I’d like to think I’ve come full circle over the years in my definition of “success”. As a mom, a wife, a Christian, and as a musician and songwriter, I always sense that yearning to be better, to do more, to go deeper, to impact more people. A friend and colleague of mine, Eric Copeland (http://www.creativesoulonline.com/ ) sends out an excellent newsletter (which sparked my response here) and gave me permission to reprint excerpts of it [near the bottom]. Here’s to your true success!
Eric— once again, THANKS! God’s been confirming that to me in many ways lately, and I genuinely appreciate His timeliness and your honest and bold transparency in sharing this truth! I’ve received 3 messages over the last two weeks (on Facebook, lol) from former music students of mine (before I resigned from full-time music teaching), kids now ages 12-13. Each of them said things along the lines of, “Oh, Miss Wright, we miss you SO much! Do you remember me? You were my music teacher for (varying years). Your MUSIC and bold testimony are the reason I’m serving God today!”
These came unsolicited, from kids that weren’t even “friends” on Facebook yet– they just found me and wrote to me– all in a 2-week span. I was blown away.
For over 2 1/2 yrs (after my little sister drowned in 2004), I kept praying for God to get me OUT of that job, let me be home with my kids more (my sister had left behind 5 kids ages 2-13), and of course have the time for the occasional travel involved with my music ministry, recording, etc. I didn’t understand why God kept me there for so much longer, then suddenly prompted me in the middle of the year that it was time to leave, miraculously providing the appropriate (and highly qualified and very eager) replacement for my position– which was unheard of. (And, my superintendent said they’d only let me out of my contract if this happened. I prayed SO hard! The answer was revealed in less than 24 hours!) God creatively and within 24 hours also provided another means of income (doing something I love– teaching private piano & voice lessons) so we wouldn’t have to live on the street, either! (I wonder if I could feel successful living in a box… if God told me to, I suppose so!)
Another significant matter had been taken care of in the semester before I left that job, which helped me understand why I had to be there that long– to “fight that battle” and win it… for the students, for the future of music education, without wiping out all history of religious thought in music (like Bach, Mozart, Handel, etc.) Anyway, I didn’t know that would happen in the 2 1/2 yrs. before it happened… but God did. I had to be there… it was my assignment, and my privilege, to be His instrument of truth, to set the right precedent– “for such a time as this”.
I completely agree with your assessment of “success”, Eric. Being able to do what you love during the day, and still sleep at night. If I may elaborate, it also means being able to bless and serve other people with joy in that “job assignment” that you love–or even sometimes which you don’t love. But being obedient in using your skills and talents, and spreading the LOVE of God within you to everyone around you– even if you don’t want to be there.
I think often of Joseph in prison for crimes he didn’t commit, but he remained a BLESSING (and trusted in God- even through much anguish) while he was in that “less than desirable circumstance”. God rewarded him eventually, and set him in a place of honor, ruling over all of Egypt. Just to bless Joseph? NO, of course not. To be a further blessing, to help more people, and even to save his own (long-lost) family! WOW!
I’m sure Joseph questioned how “successful” he was, behind bars, torn from his family, a stranger in a foreign land– many times. But I’m assuming he learned that TRUE SUCCESS– is being in the CENTER of God’s will for your life.
‘Nuff said. Matthew 6:33 is one of my favorite scriptures, and has weighed heavily on my heart lately: “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these (other) things will be added unto (supplied for) you.”
GO AND BE SUCCESSFUL!!! Love, Becky http://www.beckywrightsongs.com/
EXCERPTS FROM The Creative Soul Newsletter, Eric Copeland www.CreativeSoulOnline.com (Reprinted by permission.)
That inspired me as we all are trying to understand what God has for us in the way of success in our art.
I think it would surprise us all that we are already pretty successful.
I don’t think success is having “made it”. Look at the richest people ever. When did they make it? One million? Ten million? You don’t think each one of those million brought it’s own share of problems?
Success in music, as I have found it, is just about consistent, good work. [Becky adds: This would be true in any line of work, rearing children, home-making, mechanics, teachers, missionaries, etc.]
“I was made to work. If you are equally industrious, you will be equally successful.” – Johann Sebastian Bach
So, the chasing of ‘success’ is actually kind of ludicrous isn’t it? Because it comes as a result of our good WORK.
I think a more [accurate] idea would be to love what we DO. And then just – DO.
Ministry is not a popularity contest, and jockeying for position is wrong among Christ’s followers. Jesus is the head of the church, and He is to have first place in everything. When you and I die to our need to be noticed, we’ll fulfill an even greater need: the need for significance in God’s eyes. Exchange self-importance for a life of true significance.”
Maybe sometimes we do put success in our own mind ahead of success for the Lord. It’s a natural human condition.
But I think if you take a good look, you’re already pretty successful just doing what you do.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” – (Psalm 1:1-3)