To read the other posts in this series, start HERE.
I was spending time with the Lord asking Him if I should add to this series, or if I should be done writing posts for it and as I listened for His response, I heard Him start talking to me about “the process”. It’s all too easy for us to look around and see what others have but not know what it took for them to get there. We compare our lives to where they’re at now, but have no idea what it took for them to get there.
When Matt and I first got married his parents were living in this big, beautiful home in San Jose, and I remember thinking “I wish we had a big nice house like this.” But the Lord reminded me that they were much older and had been working hard for years and years to be able to get to that point. They hadn’t always lived in big nice houses, and they hadn’t always had a lot of money, but what I was comparing myself to was where they were at, not remembering the process it took them to get there.
In our culture it’s easy to see what others have and want that success, want the nice house, want the fancy car, or even want someone’s successful marriage. Our culture is all about I see, I compare, I want it now. However God’s culture is about something much different, it’s about trusting the Lord and trusting the process, which often times means making sacrifices along the way.
I want to share a story about my husband, as an example. My husband is a very successful banker, at just 36 he holds a chief executive title at his bank and helps the inner workings of the bank run smoothly. The job he has is one most never attain, and those that do are usually about 15 years older than he is. I know there are people that look at him and are jealous of his success but what they don’t see are the sacrifices he made along the way.
When we first got married he had a couple friends offer him a job that would have made him a lot of money, and quickly. Our friends were hugely successful and have made tons of money over the years, but when the opportunity was presented to him I remember Matt saying that he didn’t feel like he was supposed to take a job that would make us rich quickly, but that he needed to stick with where he was at and trust the Lord to provide for us. And that’s what we did.
Each time Matt was presented with a job offer (which he’s had many over the years), we would pray about it and ask the Lord if it was the right move or not. The couple times he moved to new banks it was because we clearly knew the Lord was leading him there. But not all those jobs were what we thought they’d be. Two of the banks he worked at lead him to very painful experiences, working under really hard circumstances, but through all of it Matt kept his integrity and always trusted the Lord.
I share this personal story, not to brag about my husband, although I am very proud of him, but as an example of what it looks like to trust the Lord in the process of our lives. If you look at my husband now, you see is a very successful banker with huge favor on his life, it’s easy to see that and want the same success. But what you don’t see are the many many painful days of him crying out to the Lord, asking the Lord for strength to get through, and trusting the Lord to provide.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:6-12a
We see other’s success and want it, but are we willing to make the necessary sacrifices along the way that will lead us to success?
We look at our friend’s big fancy house, and want it, but are we willing to pinch pennies and not eat out, in order to sacrifice and save to have a nice house? We see that our friend has a wildly successful career and makes good money, and we want that, but are we willing to take all the little, less paying, not fun jobs along the way, or are you wanting the “get rich quick” job? We see our friend’s beautiful marriage and we want that for our marriage but are we willing to go to counseling, go through marriage workshops, fight through the battles, not give up on our spouse and trust the Lord with them, in order to get that, or are we going to look for the answer somewhere else?
Taking the easy road to get what we want will never lead to the kind of success we are looking for.
Taking the “get rich quick job” or choosing the easy way undermines the Lord’s plan for our lives and we miss out on opportunities to build our character and trust the Lord to give us what we need, when we need it. God’s plan is less about our success and more about building our character and our trust in Him.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5
God loves us so much that He writes each of our stories individually. We all have the ability to attain success but what success looks like for me, will not look the same for you. We need to stop comparing our stories because God created us individually and He has a different plan for each of our lives.
What you need to decide is if you’re going to be willing to make the sacrifices along the way to attain your ultimate success. Will you stop looking around at what others have, comparing yourself to their success, and be willing to run full speed ahead, to wherever the Lord is taking you?
This should be the prayer of our hearts every day of our lives, so I’m placing it at the end of each of the posts in this series –
God, empty out of my heart everything that is false – every lie, and every crooked thing. And give me neither undue poverty nor undue wealth – but rather, feed my soul with the measure of prosperity that pleases you. May my satisfaction be found in you.” Proverbs 30:8-9a (tPt)