Successful living

Click here if you need to get caught up.

Successful living, becoming a successful human being, is a matter of pursuing meaning.  It's important that we clarify what we mean by this.  Drawing on yesterday, pursuing meaning is not a matter of chasing "good feels" in life.  It's a matter of crafting a life which supports our intention to live out of our certain way of seeing (our faith, our guiding principles). 


If we're not paying attention, we may choose directions in life that make it more difficult to live out of our certain way of seeing than others.  For instance, if you are overworked and under-compensated in a job you hate then you will undoubtedly find it more difficult to reflect God's grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love in your various spheres of influence.  Why?  Because you're living on the edge.  When we live on the edge, we're living without a safety net (in a bad way).  We have no margin for error.  Our filters that may prevent us from going completely off the rails are compromised.  We have no "immune system," so to speak. 


And so, as you think about the way in which your life is crafted, one question to consider is:  Are the various elements in my life supporting my way of seeing? 


The beauty of approaching "success" this way is that it allows a lot of flexibility in how we apply it to our lives.  The down side is, we have to be intentional...perhaps annoyingly so.


More to come tomorrow.

Success and relationality

If we dedicate our entire lives to the pursuit of ambition, apart from other considerations, we will find our existence both spirituality and emotionally empty.  Pursuing ambition is a form of pursuing pleasure, and the pursuit of pleasure alone is the lowest possible benchmark for human life.  Pleasure is good, of course, and we all need some.  If it's all we pursue, though, we'll find nothing but despair.  Use Disorders, in all their forms, are the most extreme symbol or manifestation of a life lived in pursuit of pleasure alone.  Those of us at NSC in recovery recognize what a ruinous existence that can be. 


The pursuit of pleasure alone does not create a whole, unified person.  It creates a temperamental toddler in constant need of new toys that provide stimulation.  To become a person we must find ourselves in meaningful relationships.  We must be meaningfully related to God, to ourselves, and to other people.  When we're properly related in these areas we are given the capacity to discover something to pursue in life that stimulates us, provides us joy, meaning, and purpose, while fostering intimacy in our key relationships. 


The thing is, that pursuit may not be something that makes us famous.  It may not offer wealth or prestige.  It may not "put us on the map". 


Moving towards a new vision for success

From yesterday: How do we find an alternative that does stimulate us while also fostering our growth as people in recovery and people of faith who desire to reflect God's image in our lives?  It starts with the realization that there is no one-size fits-all solution...I'm hoping this string of devotionals will inspire you to formulate your own vision of success based on your priorities.  Click here to get caught up.


Part of the reason that there is no one-size fits-all solution for defining success is that we all have different relationships to our friends, families, and communities.  Why am I bringing them into this?  Any reasonably meaningful definition of success will take a person's "hut" into account.  We tend to begin defining success discussing what we want to pursue in order to become successful.  Our desires are part of the equation, but only a part. 


What we "want" is not the only factor in formulating a vision for success and meaning in life- we need to find a way to take into account our friends, families, communities, and their needs and desires, in order for the pursuit of success to add meaning to our lives.  In other words, we must be willing to sacrifice in service to those we love.  Sacrifice helps us find success, meaning, and purpose because it connects us to the sensation that we're pursuing a common good, one higher than our own ambition.