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Sister Jā€‹udy Nielsen. OSā€‹F

Spiritual Direction in the Franciscan Tradition

My Blog


What Is Success?

Posted on 26 July, 2014 at 2:05 Comments comments (7)
Hello again.   I have been away for a long while as life sometimes requires of us.  Now that I am back I will be posting here more often.  Thank you to those who continued to return and to those who sent emails to ask if I would be posting again.  I want you to know that I did get your messages.  I want you to know that you can post your concerns here and we can talk about it.  Be careful with yourself and send a private email if your wish to include personal information.  I want you to know that your are prayed for daily.

So let's begin by talking about success.

I have a friend preparing to move to another state for a new job.  She is, of course, excited about the possibilities and the opportunity.  I am happy and excited for her new beginning.  It was a long process from "What should I do?" to "This must be it!"  The journey wound through many doubts, hopes and much thinking about if the move would add to her hopes of increasing success within the company.   

Now that the time for the move is here we have been talking more about what success will look like. Questioning if a successful climb to her business goal will be enough or will it take more to feel that her life has been successful when she arrives at the place she wants to be in the business world.  It is my hope and prayer that she will add much more to her life.  Beginning to ask the questions and searching for the answers is a great place to begin to grow.   

We need our business life.  God made a whole world that includes work for our hands.   He also made us in a way that we need to be a whole creation balanced with work, love, community life, hobbies and rest.

We need to ask ourselves those tough questions about success:  Is it just more money?  Is it finding the right person with which to share our lives?  Is it friends that are close and caring or is it a higher number on our Facebook page?  Is it knowing that we've done our best and contributed to what is good and right in our business lives and the world around us or is it collecting connections on LinkedIn and finding people that we see as profitable?  In our spiritual lives we call this questioning discernment.  

Here are some suggestions if you should chose to explore success in your own life:

Discovering our answers can't happen without first having a willingness to be aware.  To take the time to think about it. That means that we intend to take full responsibility for our own decisions, get into action & turn over to God the responsibility for the outcome.  Life works that way anyway but acknowledging it will move away our fears of letting God help us and be with us in our everyday life.    

We are talking about committing to being aware and participating with God as opposed to letting God know what we think the finished product should be - He may have better in mind.  We'll call this a working definition of humility which is one word that represents our understanding that we are not God.  Somethings only God can fix.  Somethings only God knows and understands - we call that the mystery of God or Faith.  And, somethings just need God's assistance to work.  If we acknowledge this and live like we understand it life gets better.

The basic thread that runs through this discernment process is always:  
1) Is this temptation or opportunity?
2) Is it surrounded by confusion or calm?
3) Am I willing to put it on paper and talk to someone I trust so my thinking is real to me?
4) What is my experience of God?   Does what I am considering fit that experience? 
5) Would He communicate this to me in this way or want this for me?
6) Does it feed my desire to be of greater good in His service no matter the outcome or does it feed my ego and self importance requiring public credit, approval & my ideal of success?
7) Am I absolutely sure I'm right (usually a mistake) 
8) Am I willing to be in conversation with God about it or am I worried about His response?

Putting all this down on paper or on your computer or tablet will help you see your thoughts.
I hope to continue working on this project in my own life.  I hope God saves me from thinking I have mastered it and always know what I am doing without giving it any thought.   No one is perfect.  Life is not perfect but it is always good.   A personal commitment to become aware and accountable may be all that is required as we do the footwork toward our dreams and goals because God is in charge of the outcome.  Because He cares.  Always.