Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Success = Love

In my work with clients (and in my own journey), there is one question that churns beneath just about every other question people struggle to resolve. It is this: What is success? What is it to have a truly successful life?

Society (especially corporate marketers and the media in general) has tried to define successful living for us, and truthfully their efforts have wounded us deeply; they've wounded our ability to see life--and particularly what makes for a good one--with any clarity at all. Be wealthy, be famous, be physically attractive, possess lots of stuff, fill your life with entertainment--this is the advice for successful living we hear every day, in a thousand venues and ways, from our sales-driven world. There's something quite slippery about it all; it's ridiculously easy to fall under the spell of such enticements.

Even so, something deep within us stubbornly resists the sales pitch; it never quite drinks the Koolaid. It's the part of us that aches, longs for, and deeply craves, LOVE. To love and to be loved. To belong. To be fully known. A part of us knows that at the end of our days, love will be the only true measure of success in life. If you have love, life is good. If you don't, life is torment. And all the toys and wealth and fame and entertainment in the world can't swing your experience of love one way or the other, not by an inch.

Your heart knows this. Everyone's heart knows this. Love is wealth. Love is success. To the degree that you have love, you experience life. And to the degree that your love is well-expressed and extravagantly shared and multiplied in others, your life is an authentically successful one.

Here's your challenge for the day: Instead of measuring your wealth or success in life in terms of money or fame or possessions or fun, measure your success in terms of the amount and the quality of love present in your life.

How much love are you experiencing these days?
How much love are you giving away?

By this measure, how successful is your life?

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)


Lisa said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

Love it when I encounter others who are hearing and seeing the same thing I've been hearing and seeing. In other words - thanks for preaching my sermon!! ;-)