Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Are You a Success?

"I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who's ever lived: I've loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough."-- The Notebook

Both the book, The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks, and the movie, by the same name, have this wonderful quote in them. When you first hear it, or read it, it immediately captures your attention and you realize that you are witnessing a true love story just in these words. If you have read the book or seen the movie, you know what I mean. This is a beautiful love story.

I think that sometimes we are so busy trying to succeed, either in our job or just in life in general, that we forget what true success really is: relationships. Sometimes we can get so caught up in providing for our family that we actually lose touch with the very people we are working hard for. We've all heard it said that 'things don't matter', and we flippantly continue doing what we are doing. But 'things', possessions, truly don't matter if you don't have a solid relationship with someone to share them with.

We are a society driven to success. We have preconceived notions of what we think will bring success and happiness to our children and many times those notions have nothing to do with the relationships they may have in their life. Sometimes an education or a good job or a big house or a fancy car seem to be the goal we set before our children, when I think they would be better served if we taught them how important it is to have committment in a relationship. If we taught our sons how to be good husbands, fathers and men of God we would be preparing them for life long success. If our daughters were taught that compassion, kindness and grace were the best qualities to becoming a woman of success, they would be better prepared for the life ahead of them.

Our relationships are the only things that are lasting in this life. Jobs can be lost, houses too. Cars rust out and engines die. But if our relationships are built on a solid foundation of trust and committment then we can say that we have been truly successful. It is never too late to rebuild a relationship. Sometimes it means stepping out of the rat race we have found ourselves in and refocusing our priorities.

The most important relationship we can all have is one with God. Like any good relationship it needs committment from us. God is already committed to us. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die in our place for our sins. He's committed to our relationship with Him. But no relationship can be a success if it is only onesided. God wants us to love Him in return. He is devoted to us. Sometimes we leave God on the shelf and only take Him down, so to speak, when we need a prayer answered. That's not a very good relationship. God wants to have a living, vibraint, caring, two way relationship with all of us.

 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17

Some of the world's most 'successful' people are lonely and have no one to share their 'success' with. And some of the world's 'poorest' people are the ones who are truly rich because they have "loved another with all (their) heart and soul." Are you a success?

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