In Matthew 7: 3 – 5 Jesus warns us not to be quick in judging others. He tells us to remove the log in our eye before we can remove the speck in another’s eye. He’s quite gutted in verse five – “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”. The moral here is that we should be careful to judge others because we are often blind to our faults and shortcomings but hawkeyed to notice the weaknesses in others. Remember when you point at someone, your other four fingers are pointing at you.
That perspective has a flip side though. We can be blind to our progress because we are fixated on certain indicators of success that seem to elude us. We often minimize the log of potential and good in us into a speck and amplify the speck in others and see it as a log that intimidates us. We must see things realistically. Let’s not magnify our shortcomings nor downplay our strengths.
Last week I had a catch-up session with our Halftime Africa director, Mathilda. I shared how I feel like I’m stuck in halftime because there seems to be very little to show for my efforts over the last few years. She suggested rather authoritatively that I’m past halftime and already in my calling. That I’m already living out my mission statement – using my speaking and influence to positively impact people’s lives and communities. That’s the kind of public service that I want to characterize my life going forward. That I’m already busy growing my second half was quite the shift in perspective.
I realized that we can focus on one indicator of success and miss out on others that are already manifesting. I have been narrow-minded by focusing on money as the main indicator that my season in halftime is over. Yet there is the foundation that is critical for long-term success and significance. We cannot bypass that neither can we fast forward it. Remember we are preparing to have an enduring impact and that cannot be rushed. Just like those huge holes I see being dug in my neighbourhood when an apartment block is about to come up, it’s the same way with meaningful and impactful success. You don’t see it when the building is up yet it’s the foundation underground that is holding everything up.
That’s what Mathilda helped me realize. I have been busy in my calling, setting up Halftime Africa and growing my coaching as I seek more board opportunities too. None of these activities has earned me a lot of money yet and that’s the mistake I have been making. Thinking that the learnings of this season are taking too long and that we should move on to some big action. Our impatience in moments of inner growth can shortchange our long-term success. We might get the success we crave prematurely and it will destroy us. We have to iva vizuri.
Mother Teresa showed us that we are successful when we are obedient. She was asked what success looks like to her and her response was epic. “God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful.” To Mother Teresa success was not her goal nor her motivation. She did not give it much thought. We each have to define how success looks like at a personal level. If we are faithful then success should take care of itself.
Getting into a new season is like starting a business. I seem to have forgotten that this season of my life is no exception. There are no shortcuts to living and leaving a legacy. I have to put in the time and effort. And a lot of that effort is internal. It’s of course human nature to feel discouraged but don’t give up folks. You might be closer than you think to your desired goal. Maybe like me you already are in your purpose, you just are not aware of it. Perhaps we should view our daily responsibilities as our purpose and embrace them. That might help us view success as current and hopefully motivate us to build it up as we go along.
From that call with Mathilda, I could define obedience as success in the dark. When no one is watching. It is important though that the right people see what we are doing at the right time. May we be found in the grind when the lights come on. That will confirm that we are legit and it’s not performance but purpose at play.