When you think of the attributes of successful people, what do you think of? Do you think of someone who is a winner-take-all negotiator? Or someone who ruthlessly pursues what will enhance their life? Or someone who desires to win at all costs?
While those characteristics may be the world’s standards for success, God has a very different standard. God doesn’t value a kind of success where you are the only one to win. God values a kind of success where you help others win. Because when others win, you win as well.
Psalm 41:1 (ESV) says
Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him.
To be truly successful, here are three characteristics from Psalm 112:4 and Psalm 116:5 you need to develop in yourself.
God wants you to be someone who is comfortable with your own identity. You should be who you are. And more importantly, you should not be who you are not.
While it may seem obvious on the surface, that is not the norm with most people. As Henry David Thorough wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” They don’t know who they are, so they don’t know who they should be. They try to fit into molds created by other people, only to find that they don’t fit.
That is a sad way to live. In fact, that’s not really living. That’s just existing. And it doesn’t allow God to use the one life that you have to the fullest.
Life is meant to be an adventure. God wants you to trust that He knows how to fully actualize you. But that requires putting total faith in God to help you reveal who you are, and not try to fit someone else’s mold for you.
Oscar Wilde reputedly said to “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” While that may seem funny, it can be uncomfortably insightful to many. Because it requires that you must first know who you are.
If you have tried to fit into the molds that others have made for you, then here are three things you can do to step into your own identity.
When Noah started building the ark that God told him to build, it was a daunting task. Noah persevered with extraordinary dedication to accomplish a purpose that was beyond the scope of credibility.
During that time, Noah would have likely dealt with ridicule from his neighbors. People may have come from miles around to watch and laugh at the man building the big boat. Considering that it may not have rained up until this point (Genesis 2:5-6), the idea of that water covering the whole earth would seem rather absurd—especially with the caveat that Noah and his family would be the only ones saved from it.
In spite the doubts resulting from the ridicule of his neighbors, Noah built a boat that was approximately 450-500 feet long, 75-85 feet wide, and 45-50 feet tall, with only his three sons to help him (Genesis 6:10; 7:13). It is therefore not surprising that this feat could have taken him 120 years (Genesis 6:3). During that period of 120 years, that is a long time to be focused on doing the same thing.
Noah must have suffered greatly at the hands (and mouths) of the people around him. Despite the difficulties, he knew that this work was what God called him to do.
The Apostle Paul echoes this idea in his letter to the Romans. Here are five words from Paul’s letter to the Romans that will help you develop the dedication to do what God has called you to do.
Everyone says they want to be happy. People frequently quote from the Declaration of Independence about the importance of the “pursuit of happiness.” And yet most people today are not truly happy. Abraham Lincoln famously said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” While that may sound surprising, it is nonetheless true. Happiness is a choice.
You may know people that aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about. Although I’m saying that tongue-in-cheek, you know who I’m talking about. They have chosen a way of life that involves listening to negative voices and looking at the negative side of things. Their negativity is a choice.
A few years ago, an Australian palliative care nurse wrote a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. In the book, Bronnie Ware recorded the themes of regret that repeatedly surfaced in the final days of dying people. And one of the top five: “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” Ware goes on to say: “They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives.”
People can listen to the wrong voices in their life. As a result, they think that’s how they need to live their lives. But those voices do not bring happiness. Instead they bring misery.
If you want to be happy, then you have to decide that you will not listen to negativity. If you truly want happiness in your life, then you need to stop listening to these three voices.
It’s no fun to have to lead in turbulent times. But if you haven’t had to do it yet, most likely you will have to do it at some point in your life. It may happen to you in your workplace where you have to navigate disruption in your company from outside—or inside—forces. It may happen to you at home if you have to deal with family transition or disintegration. No matter where you encounter it, it will likely not be fun. But it will make you reach deep within to lean on leadership abilities that you didn’t know you had.
In 1 Samuel 30, David had to reach deep within to lead in turbulent times. David and his crew came back to his home base at Ziklag, only to find that the Amalekites burned the city with fire, stole their goods, and took all their families captive. David’s men were inconsolable, and David was greatly concerned when his men talked about stoning him (1 Samuel 30:1-6a).
While you may never have to face something as dire as David did, you will likely think that you are—at least at the time. As a result, it is worth your while to know how to lead yourself and others in turbulent times. Here are three keys to remember when you are going through trials of your leadership abilities.
You probably have heard or seen (or experienced) when legal contracts don’t go as expected. It seems like one party is always letting another party down in the promises they make. Perhaps you have been let down by someone else in a contract—or in a promise.
Unlike human contracts, God’s promises aren’t violated. God’s promises are always kept. But He requires our active participation in fulfilling His promises.
In Psalm 37, David lists five promises from God. God says that He will do something—if you do something first. Here’s what God asks of you, and what you can expect in return.
Many people want to move forward, but they are worried about making the next step. They are concerned that they will make a mistake. Or look foolish. Or both. But the only way to move forward is to be willing to walk out in faith and take that next step.
In professional life, there is always the chasm between where you are and where you want to go. And there is so much uncertainty between the start and the finish. But the only way you can get to where you want to go is to risk making a mistake. Or looking foolish. Or both.
Here is the process to implement if you are to embrace uncertainty and become comfortable with taking the next step.
There have been times I have allowed work to get me down. I can remember many times when I just didn’t want to have to go to work because of what I had to deal with at the office. When the trials from work weighed heavy upon me, those were the times that I needed to take charge of my attitude—but those were also the hardest times to take charge of my attitude.
Chuck Swindoll, the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, and the voice for the Insight for Living broadcast, said this about attitude: “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
What’s your attitude like at work? Are you going through trials at work? Here are three things to keep in mind to help you take charge of your attitude.
Why do people want to follow visionaries? Because they can see what has not come to pass as if it already has. They are able to see how they want the world to be before it is that way. They are able to see the Not Yet as if it were the Now.
God called David to be king when he was just a shepherd boy. But it took several years before he actually assumed the throne of Judah. And then he had to wait another seven years before he became king of all Israel.
There were times that David stopped believing that he would be king one day—even though God had said it would happen one day. Circumstances made him believe that what God said would never happen.
If you have a God-sized vision in you, then you can learn from what David did right and what David did wrong when he was pursuing the Not Yet in the Now.
The Scripture says that you should cultivate joy every day as a result of your relationship with God. But what does that look like? And why is it so important?
To rejoice means to be cheerful or calmly happy, according to Strong’s Concordance, particularly in reference to your relationship with God. It means always having a peaceful delight in your soul. It doesn’t necessarily mean jumping up and down over something. Instead, it’s about having peaceful delight—in the midst of whatever is happening to you at the moment.
Having that perspective is not easy to do—and it’s impossible if you’re trying to do it without God. But it is nonetheless important to cultivate that perspective all the time.
Here are three reasons you need to have joy in your everyday life.