Too often, the pursuit of success is a pursuit of material possessions, or a certain lifestyle, or going after that which is going to make me happy. It’s all about me!
Unfortunately, after many of us have achieved our goals, we are left wondering “Is this all there is?”
In this post I hope to share some ideas I learned this morning about going beyond success into creating a legacy that will be not just about me, but about significance!
Align Your Dreams With God’s Dreams
Joseph, from the Old Testament, had two literal dreams. In Genesis 37, we read that he dreamed about ruling over his brothers and his family. He perplexed his father, and his brothers hated him. Eventually, they sold him into slavery. Joseph could have denied his dream; or he could have given up on his dream, becoming bitter at God for giving him a dream that did not seem to make sense, and that had gotten him into so much trouble.
Do you have a dream that God has given you? Do you have desires to do things or to develop skills that may not seem to make sense to you or to your family?
Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever
That is the message of the Bible, and as Christians, this Dream is built into our human DNA. As long as our dreams line up Biblical truth, wisdom, and with God’s timing and purpose, we can be assured we’re living a life of significance.
Remember That The Ordinary Is Part of the Dream
Joseph’s own brothers sold him into slavery. But years later, he become second in command to a great official in Egypt. Shortly after arriving in Egypt, he was unjustly charged with rape which he did not commit when refused to commit adultery with his boss’s wife. He was faithful in his service in the Egyptian prison, and was ultimately promoted to becoming second in command in Egypt. Joseph demonstrated great faith throughout all of this.
He believed in God’s plans for his life, surrendered himself to those plans, and lived a values oriented life based on his trust in God’s plans. He did not give into bitterness, disillusionment, or despair. Rather, he obeyed God in his everyday circumstances, giving himself to serving God with all of his abilities in every circumstance. His faithfulness combined with God’s blessing upon his life resulted in a legacy eventually lead to preservation of Israel and the founding of Christianity down the road.
Practical Success Strategy for the Christian Entrepreneur
Cultivate time in God’s Word, the Bible, and in Prayer
Too often, we are down, depressed, dejected, cynical, and embittered because our plans have not turned out the way we expected them too. People have let us down, life has not gone the way we think it should. Our hearts are out of tune, because we have not been spending regular, consistent time in God’s Word.
Make a daily appointment on your schedule to spend time with God, reading his Word, treasuring it, meditating on it, memorizing it, and writing about it in your journal.
When you do this consistently, your mind will be in the right place, and you’ll make wise and ethical choices that will result in success in every circumstance. The key to remember here is that there will always be adversity and suffering; what is critical is how we choose to respond to the adversity and suffering.
When undergoing personal dips, valleys, and setbacks, live your dream by helping others to find and fulfill their dreams.
Isaiah 58 challenges each of us to feed the hungry, help the homeless, reach out to the lonely, and to see how we can be a blessing to those around us. It is often in serving others that we find our dreams being rekindled or clarified. Joseph, in serving where he was planted, was able to arrive at the place of the fulfillment of his dream: becoming second in command in the land of Egypt, over all of his family. But, on the way, he learned to serve Potiphar, serve the prisoners under his command while he was still in prison, serve the king while he was still in prison.
Are there co-workers around you who could benefit from some skill you have to offer? Could it merely be a smile or a kind word? Is there a neighbor in need? Is there a cause, either through your church or through a local community agency, that you can become involved in? By pouring your life into others, you will find life beyond success: a life that truly matters.
Resources to help you achieve your dream:
ESV Study Bible (TruTone, Forest/Tan, Trail Design) The Bible is the greatest guide for all of your life. By studying, treasuring, memorizing, and obeying God’s Word, you will be living your dream in line with God’s Truth.
The Christian’s Career Journey: God’s Plan For Finding Your Career Calling and Living Abundantly, by Susan Britton Whitcomb.
How to Find Your Mission in Life, by Richard Bolles.
Here is a link to an article that can get you thinking about identifying your mission: Write Your Life’s Mission Statement Today
Resources to help you cope with adversity and suffering, finding God’s strength in the middle of disappointment:
Disappointment with God, by Philip Yancey
Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success, by John Maxwell.
What about you? What are some key success factors, to you, to living a life beyond success? I would love to hear your comments!