Friday, January 14, 2011

Surrendering Success

I need to learn how to slow down and breathe. Slowing down is not something I am good at, but definitely something I need to learn. I need to learn patience and how to wait upon the Lord. Too often, when I get sick of waiting, I make my own plans. I argue with God. “You can’t seriously have brought me here just to …. (fill in the blank with any mundane task)…” But I think that is exactly why God has brought me here.

God doesn’t care as much about the “job description” as much as the attitude towards the work. God has called us to be present; to love His people as much as we possibly can, despite who they are or where they come from.

I have been reading a book called Tattoos on the Heart by Father Gregory Boyle. It is an incredible book (I strongly recommend it for anyone). This book is a collection of stories told by a man who has devoted his life to loving people our population often declares unlovable. The tattooed, the drug addicts, the incarcerated, the gang members… he walks alongside them all as they struggle to find their way. Towards the end of the book is a chapter titled Success. I have pulled a brief excerpt from the beginning of the chapter.

…This work has taught me that God has greater comfort in inverting categories than I do. What is success and what is failure? What is good and what is bad? Setback or progress? Great Stock these days is placed in evidence based outcomes. People … want to know if what you do “works”

Salivating for success keeps you from being truly faithful, keeps you from seeing whoever’s sitting in front of you. Embracing a strategy and an approach you can believe in is sometimes the best you can do on any given day. If you surrender your need for results and outcomes, success becomes God’s business.

-Father Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart

Don’t worry mom. This doesn’t mean that I will surrender all plans for graduate school in favor of spending my days sitting on street corners. This simply means that I need to go through everyday focusing first on serving God and loving those around me as He would.

As difficult as it is for me, I need to surrender my need for success to God. I need to simply focus on serving Him and let Him do His job of taking care of the outcomes