“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”
When I read that quote earlier this week, it was one of those that just makes you stop and think for a moment. The first question to ask yourself is, what is your definition of success when you read that? In my mind there are many options, but my biggest success will always be overcoming addiction.
That has to be first, because without that achievement, all the other successes wouldn't have followed. Things like a renewal of my faith, a healthy marriage, relationships with family and friends that continue to grow and improve, physical achievements, clarity, peace. I could go on and on, but none of these things would hold any measure of success without taking that first step into a life of sobriety.
I have been on both sides of this quote. I had let go of the dream of a successful life in sobriety, and gone back to my old ways while others moved on. I have moved forward, while many choose to stay in the pit of addiction. That makes me sad to think about: people that are still in the addiction trap. I will say, however, the longer I choose the sobriety route, the more successful I am in life.
So, how do we get to the point of saying, “I was able to really succeed at that!”?
What is “that” for you? Are we really at the end point of success, where we can say I have arrived at succeeding in ______. You fill in the blank.
Well, to start with, because most of us are girls here, it's always weight loss! Jump on, jump off. Jump on, jump off. You know exactly what I am talking about. It takes A LOT of self discipline to lose weight whether it's 10 lbs or 100 lbs. Pound for pound, it sucks. I recently said to someone losing weight is harder than quitting drinking (which by the way, I'm sure I didn't think that way 3 years ago.) There is no “cheat drink” on the weekend.
It would not be acceptable if I ordered a drink on the weekend and said “I am just having one. No big deal.” That would not go well, just saying. But don't we do that with food? Just one? If I order dessert, even though I know if I were staying true to an eating plan, it means, “No dessert Sherry.” That’s on me. No one is going to say that I shouldn’t! Food is acceptable, that’s what makes it hard.
I'm nearing the end of 40 days of clean eating. Nothing processed, sugar or starches. I can count on one hand how many times I strayed, which for me is a huge achievement. (That’s days I strayed, not items. Lol!) I did add on extra days at the end though, to try to redeem myself. Did I lose as much as I wanted to? Nope! I did lose some weight and feel fantastic though! So, would I say it was a success? Yes! There were many positive changes that I made and I am better for it.
But just like anything else, there is continued success to be achieved here. It’s given me the motivation to stay on a health kick. I’ve lost some bad snacking habits along the way, and I want to try to eat clean as much as possible. One of the mantras in my head that was drilled into me (successfully) was the phrase, “No first drink.”
So with this plan, I started another one that says, “No first bite.” I know myself well enough that I have never stopped at just one bite, one taste, one drink, of anything! So yes to success, but always work in progress. Just like the drinking. I may not be partaking, but keeping my mind in the success zone of sobriety means staying away from the drama that makes me want to drink. I'm learning what to do differently when I get caught up in my head.
Then there is shopping. I love to shop! When I get caught up in shopping, I can never buy just one thing. It is usually in threes! Why? Why?! Why!?!?! It’s the way I'm wired and I have to fight it in just about everything I love. The word moderation will never be in a sentence to identify me.
So, there is alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, toxic relationships. You name it, we can all find something. In some things, you can find a happy medium. Take food, for example, you could have fruit for dessert (yeah I know) but you could. How about shopping? Maybe you just steer clear of your favorite store or website. For some of the other things we struggle with it has got to be a clean break. How do we know when we have succeeded at some of these things?
Success is defined in Webster's Dictionary as:
-the fact of getting or achieving wealth respect or fame
-the correct or desired result of an attempt
I believe those definitions are kind of where we live. We often define someone as successful that is wealthy or has big achievements in business or politics. (I'm not ever discussing politics here, lol!) We might also say, "She successfully beat cancer" or "He was a very successful athlete in high school." The definition of success implies we are doing it all by ourselves. How often does God get the credit for someone in the public eye being credited for his/her success? Usually only if they declare it themselves.
"God will ensure my success in accordance with his plans, not mine."
The Biblical definition of success:
Faithfully using the gifts, talents, and opportunities God has given us for the furtherance of his kingdom here on earth.
The measure of success is simply the ratio of talents used to talents received. What you are doing with what you have been given by God, and who you are becoming as a Christian is what really matters. You can achieve any of the above mentioned meanings of success, as long as you're teaming up with God.
Many people fail because they are resisting what direction God wants them to go in, and running the other way (think Jonah.) Too often we combine an unbiblical definition of happiness with an unbiblical definition of success. Basically this leads to unhappiness and failure. We've seen many people fall at the peak of their "success" and most of the time, it is easy to see why.
You will succeed at anything if you do it with God, let him teach and lead. Learn to be a good listener he has the best instructions for living a life of success. God wants us all to be successful by living up to our full potential.
So maybe today is the day you write down one thing, just one thing, you would like to try to succeed at. I recently went to a triathlon informational meeting. I kind of want to do one in honor of the big 5-0 coming up. Would doing that make me a success? Not necessarily, but you never know about the community I might get involved with. God weaves the threads of life so intricately.
There have been many times that I look back in life and say, "Well, if I hadn't done that I would have never met this person or had this opportunity." Those happenings are usually kingdom related in some way. If you are feeling a nudge to try something new, or make a change that will most likely bring you into something out of your comfort zone, go with it! You never know where God is taking you in it.
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." - Matthew 6:34
I read this sign recently and at first I laughed, (success right there) and then thought to myself, "I can do that. I can tell a good story with a salad instead of a drink any day!"
Just ask my friends. When I am out with my girlfriends and they have a beer in front of them and I have a salad and a Diet Coke, I can still tell a good story! (It might be sometimes slightly dramatized to make it more interesting.) Just ask them, I'm sure they will be back me up. No drug will ever rob me of my sense of humor and love of spending time with the girls. In the meantime, it's best that I order a salad.
Have a great weekend!