Success.

Growing up, I was engaged in a culture that taught to be successful, you have to do everything within yourself to have a huge career, so that you can make big money, so that you can put it away for retirement, so that you can have all the best things, etc., etc., etc.  Now, that may sound really superficial, but if you really stop to think about it, that’s what society teaches everyday. 

It’s kind of like this inbred philosophy you learn as you grow when you see things happen around you.  You see families where the Dad is never home to play with his children, because he is always at work.  You see the Mom who is constantly pulled between working to meet the budget, or making the children’s school awards assembly. You see more emphasis put on our IRA’s and 401K’s than our SRP’s (Spiritual Retirement Plans).  Simply put…you see a world that puts more emphasis on money than any other “valuable” thing.

I began working while I was in high school.  From there, I fought hard and worked fast in order to prove myself, and eventually moved up and up the corporate ladder where I had what most would call a very good career.  With continuing opportunity for advancement, I was making good money, eligible for good bonuses, had an officer title in the company, received countless pats on the back, and was really feeling successful at the age of 23.  However, God began working on me and telling me that my view of success was all distorted.

He began to show me that it was not right that I was getting home from work after my daughters were already tucked in bed.  He began showing me that it was not all about the “almighty dollar”, that I didn’t have to work in vain toward securing my own future (retirement), when He was in control.  My “valid” reasons and justification for the overtime, company meetings, regional parties, networking among my peers, and office politics were not the reason for my life.

When the world continues to tell you that it is all about “You”, and that your future and success depends solely upon “You”, I hope you will stop to listen to what God says about it.  It has made a profound effect upon my life:

“…wisdom brings success.”  Ecclesiastes 10:10

“Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom.”  Proverbs 4:7

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  James 1:5

“…and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; … But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” ” 1 Corinthians 1:27, 30-31

The reason why we are here is to bring glory to God, and to work toward saving others through Jesus Christ!  God does not intend for us to be consumed by making all the money we can for ourselves.   “…but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”  Ephesians 4:28

The world (including some in my extended family) thinks I am crazy for leaving my job to care for my children.  The world (including some in my church) thinks that we are poor, living in a self-made poverty among the “land of opportunity”.  The world (including some in my town) believes that fame and fortune supersede the benefits of sacrifice.

Now that I am a “homemaker” and not next in line for “Branch Manager”, I am constantly amazed at how God really does provide.  We have not suffered.  We have eaten every meal (and then some!).  My children are happy.  My husband and I are agreed upon our future.  My bank account has never been overdrawn.  My bills are being payed.  My future is secure.  And, for the first time in my life, I feel myself really depending on God to meet our needs, and it feels great! 

His promises of provision are true.  Words like love, and grace, and honesty, and integrity, and purpose are “valued” much more than words like dollar, and prestige, and power, and control. 

Now, I know there is the “flip” side to my situation.  I am not saying that we should not work toward bettering our financial and provisional circumstances. There are many families who are unable to do what we are doing.  It is a tough, hard world where it takes alot to make ends meet.  Many mothers are not able to be at home.  Many fathers have to work long, hard hours.  Some have to be the “executive”, and things like networking, communication, productivity and extraordinary commitment to a job is a necessary and commendable attribute. The point I am trying to make is this:  our emphasis and priorities should be on the things of God, rather than our self-reliance to “succeed”.

When we “die to self”, and allow God to control all aspects of our lives, He then can show us that He means “business”!  Unfortunately, it is usually in the area of money that we fail to let go and let God lead.

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9 Comments

Filed under Career, Children, God, Priorities, Success, Uncategorized, Wisdom

9 responses to “Success.

  1. Kari

    Thank you so very much for this post! Jeremy and I were disussing this very thing on our way to the doctor’s appointment earlier today. You hit the nail on the head when you spoke about fearing for your future retirement, blah, blah, blah. Thanks for your advice and help! It’s amazing how God works and that He had you post this today for Jeremy and I to read and contemplate!

  2. Niki

    This was a great post, Julie. It hit home with me b/c I feel the same way. Ever since Cason was born, I KNEW in my heart that my place was at home with him. It didn’t happen right away, but all the time leading up to now, God was showing me that one of the highest callings is that of a godly wife and mother. We prayed and God answered in ways that are too numerous to say. But He made a way for me to quit my job and stay home to raise my family. I have never been happier or had so much peace as I do now. I know that many moms have to work and there’s no way around it, but it is true that now we are relying on God to meet our needs. No, we may not have the finest things money can buy, but we are happy and taken care of. Just hearing my son call for “Mommy” is worth any sacrifices we have to make.

    Thanks again! I love you, you blogger, you! Maybe someday I’ll get the nerve to try it out myself!

  3. julieblack

    Love you too! 🙂 Thanks for the comments, gals.

  4. Jessica

    Hmmmmm….That was some food for thought. You know where I am right now with all of this stuff, so I won’t go into to much detail, but thanks. I needed to hear all of that. Isn’t it funny how we know this stuff, but we don’t really KNOW this stuff. The question that keeps rolling through my mind is “why would you work when He provided for you so abundantly that you don’t have to?” I’ll be evaluating WHY I am still working after this child comes into the world.(since I have no choice at the moment but to come back to work) If the reasons I come up with are anything other than I am working b/c God wants me working then I am going to have some serious soul searching and praying to do huh? Just pray for us that God will make the path so obvious that we can’t miss it.
    You are just so stinking thought provoking! And you wonder why we make you pray at all of our meals?!? We love you!

  5. You know this is something that has been bothering me. The more though I think about it the more I am willing to go. Sundays message preached to me more than anyone else, I think. God planned to take Joseph lower than any other point in order to bring him as high as he could go. Good post!

  6. Good post Julie! Thank you for your encouraging comment on my blog and yes, I’d love to be on your blogroll.
    It looks like you are rather new to this blogging as well? It has been a wonderful experience and I have found some great “food” and like minded believers here. It is always nice to meet another!

    Every blessing to you in Christ Jesus!

    Susan

  7. Scotti

    Hi Julie,

    Just spending some time looking around your blog and came across this post. About two years ago, I made a decision to leave a 15 year ‘successful’ career to stay home with my two sons (now ages 10 and 7). It has been the greatest blessing for me and my family! My entire self-identify used to be wrapped up in my career and I just praise God that He showed me some new priorities.

    Looking forward to browsing around your blog some more later.

    God Bless!
    Scotti

  8. Pingback: at the Top! « God Is…

  9. Julie

    Hi Scotti,

    “My entire self-identify used to be wrapped up in my career”…..I so understand what you are saying!! I, too, used to eat, sleep and breathe my job and the corporate ladder. Thank God that He pulled me away from all of that false security and showed me what my calling truly is! I’m glad to hear that you also enjoy the benefits of being in God’s will.

    Many blessings to you,

    Julie

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