. But I’m confident they didn’t help.
And I’m not saying that their relationship struggles mean that it is better to hang back in mediocrity either.
What I am saying is that there is a better way.
It turns out God does things a whole lot differently than we do. In fact, most times God’s ways are exactly opposite from how we’d do stuff.
We never would have stepped down from heaven and snuck into the world via a barn somewhere. But that’s how God showed up.
No. We would have made some sky splitting grand entrance. Put on a big show. Lot’s of lights. And maybe a fog machine or some pyrotechnics for good measure.
But not God.
The same is true for how we truly see success. Jesus said it this way.
But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.— Matthew 6:33
The Right Road
Jesus told us that when we put our priority on Him and learning his ways then the rest of it will fall into place. That’s the right road.
And I am seeing that in my own life. We came out here to attend a Bible college because we looked through the book of Acts and saw a huge difference between the believers on those pages and our own lives.
We want to make a difference in this world. So we made the choice to prioritize that over my business.
But here’s the thing. My business is already starting to grow in ways that we couldn’t have predicted just a few short months ago.
I wish I could say I planned it this way. But honestly, I’m not that smart.
I thought I was setting aside “success.” But the truth is my business is already more successful than it’s ever been. And now I can clearly see the growth path out in front of me.
And the best part? I won’t have to choose between my family and my work.
Now that’s not what I expected. But it is true success.
You can see it too. Just focus on knowing Jesus first. Then the rest will follow.