According to Dr. D. W. Johnston, a common characteristic of people who identify with a Type A behavioral pattern is “They [we] strive toward goals without feeling a sense of joy in their efforts or accomplishments.” This particularly resonates with me. I’m always trying to accomplish something but rarely am I able to enjoy the accomplishments because I’m always thinking about the next thing I want to do. Where this has gotten me in trouble in my walk with Christ is that I tend to center my own personal wants more than anything.
The biggest hang up here in my walk with Christ has been the motivation behind my striving for goals and accomplishments. If I’m not careful, I’ll center myself in my ambition, meaning I’m making decisions and advancements strictly based on how I feel about pursuing them and how they will improve my general lifestyle. It isn’t wrong to want better for yourself, but if you’re claiming to be a person after the heart of Jesus, you can’t be your primary driving force.
“Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
If I base my ambition on strictly how others will receive me once I’ve accomplished something, I will never be satisfied. Seeking approval from others will always leave you empty. People are very hard to please and their support is as wavering as wind. So instead, focus on the blessing that can come from your actions. When you do whatever it is that you are called to do, will someone be blessed by what they’re seeing you do? Can someone be blessed by the outcome of the goals you’ve set for yourself?
Whether you are able to bless someone with material things or encouragement to continue through life trusting in God, if you are showing God to be present in your life you are succeeding even when it may appear to others that you are failing at things that are of Earthly importance. When it becomes difficult to find joy in the progress toward your goals and the process seems to bring disappointment, remember to rejoice in the simple fact that someone will see your life, your actions, your successes and your failures and be blessed by your journey.
Pause at moments along the way and celebrate what God is doing in your life. Even when you can’t tell exactly what God is doing, God is never doing nothing and everything always has a purpose. The challenge is to shift your focus from the importance of your own abilities and success to viewing your abilities and successes as tools toward pointing to God’s greatness in your life and you can never fail.