I came to terms with my addiction in recent years. An addiction that nearly killed me. An addiction many of us overlook; that is, the addiction to success and achievements.
I am a recovering accomplishment junkie.
What is it about success that makes people go crazy? It can be both the sole pursuit and the destruction of so many people.
In Matthew 16:26 it says, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
It is on my heart to talk to you about the side of success that is often overlooked. The side that takes ambitious, well-meaning people and turns them into success slaves and accomplishment addicts.
I am the first to admit falling into this trap myself. I have struggled immensely with being a workaholic and accomplishment junkie in the past.
I was recently out with a girlfriend and as we sat there sipping tea and catching up, we both realized we were in a similar place in our lives. We were trying to run our own lives, we were stressed, exhausted, and never measuring up to our own expectations. We began to joke about the stupid things we do in the name of success or productivity; and as we made light of it, we both had a-ha moments on how silly we had been.
We committed to taking time off to seek the Lord and relearn how to be ambitious and effective in a healthy way. My theme of life began coming from Proverbs 16:3 where it says, “ Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
What I learned in that extended break was incredible.
I learned the power of surrender.
I learned what really mattered and I learned that half of the things I stress about don’t matter at all!
In that surrender I finally found freedom from the addiction that controlled me up until this point.
My life was in God’s hand and the outcome was not up to me. All I can do is commit my works and dreams to The Lord and He takes it from there!
Once I realized the bondage my ambition had on me, I found the inspiration to value myself enough to step away from the self-destructive success slave way of life. I began to give myself much more margin in the day; time to do whatever I feel needs to be done without a time crunch. I started spending more and more time with God. In fact, I now cannot start my day without my quiet time with the Lord, because in that time I remember what matters, who I really am, and seek his guidance on what He wants me to be doing. It sets the pace for my entire day. I even changed my angle of my writing and music so that I can stay focused on the important things in life and have every piece of ‘work’ I do be full of purpose and passion.
I cut back the engagements in my calendar. I prioritized what really matters in life. I spent time seeking Jesus and asking him for guidance. I had to do what needs to be done to get off the path that leads to nothing but headaches, stress and no time. Because God made us to be. He made us to do what humans do. To love, to eat, to enjoy each other and to be lights in a dark world. We are the ones that over complicate it. We are the ones who turn a simple life into a complicated mess.
Once I realized what a hold success had on me, I was able to step away with lots and lots of prayer and grace. And as a result I found a complete and total different vision of what success looks like to me.
Success is truly not definable with a blanket definition for everyone. For some the most incredible accomplishment in the world is being a mom, or a teacher, or a good wife, or an encourager, or a happy person, or a healthy person, or someone who makes others laugh.
Once we realize that we each have a unique plan in the Kingdom of God with specific gifts and strengths, I believe we can breathe a little easier.
Now all of a sudden we can find our value in Christ. Now, just being us, is enough.
We are always enough. Even if we never accomplish anything else ‘successful’ by the world’s standards. Because I do not live to please the standards of this world, but the One who created the world.
Much Love, Tiffany