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Posts Tagged ‘Fighting against discouragement’

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“Success is a journey, not a destination.”

–Arthur Ashe

Too often we think of success as the final, glorious outcome of endeavor. But achieving a goal requires the successful completion of many steps along the way, some of which are slippery, steep, and uneven.  As time passes and difficulties mount, hopelessness can hold us back.

However, history is full of examples of people who persevered in spite of great difficulty, even failure. They didn’t allow tumbles and trip-ups to stop them. They maintained their optimism and effort toward the goal.  Prime examples include:  Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, and Winston Churchill.

“Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

–Winston Churchill

Another prime example is Thomas Edison. You might remember he tested over 6000 materials for the filament of his electric light bulb, and performed 1200 experiments before reaching ultimate success.

Once the invention had been released, a reporter asked Mr. Edison, “How did it feel to fail over a 1000 times?”

The inventor replied, “Young man, I did not fail 1000 times. I simply found 1000 ways how not to create a light bulb.”

Edison had learned to celebrate progress, not just the end result.

We, too, can learn to celebrate the steps toward our God-ordained, individual goals, not just the finish line.

And what are the steps worth celebrating? Here are a few:

  1. Making good choices, even in small things (Luke 16:10).

Doing little things with a strong desire to please God

makes them really great.”

–St Francis De Sales 

  1. Maintaining a positive attitude (Colossians 3:23-24).

Feed your hope with positive expectancy.

Instead of wondering, Why isn’t God doing anything?

Ask, I wonder what God will do next?

  1. Exercising self-control (Galatians 5:23).

“You must do the very thing you think you cannot do.”

–Eleanor Roosevelt

  1. Applying wisdom (Proverbs 19:8).

“Wisdom is the means by which the godly can both

discern and carry out the will of God.”

–Douglas Moo 

  1. Striving for humility (Proverbs 22:4).

“I believe that the first test of a truly great man is his humility…

Really great men have a curious feeling

that the greatness is not of them, but through them…

And [they] are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.”

–John Ruskin 

  1. Overcoming disappointment and failure (Psalm 37:23-24).

“Discouragement and failure

are two of the surest

stepping-stones to success.”

–Dale Carnegie

Too often we’re sidelined by our failures—even the little ones. We have to remember: success has nothing to do with immunity to failure.

“Success is getting up just one more time than you fall.”

–Oliver Goldsmith.

So! I’ve devised a little questionnaire, to help us appreciate our steps of success:

  • Did we accomplish one task today, leading toward our God-ordained goals, even though we didn’t want to do it?
  • Did we thank God for even one blessing today? Gratitude takes our minds off the way we’d like things to be and refocuses our attention on what God has already provided.
  • Was there at least one small thing we chose not to do, in order to apply our time and energy on the goals set before us?
  • Did we apply a bit of wisdom today that kept us on the path of success?
  • Did we demonstrate genuine interest in someone else without even thinking about ourselves at all? That’s C.S. Lewis’s definition of true humility.
  • Did we encourage ourselves with words or action, in order to press on?

Success is found on the path of most persistence.

So, let’s celebrate progress–those moments, those steps, that are leading us toward God’s call on each of our lives.

And if progress is slow, let’s not lose heart.  Most progress is slow.  God rarely rushes in with a delivery of instant success.

Let’s all take a deep breath and affirm:  God isn’t finished with us yet. He’s still working, still guiding, still engineering circumstances for the personal goals he has ordained for each of us.

That doesn’t mean we sit back and wait for God to achieve our success for us.  It’s a matter of balance.  We must trust him as if everything depended on him, and work as if everything depended on us (Living Application Bible note, Proverbs 16:3).

(Photo credit:  www.hikingtohealthy.com)

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What steps to success would you add?

And, how do you celebrate the successful steps along the way?

Please join the conversation below! 

  

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