“…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Cor. 10:31
How do you measure success?
I’ve struggled with this question lately, especially in writing a blog.
Up until a few months ago, I was a technological dinosaur. Email was as far as I ventured in the social media realm. But blogging has me in places I never thought I’d travel—WordPress, Facebook, Twitter. I avoided them like the plague, not wanting to put myself out there for all to see. But God had other plans for me. And so, here I am…a blogger.
Articles will tell you followers and views and likes and shares are how to measure success in the blogosphere. Stats are plastered on each webpage—from blogs to Facebook to Twitter to every other online community. It can be overwhelming. And, sadly, I find I can’t look away from them.
I peek to see how many people read my blog post and how many likes it receives. I eagerly await emails announcing a new comment and check the share buttons at the bottom of the page to know if people thought it was worthy of sharing with their friends. Frankly, this is embarrassing to admit—this obsession with approval.
Do you find yourself doing the same thing—seeking approval?
This phenomenon is not just limited to the World Wide Web. It rears its ugly head in everything we do—our work, our home, our family, our friends, our church, our community. We crave attention, don’t we? I know I do.
The sad reality is too often I focus on myself. I wonder how my actions or words will be received. I get swept up comparing my work to others who are considered the best at what they do. A whirlpool of desire for acceptance, applause, and admiration sucks me in. And while spinning around and around in this inescapable vortex of selfish ambition, the joy in life is thrown out. I become trapped in a swirling circle of discouragement, insecurity and fear. Creativity gets sucked under and productivity drowns. And I have nothing to give.
Only then does it hit me—something critical forgotten: God is the reason for this blog!
The world’s definition of success screamed so loudly I bought into it and quickly forgot my purpose. This writing venture is a calling from the Lord. God has given me a story—the story of my life, yes, but much more. He has given me the story of life connected to the God of all creation– a testimony to His existence and His loving work in my heart. How profound the words sound or whether people are wowed should not be a concern. The purpose is bringing glory to the Most High God!
HE should be the focus–always. His truth…His calling…His outcome.
Only when we fix our gaze on God’s purpose in what we do can we bring Him the glory He deserves. Only when we prayerfully depend on Him to transform our meager efforts and humbly present them to Him as a precious offering will His true beauty shine through.
God’s own Word tells us: “…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
Not our glory. God’s glory.
Ann Voskamp said in speaking to writers: “We need to be passionately uninterested in the outcome of our words beyond our faithfulness in writing them. Success in writing is faithfulness and obedience to writing what God has called you to.”
“Passionately uninterested in the outcome…”
A far cry from obsessively checking the stats and seeking approval.
We must commit the results to God–to be faithful in following His plan and leave the rest up to Him. He alone has the power to bring His desired outcome from everything we offer Him.
1 Corinthians 3:7 says: “ So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
Only God…makes things grow. Only God…brings the outcome.
How, then, should we measure success?
By living our lives each day in faithful obedience to His call–for His glory.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
Oh, how wonderful if we could fully grasp this truth. It would remove discouragement, dissolve insecurity, eliminate fear, and bring back the joy in serving Him.
The stats and worldly measures of success will always be before us, but we must strive to turn our heart’s eye away from them and focus on the LORD.
Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Success is measured not in outcome but in obedience.
The glory is His. The outcome is His. The privilege to serve Him is ours.
Dearest Lord, help us to serve you in faithful obedience in all we do. Help us leave the results of our efforts up to you and seek only Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
All Scripture is from the New International Version of the Bible, 1984.
Internet photos by Sabra Penley.