Recently, the “Do good for yourself” video clip of Victoria Osteen went viral. I clicked on the video to watch it because I love Bill Cosby. When it started playing, I started to get really uncomfortable because my kids were watching it with me and I didn’t like what she was saying. I was really confused and shared it on my Facebook timeline to try to shed some light to a culture that I was clearly in the dark about.
After reading this article about The Osteen’s theology, I realized that…GASP… I used to believe in this. I quit my career because “I wasn’t happy” and was given trusted advice to follow that. (I still to this day do not regret that decision because I believe my growth journey is mine – the good, the bad, and the ugly – plus, it allowed me to raise my children.) I started a small business and had Christian mentors and coaches that also taught this. I believed it because it felt good and helped me reconcile my dreams and desires and the motivation to go after them. I didn’t know it was false teaching (shamefully, at the time I probably didn’t care if it was false teaching because I didn’t understand the ramifications in my lukewarmness).
I attended church (grew up in it as a matter of fact), but had a hard time calling myself a Christian because I didn’t think I deserved it because apparently I was really bad at it. Pour into the lives of others and it will come back to you tenfold, right? Well, then I didn’t understand why I still had struggles (and they kept piling on no matter how much good I was doing for others). I was trying to bask in the glory of being in His favor, but I had a hard time staying positive and upbeat. If I was made for greatness and abundance, then where is my cut? Where was my break? Everything drained me because I wasn’t seeing a return. My self-esteem was at an all time low. I didn’t reach out to anyone, because I figured that everyone else was on their own journey and didn’t have time to notice me drowning in my sorrows – because I deserved it, right? It was because of my “lack of faith,” right? And I was embarrassed by my failure to get myself out of this rut. The worst part was that all of this inner turmoil was my biggest and deadliest secret.
But my thinking, and therefore my circumstances, began to change about 5 years ago. In 2009, a girlfriend of mine invited me to a bible study. I was shocked when I got there because we were actually studying THE BIBLE. Like, started in Genesis. Read verse 1 the talked about verse 1. Read verse 2 then talked about verse 2. And so on. This was completely new to me. I mean I’d been to “bible studies” before, but we were usually covering a book with a study guide. You know, discussing people’s opinions about someone’s interpretation of the Bible. Absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. It just really highlighted the fact that I had never STUDIED THE BIBLE. I had only been a part of these “Book Club” type studies, and if I didn’t like the book we were studying, I usually just stopped reading and would come to socialize and then zone out during discussions because “it didn’t really apply to me.” (haha, THIS is what my friend had to work with!)
Unfortunately, I didn’t stick with that bible study because, well, it was Genesis, and “it didn’t really apply to me.” The next year, my dear friend did not give up on me (THANK GOD FOR HER). She invited me to another bible study, but it was of the Video/Study guide variety which is more my learning style. It was amazing. and hard. and eye-opening. and hard. and affirming. And it.was.HARD. I didn’t stick with this bible study group either (WHAT is she going to DO with me???) because it was just that HARD. It was difficult to process everything that I was learning about the Bible and reconciling (and/or debunking) what I thought I already believed in life. I did finish it eventually, at my own pace. It took me a year to complete the 10-week study.
That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship, not just with Christ but a community and lots of Bible studying. It wasn’t overnight. In fact, I’m still in processing. I mess up, and start stressing over my health, wealth, and prosperity. But I learned that nothing in this world makes sense without Christ. There is a real peace in that. When I started to see the world through the context of the Bible (the whole Bible and the story it tells), I started redefining my idea of prosperity. To prosper is to love. The more you love, the richer you are. The reward is still happiness.
“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” Luke 6:35
“That isn’t to say we should stop collecting data, framing it in hypothesis, and testing those hypotheses. The scientific method is still an awesome machine…if we understand its limits.”
So why this quote? Well it is two-fold. I understand that some bloggers are having difficulties commenting on my posts and I have a hypothesis of why that is. So I want to collect data to test that to verify if I can accept or reject that hypothesis. So if you are having difficulties commenting, please send me a note with your website address. If you CAN comment, please leave a comment to
prove inform me that you can. My statistics degree and inner-nerd are becoming useful.
Secondly, if you get a chance to read Dr. Pang’s post and the subsequent comments (one of which is mine), the topic is about “imperfect knowledge” and Pquincy and I are basically speaking about the same thing, which I call faith.
That is what success is all about! Faith!
Yes there is drive, there is effort, there is knowledge, there is common sense, there are resources, communication, opportunity, status, position…there are a lot of things that can play a role in the success (or failure) of reaching a goal, but nothing allows us to reach as high as our potential without faith. Faith allows us to set a goal where the evidence to reach that goal is not present.Faith allows us to set a goal where the evidence to reach that goal is not present. I always teach the ladies I have the privilege to influence (oh yeah and my kids too) that if God puts a dream in your heart, then he also equips you to reach it. I think many people quit just before they break ground** I think of the story about the mustard seed. You know the biggest struggle for any seed is to break ground (especially if it was buried by a squirrel!). That is what determines if it grows or if it dies, succeeds or fails. Think about those that just fall on the ground for whatever reason. They have to really root themselves! “Bloom where you are planted” is one of the mantras I’ve been taught. and never see the reward of their efforts and struggles. That makes me so sad. They didn’t pass the test. The schools don’t give you a diploma if you don’t pass the tests. Why should we get it if we quit before Commencement? After all commencement does mean ‘beginning.’ So many people quit before they’ve even gotten started.
I’m not preaching here because I know that I’ve been guilty of it myself in so many different arenas. Now that I’ve been able to see successes in my life that I have worked for (as opposed to being handed and place on my lap for me), I realize the power God has given me. How hurt he must be that I went without faith for so long and living beneath my potential.
So if I may interpret this quote out of context of Pquincy’s comment: It is good to analyze situations – what you did to “win” and what you could do better or not at all. It will help you to gain additional knowledge and could possibly improve the outcome. However, over-analyzing can be a waste of time (believe me, I also have a C-personality). Some things are just better left to Him. Let go, and Let God.
Find out How to Post your own Success Sunday!