Earlier this week, I wrote a list of confessions I called, “10 Confessions of a Super Mom.” I wrote it in response to a few comments I’ve received lately, as well as all the comments I get in passing from random strangers (“I could never do that!”). Because the truth is, no one is Super Mom, and at the same time, we all are. We are all doing the best we can with the support, knowledge, and well-being we have at that time. But that post got me thinking. How do we measure our success? Do we measure ourselves by someone else’s measure? Is it an arbitrary measure based on our feelings that day? I think we can all agree that there are days that we really struggle with our own measure of success and feelings of failure.
So I wanted to write down a few thoughts I’ve had recently about measuring success. Here’s the thing – my measure of success is not the same as yours! Isn’t that a freeing thought? Your success is going to look totally different than mine. We will likely have some things in common, but certainly not everything. And that is OKAY. That’s the way it’s supposed to be! God made us individuals – not made from a cookie-cutter mold!
I would like to propose that there we should measure our success by 3 things: our priorities, our goals, and our passions.
We all have priorities. Some of them may be well-thought-through, maybe some of them not so much. I would strongly suggest that you take some time (with your spouse if you’re married) to figure out your true priorities and write them down. You will have family priorities and individual priorities.
Here are mine:
1. Cultivating a heart that seeks God and finding my rest in Him.
2. Honoring my husband and passionate loving him.
3. Being an example of godliness for my children, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit.
4. Cultivating deep, intimate friendships with my children.
5. Creating a home of peace where hospitality is practiced regularly and freely.
Taking our priorities to a more practical level is done by making goals. We should have a variety of goals that cover our priorities – short-term and long-term. Again, this is a great thing to take some time to pray about (with your spouse if possible) and write down. It’s also very important to re-evaluate these regularly and make adjustments as much as you feel you need to. And also? It’s totally okay to let go of your goals if you decide that they no longer fit in your priorities! There is so much freedom in letting go of a goal, especially because we can often hold guilt over these.
This is another important area of life that I feel sometimes gets overlooked! We focus so much on the “big stuff” – like our relationship with God and our family. And there’s nothing wrong with that, those things are most important. But many of our passions have been given to us by God and they are a big part of what makes each of us unique! If you don’t realize that and understand that there is much life to be had in enjoying what you’re passionate about, you’re going to end up living a very unfulfilled life.
Now, maybe this should go without saying, but I’m talking about healthy passions here, not harmful or sinful ones. They should be things that complement your priorities, not pull away from them. Things like knitting, cooking gourmet, running, crafting, writing, gardening, etc. are what I’m thinking of. These are ways that we renew ourselves, refresh our souls, find beauty in the everyday. And as such they are important also.
When I am pondering how I’ve been doing recently as a mother, wife, and individual, this is where I go. I go to my priorities, goals, and passions. Am I living my priorities? Am I working toward my goals? Am I enjoying my passions? When I can see myself doing these things, I know that no matter what my emotions that day tell me, I am successful.
On the flip side, when I’m not feeling good about my life and I can’t seem to pin down why, this is also a great place to start! By looking at these 3 areas, I can usually figure out what is being neglected and can either adjust it accordingly (let it go and release the guilt!) or make a game plan for making it better.
In addition, this is a great filter for deciding whether something belongs in your life. Whether you’re thinking about spending money, time, or resources on something, you can compare it to your priorities, goals, and passions to decide if it’s worth the expense. As you make a habit of doing this, you will find that your life is where you want it to be, because even when things don’t go the way you’d like, you know what’s important to you and you are making those things your focus.