Monday, August 18, 2014

The Illusion of Success

Most of us look at successful people and think "Ah, surely these are people who have it altogether."   They are smart, hard working, talented, beautiful, wealthy, whatever their gifts are... Whether they are a famous movie star, CEO of a company, sports figure or an author like me, most people believe that with success comes some sort of  uniqueness or power. I'm always amazed when I meet people who know me only by my writing. They often tell me that they were intimidated to meet me, that they thought I must be some kind of spiritual giant  because of my blog posts and the strong Biblical themes in my books.  It makes me laugh.  Truth is, I'm just as messed up and inadequate as anyone else.

God doles out talent to everyone. Whether we choose to use what He has given us is up to us. In fact, I have come to believe that God tends to use the most messed up people to do His most important tasks. There is example after example all through the Bible. 

Moses stuttered and didn't want to lead God's people out of Egypt
Gideon was the least of all the men in his tribe and from the least tribe in Israel yet God used him to defeat an army.
Ruth was an impoverished foreigner 
David was the family runt.
Do I need to go through Jesus's disciples? Talk about a bunch of weak, power-hungry, doubters.
The Apostle Paul murdered Christians for a living

You may be surprised to discover that I NEVER feel confident when I'm writing my books. I always feel inadequate. I always wonder what the heck am I doing? How can I write a novel and expect people to buy it and enjoy it?  Who do I think I am?  So often I still feel like that shy, insecure little girl who grew up without a Father's love and who all her life wondered if she was worth anything. I'm being completely honest with you. I feel that way most of the time!

But here's the thing. God always steps in when we come to the end of ourselves. In fact, He loves to do that. He loves for us to come to Him and say., "Father, I'm out of my league. You've asked me to do this thing and I'm terrified. I don't know what I"m doing. I don't have the talent, the money, the skill to do it."  God loves that. Why? Because He can show up HUGE and in the process of our leaning on Him, not only is the task accomplished far better than if we had done it alone, but our relationship with Him grows to greater depths than we could have imagined.  

Which brings me to 2 points.

If you're feeling inadequate. If you feel insecure, terrified, like you're out of the boat in a storm. If you feel like you just can't do what God is asking you to do. GREAT!  You're in the perfect place for a miracle!  Just lean on Him

Success without God is empty.  Atheists can still use their God-given talents and achieve great success in this life. But the end result is nothing but emptiness and pain, because once you reach the top, where else is there to go? What else is there to do? What happens when you get sick or get old? What does your success do for you then?

So many of those we idolize as important successful people are living tragic lives of depression, anxiety, divorce, substance abuse, and intense insecurities. If only they knew that they could bring all their inadequacies to God and allow Him to give them purpose, life, love, and hope.



  1. Aww, MaryLu, loved this post - thank you for your transparency!!

    I so relate to your "little girl" feelings of insecurity and not feeling loved - through those feelings, we can be drawn even closer to God and know the all-encompassing love of THE most important Father.

    Many of the most successful people are the most miserable - success is only a word without God in one's life, not a door to happiness. I so agree about God using some of the most messed up people to do His most important tasks - they are often the most effective as they more readily realize their imperfections and unworthiness, their need for God's love and direction in their lives, His sacrifice for all man-kind, the importance of reaching others for Him, the joy of His blessings, and the significance of praise and worship.

    I've found Christian fiction authors, in general, to be humble people and servants of God who seek to draw others closer to Him. I'm so thankful that God endowed them, imperfections and all, with a gift of writing to inspire and reach others for Him-
    and also thankful that they heeded His call and are guided by Him.

    Thank you, MaryLu, for using your gift to reach and inspire others!!

    Prayers, hugs, and love!!

    Post Shared!!

  2. Monday 18th,
    "Morning, MaryLu ... and Bonnie too."
    Another excellent post this morning, MaryLu !!! You nailed everything on-the-head. I read something on a Church sign on their front lot ... "God without man, is still God. Man without God, is nothing." How true that is ! Successful people who don't know or have the Lord in their life -- it must all be so empty. Just look at movie-stars and the dramas and tragedies in their personal lives ... even though on the 'outward appearance', they 'look' so successful and 'all-together'.
    Their lives are totally open to the public ... we see and hear it all -- all of their failures, setbacks, upsets, and tragedies. (And just recently -- Robin Williams.)
    Life is futile and emptiness, without our Lord and Saviour !!! There is no purpose, no meaning to it ... without Him.
    Thank-you for all that you shared, MaryLu. Another timely word in due season !!!
    And thank-you Bonnie, for what you shared as well.
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing. Hugs my friend. :-)

  4. Oh yes--I agree with all my heart! The things God chooses for us to do are never what we feel we are most competent at. But He knows exactly what He's doing! If we are filled up with ourselves--pride in our abilities, knowledge, talent--there isn't much room for Him. Then we often default to feeling like we are "doing God a favor." But when we are scared, weak, desperate, and empty, He can pour ALL of Himself in and through us. He can then do much more than we ever could on our own, plus we give Him all of the glory.

    This goes against everything the world teaches us: we are supposed to strive to be the best WE can be, get the best/most WE can get, step on others to get on top, etc. As you said, it only leads to an empty, dead end.

    We have to consciously (well, at least *I* do!) continue to open up my deepest, most wounded areas and say, "God, I'm insecure, I'm afraid of rejection and ridicule, I'm scared others will see me as I really am and look down on me, I'm flawed in so many ways--please fill me with Your healing, Your power, Your anointing, and do whatever You want with me." Whenever I remember to do that, He surprises me in what He can do using me, leaving me speechless with amazement. This is an area I'm vulnerable in and working on every day.

    Thank you again, MaryLu, for the perfectly-expressed reminder. You truly are beautiful and strong, filled with the Spirit of God, and greatly loved! <3


  5. Thanks Ladies so much. I see many of you feel like I do.. inadequate and weak. In fact I would bet most people feel that way if they are willing to admit it. Most aren't willing... Thanks for allowing me to open up a bit with you and for opening up in return. It helps others to see they are not alone. It's a tough journey we are on.. but a great one! Im having to rely on God so much lately.. like I never have before. I'm always amazed at the things he does! Hugs!

  6. This is me! Has been for a long time. It is when I am weak that He proves His strength. I'm in awe of authors because you write what is in your mind and heart...then put it all out there for the world to read. To me, that is terrifying. May a God bless and use you as only He can!

    1. It's terrifying to me too! LOL. I used to tremble when I went to look at my reviews. Now, I try to not look at them at all. Thanks for your blessing! Back at you...