Monday, May 27, 2019
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain -Christ Philippians 3:7-8
It is graduation season...which means there is a fresh crop of well-meaning, advice-giving, platitude offering speechifying going on right now. It means that people are trying to both congratulate and motivate...and having sat there in a rented gown a couple of times...I not sure I remember most of what people were trying to impart to me. Perhaps that was because often it is so warm in those graduation gowns...you fan yourself with your program, maybe the air current causes the words to go in one ear and out the other. Or maybe by that point, it is such a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, you worked hard for that piece of paper you are about to get...on the other, you are about to leave the familiar rhythm of high school or college. There are so many emotions swirling and stirring at that moment. It can also be this awkward moment of sitting next to someone you didn't really get to know over four or three or two years...and your friends are two rows back because they had the audacity to go and have their last names begin with "M"...while you are stuck making small talk with someone you probably will not see again.
Which brings me to a great question from Denise Pope, what is success?
I grew up thinking success was that educational goal.
I grew up given a script that success meant getting a good job.
I grew up believing that 'the good life' was about a house and providing for my family.
Don't get me wrong...those are all good things. I am just not sure that is success. I value my education, but in the end it also made me realize how much I did not know and how learning was going to be continual. I love my job, but that isn't all of who I am or long to be. I am grateful for the roof over my head and the food on the table.
But I don't know if that is really what success is all about.
Denise Pope asks people this question, she reports that youth will talk about much of what I just did. Job. Money. Prestige, even power or position.
Their parents talk about success as being good people, caring about others, and being content/joyful in life.
There was very classes on those subjects in school.
There are very few good models of that in the world today.
What we read online and in the paper...what we see in so many leaders today is more of the insatiable desire for more...to continually define the world by winners or losers.
Which is it?
It could be both...but that also makes it really tough to plan the day!
Do I keep reading or enjoy the sunny day splashing in the pool?
Do I put in more hours at work or just sit and breathe?
And yes, while I want to do both...sometimes the to-do list is just too long and we need to make choices.
Will you sit with me on this wonderfully insightful question, what is success?
And may there be a trace of God's grace stirring within us as we try to lean into and live out that question.