Success – Maybe the Goalposts Have Shifted?

I watched this the other night and it reflects some of the challenges I think many of us in the western world face as we seek to make sense of our lives, especially those of us in middle age who are not so enamoured with the traditional framing of success.

Having grown up right on the cusp of being a baby boomer / Gen X I think I have straddled both worlds in my approach to life. In the early days I was highly driven, inspired by those who had ‘made it’ and I was willing to ‘pay the price’… How’s that for success rhetoric?… And I nearly did pay the price as our marriage came close to the edge and my obsession with achievement almost brought us undone. I don’t like the thought of not achieving or succeeding, so failure isn’t exactly attractive, but what if there were a different way to view a ‘successful’ life?

There are some gems in there for those willing to listen. What struck me was that we can’t be ‘successful’ at everything. To do well in one area of life means a compromise in another. These days I feel like I am attempting to be ‘successful’ at life rather than at work or career – to live a life that brings joy, peace and hope rather than just climbing the ladder and reaching the top quicker.

There has been a recalibration of what I see matters and a redefining of who I want to be. If you told me I’d be running a sprinkler business 10 years ago I would have laughed at you as I didn’t like getting my hands dirty and home handyman stuff just wasn’t me. But here I am… Straddling the world of Christian leader and local retic bloke, but more than that finding a way to live healthily in those spaces.

Perhaps the question is ‘what does success look like for YOU?’ Not what does society define success as, but rather who has God made you to be and how are you going with living out that sense of vocation?

The Hebrew idea of shalom embodies much of what I see ‘success’ as looking like and my hope is that our lives will reflect some of that goodness, peace and joy that comes with the kind of life God intends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *