Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. Okay, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed since October, when it became clear to me that Second Year at BSSM was not what I was expecting and was actually quite different than the First Year rhythm I’d grown accustomed to.
Compared to what others my age are juggling, I feel behind. School alone doesn’t sound very demanding or seem very significant. Yet here I am, feeling like I’m barely managing to juggle this one thing.
I’ve been feeling guilty that I’m so worn out from just this one responsibility, when I “should” be able to do so much more. I’ve been praying for God to expand my capacity, because I feel like I should be able to handle more. I’m “supposed” to be able to handle more.
Notice a theme here? It’s all about the shoulds and supposed-tos: a dead giveaway that I’m letting someone else’s standards dictate my idea of success. I’m comparing myself to others who aren’t in my season, which is entirely unhelpful and a recipe for disappointment in myself.
My small group leader, recognizing this, recently challenged me to examine what success looks like for me in this season. He recommended I get God’s perspective.
I immediately realized: I am being successful in what God has called me to do right now. It might not look like much, but it’s success in his eyes because it’s all he’s asked me to do.
He hasn’t asked me to work out five days a week, have a three-course meal ready every night at 5:00 p.m., wash and style my hair every single morning, or be caught up on the laundry at all times. (Good thing, because I’d definitely be failing if that was the case.)
For me, this season has looked a lot more like sweatpants, split ends, and freezer meals. I have 495 books on my ever-growing to-read list. My car has needed a wash since July, and the tires have needed air on a monthly basis for years because I just haven’t made it to the tire place. I’m TIRED. (No pun intended!) I love school and I feel grateful to be doing it, but it uses up most of my energy and time.
God spoke this to me: “Other people might not consider you successful, but I do, and that’s what counts.”
For the past two years, the only major thing he’s asked me to do is school, and I’ve done it. That’s success. It has taken most of my capacity to do this task, but God hasn’t asked me to do anything else.
All he’s asked me to do is to go through this program and glean the most I can out of it. I’m sacrificing to do it (sleep, money, time, good meals, a more put-together appearance), but at the end of the day, I’m doing what God’s asked.
That’s success. For you and for me, success is simply doing whatever God asks – nothing more and nothing less.
Ask yourself and ask God: what does success look like for you in this season? It might look different than you think.