When Success Becomes Something More

by | Jan 12, 2016 | Love God

How do you personally define success?

Or, when you think of success, what comes to your mind?

success :: the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals; the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.

Over the years my definition of success has been altered quite a bit.

As a teenager, success meant scoring 36 points in a basketball game and getting my photo in our local newspaper.

As a college student, it was getting up for class on time.

As a young employee, success was moving up in the company.

As a young business owner, it was having no limits put on my effort.

As a mother, it was raising my children in the ways of God.

As one who achieved much in my career, success sadly became something I worshiped. It turned into accomplishing more, acquiring more, earning more money, working harder, dreaming bigger, and doing whatever it took to accomplish the next goal.

But something happened within me a number of years ago when I began to serve in a local ministry who helped the formerly incarcerated, the homeless, and others in need.

The success trap I had fallen into didn’t fit in with my service there. What I considered “successful” wasn’t found in that kind of humbling work. Little did I realize, my ideas began to change as God began to change me.

Success had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Him.

This change happened gradually. But, the moment I saw a former colleague’s social media post about achieving her next diamond ring as I had minutes prior prayed with a man struggling with addiction, success had become much more than I ever thought it could be. I knew then my diamond-ring-earning-days had come to an end.

Success took on an entirely new meaning in my life.

Success can be different for each of us. I believe it can depend on where we are in life and at what stage we find ourselves in. It depends on our faith journey, and if we have one at all. It may depend on our past experiences and how life has shaped us.

One thing I’ve learned, however, is God’s view of success is often different than ours.

God's view of successNow, I cannot presume to know what God knows, or say I understand His ways, because I certainly do not. (Oh, goodness no!) His Word, however, gives us some clues on His views. Take a look:

Only by humbling ourselves will we be exalted.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10 ESV

Success comes when we submit to God and respond to His will.

Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance]. Proverbs 16:3 AMP

Our souls are more important than earthly successes.

Look, does it make sense to truly become successful, but then to hand over your very soul? What is your soul really worth? Matthew 16:26 VOICE

Success comes from trusting God, and not ourselves.

My son, never forget the things I’ve taught you. If you want a long and satisfying life, closely follow my instructions. Never tire of loyalty and kindness. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart. If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. Proverbs 3:1-5 TLB

No, there’s nothing wrong with earning and acquiring and succeeding in this life. But let’s do it according to God’s plans and not our own.

What are your thoughts on success? I’d love to read them below.





It’s a joy to link this post with three encouraging places:  Kelly for #RaRaLinkup, Holly for #TestimonyTuesday, and Crystal for #IntentionalTuesday.

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  1. Tara

    Our view of success definitely shifts over the years. I also agree that God’s view of success is often different than our views of success. Great post. Blessed to be your neighbor at Testimony Tuesday today.

    • Julie Lefebure

      Hey friend! I’m so glad it has shifted. Oh so thankful. It’s always a gift to be your neighbor!

  2. IntentionallyPursuing.com

    Love how God works in our lives, Julie, molding us day by day: “my ideas began to change as God began to change me.” I pray we experience the success of submitting to God and responding to His will. Thank you, friend, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday. : )

    • Julie Lefebure

      Amen, Crystal. I’m praying for the same. God bless you and thank you for hosting us for #IntentionalTuesday!

  3. Being Woven

    Yes, Julie, the Word of God draws us to the very heart of success…obediently following the One Who calls us to His will, humbling ourselves to His walk, and loving our neighbors as only He wants us to. My success at chores of this world have had some degree of worldly success but not always by God’s standards. I want His for the rest of my days.

    • Julie Lefebure

      I’m with you, Linda. I want His for the rest of my days. Thank you so much for coming by today. You’re a blessing.

  4. Tiffany Parry

    Oh boy, Julie – does God ever measure success differently than us. And I’m so glad that’s the case. I know I can get carried away with numbers, likes, and follows when God has entirely different purposes for the tasks He sets before us – particularly where our words are concerned. It’s something He’s been writing on my heart for some time now – the process is mine, but the results are His. Thanks for reminding me again to set my eyes on His ways. Blessings to you!

    • Julie Lefebure

      I appreciate your words, Tiffany. Especially… “the process is mine, but the results are His.” Good words to ponder today. I’m so thankful you stopped over. You’ve blessed me.

  5. Ellen Chauvin

    Oh, how true, Julie! My definition of success has decidedly changed over the years. When viewed in light of eternity, the successes of this world don’t amount to much. What a wonderful, thought provoking post!

    • Julie Lefebure

      Ellen, you’re absolutely right. The successes of this world don’t amount to much with eternity in view. It’s good to remember that truth! Thanks for being here and for sharing your wisdom. I appreciate you, friend!

    • Julie Lefebure

      It sure is, Victor! It’s good to “see” you here. Thanks for sharing and for stopping in. Have a blessed week!

  6. KB

    I think life gets simpler (not easier) for me each passing year. For me, it’s boiling down to taking 1 Corinthians 2:2 more seriously, “For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified.” Love your posts, Julie…they are always encouraging!

    • Julie Lefebure

      Amen, my friend. This verse declares where my heart lies today. I need to check out what translation that’s in. Thank you so much for sharing this here. It’s a joy to journey alongside of you in this life!


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