Monday, May 18, 2015

Measuring Success

By Andrea Merrell

Everybody wants to be successful, right? Especially writers. The problem is success comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary says success is: an outcome or result; degree or measure of succeeding; the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. That makes success a very broad and relative subject. The key is how you define it for yourself.

Are you waiting for that book contract with a major publisher? Maybe your goal is to have an article published in a prominent magazine. Perhaps you would be happy to see a devotion in print, or an increase in the number of Twitter followers or Facebook friends. You might even have a desire to branch out as a speaker, writing instructor, or mentor.

Once you know what success looks like in your life, what measuring stick do you use? Do you pattern your efforts after someone you admire, hoping to follow in their well-worn footsteps? Maybe you look at others and think they’ve “made it” because they’re doing something you want to do, or thought you should be doing by now.

Funny thing about us humans—we never seem to be satisfied, no matter what. We spend our lives trying to be shorter, taller, thinner, smarter, richer, or more influential. As Christians, what we fail to realize is that God designed each one of us with a specific plan and purpose in mind. He has gifted us with unique talents, abilities, and personalities. If we were all alike and trying to do the same jobs—especially in the writing and publishing industry—think of all the things that would go undone and the people we would fail to reach.

Isaiah 45:9 (NKJV) warns us, Woe to him who strives with his Maker. It’s the clay saying to the potter, “Why didn’t you make me like that other pot?”

It’s taken me a lot of years—and, believe me, I’m still working on it—to embrace the person God created me to be. I spent most of my life measuring and comparing myself to others, and all it led to was frustration, jealousy, and a feeling of hopelessness and failure. It’s the old attitude of, “If I can’t be like that person, then why bother at all?”

The truth is, dear writer, God—in all His divine wisdom and creativity—has woven together a beautiful, intricate tapestry filled with every color in the rainbow and every texture under the sun. It is so vast and complex that no single individual can bring it to life. There is room for everyone, and everyone makes up a different part. It takes all of us, working together, promoting each other, and striving toward the ultimate goal to make the picture perfect and complete.

The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you" … All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it (1 Corinthians 12:21 & 27 TLB).

 (Photos courtesy of


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