Although the title of this post may sound simple or obvious, this statement has been a profound revelation to me over the past few months. I've found it's natural to adhere to our own definition of success. Even if we don't admit it, we each have a subconscious idea of what doing a good job looks like. It's hard not to. Oftentimes these definitions of success can surface in the form of expectations. Ahh the E word. How many times have we been advised to release or let go of our own expectations? Too often to count probably. Then how do we truly live without them?
I may not have a solution to this problem, but I did have a revelation that changed my perspective and definition of success. A few months ago I found myself frustrated after almost every conversation, discipleship meeting or lifegroup. I couldn't quite put my finger on it but I knew things weren't going as I had originally planned. Red flag number one: frustration. I knew there was some expectation I had that wasn't being met, but I couldn't figure out how to get passed it. This went on for a few weeks and eventually the frustration turned to disappointment in my heart. Red flag number two: disappointment.
It wasn't until a powerful encounter with God over spring break that I realized my perspective was off. I started thinking about why I was so frustrated and disappointed and it donned on me that no one else around me was feeling the same. None of my co-leaders or friends were feeling this way. So I went before God and asked Him to search my heart. I found that I had expectations for how each conversation, discipleship meeting and lifegroup was supposed to go. And when it didn't go as planned, I felt it wasn't a win; or a failure. Welp, that's red flag number three: sense of failure. Sounds like some of my identity had been wrapped up in the 'success' of the things I was investing my life in. But one word from God dismissed all three red flags. I felt like He said "Tori, obedience itself is a win." This simple word broke me before Jesus as I repented for wrapping my identity into what I planned to be success. I began to unpack the disappointment, frustration and sense of failure and rest in the reality that every time I obey God, it's a win. That's a success! Obeying God is the end goal! Not a certain outcome.
Now when expectations surface, I can confidently go back to the truth that obeying God is a win. I can let go of each expectation that surfaces and choose to be secure in obedience and in the fact that I'm loved and accepted by God even when I don't obey. Rather than trying to simply release the expectation and move on, it's more productive to go to the root of where it actually came from.