Have You Achieved the Intangible?
There’s a lot of talk about achieving around us. In NH, we have a 40 under 40 list of high achievers. Nationally, there’s the Fortune 500, Fortune 50!, the Emmys, the Dove Awards, the Best Seller’s List, the Olympics, the Special Olympics, the Hall of Fame, the MVPs and so many more. I read that there will be an event in Boston coming up to celebrate achievers achieving achievements!
I am competitive. There are certainly good reasons to compete, most importantly, against our ‘yesterday’s self’. I turned fifty years old this year and over time, I’ve looked back -astonished at how different I am, how far I’ve come, and what it took to get where I am at a given time.
A few years ago, I managed residential real estate in four states. I was a nurse for 28 years. We’ve been married 27 years in a few weeks. I raised and provided home education for five children through high school and some college. In my spare time… I volunteered for youth ministry, an annual week-long camp for our community for 20 years, our state’s right to life organization as a board member for almost 25 years, I speak locally and across the country, I wrote a book, have three more in various stages of completion, I maintain a blog, and I have a lot more to do.
But, none of that would win any awards, not that I’d want one. I am much more interested in achieving the intangible.
Whether it is a project completed or a conversation that made someone’s day, satisfaction is so important. Closure can be satisfying. I look at each day and ask myself what brought joy and peace to myself or to others. Sometimes a sacrifice on my part will be very satisfying because of what it does for others. Getting stuff done is great, but I’m always looking for the reason to get it done and did that task accomplish a good thing or not. Evaluating daily brings improvement and more satisfaction.
Success is different from satisfaction. It brings in a whole new level that, although has some elements of accomplishment, it encompasses more. It is said, “To be a success, you must have successors.” This is about passing on what you have; the knowledge, the trade, the skills, the possessions, the networks, the businesses, and the relationships. To transfer value and empower other people without being diminished is true success. Raising children that are respectful and kind in today’s world is great success.
Where we stand with other people is kind of a big deal. Where we stand with God is bigger. Our lives are like a cityscape. Different areas are high or low, clean and decorated, other parts are ugly. We are not monolithic creatures. Our lives are made of widely varied relationships. We don’t behave the same way with the clerk in the grocer as we do with a parent or family member and we don’t talk to an authority figure the same way we would a trusted BFF. No one will have a perfect reputation with all people, because all people are different. Some we like. Some like us. Some- not so much. We can only do our best with people.
According to Scripture, with God, it’s different. Our standing with Him is totally dependent on our relationship with Jesus. If we confess with our mouths, that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts, that God has raised him from the dead, then we will be saved. ~Romans 10:9 Because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. ~John 3:16 Our standing with God is not dependent on our behavior. It is by grace, (the unmerited favor) that you have been saved and not of works, so no one can boast. ~Ephesians 2:8-9 Having the assurance of good standing with God means living in peace without fear of death. That’s not to say, we don’t fear the process of dying. ~just sayin’
There are consequences to the way we live. The good news is that we choose. Every minute, every breath, every beat of our hearts yields a new opportunity to choose.