What does a successful life look like to you? I’m going to have you do a quick exercise, but here are some questions to ask yourself prior to starting: Is success a place or an object? Objects are okay to want, but if you base your success on these kinds of things there can be problems. The saying goes, “The end justifies the means”, and what are you willing to do to get the stuff you want? As Christians, our dreams should be about things that will take a faithful life to achieve. Do you want things that could hamper or kill your growth? This is a second problem with having objects in our dreams. Once you achieve the object, what’s the point of perseverance, hard work, or dedication to the team? Your goal should be a championship, not a scoring title. In 60 seconds write down all the things you can about your dreams for your life.
I listed mine in order:
-A life with God.
I don’t want to know about God, I want to KNOW God. Jesus didn’t die for us to achieve a ticket into Heaven. He died so we could have a relationship with the Creator. We were reconciled back into a relationship like what Adam and Eve experienced. They walked and talked with the Almighty. Heaven is a byproduct of our relationship with God, it’s not the goal. If heaven is the goal, how terrible will eternity be? You've reached the goal, now you have to stay stagnant for ETERNITY. Relationship with God is the goal. Revelation 3 tells us that he reveals a new side to himself every day in heaven and the angels cry out Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come. That's what should drive us, not a fear of an eternity spent in hell.
-A life with my family.
I want my wife to love me more when we’re 100 and wrinkled then she did the day we got married. I want to fill my kids’ minds with so many positive memories that they would have trouble picking which ones would make their top 1000. I want my family to know that they come before any other human being on this planet
-A life worth living (making an impact with and on people).
I want to live life with people. I want to know that my life meant something. If your goals are to retire on some island away from everyone else, you’re missing out. When you invest in people you always get your money’s worth. The return on investment is always worth the risk. I’ve found that when you challenge and empower people, they become something truly special, the greatest version of themselves. John Maxwell always says, “If you help people accomplish their dreams, they’ll help you accomplish yours.”
-A life where I’m challenged spiritually and personally.
I’m an athlete, and I love to push. I love to push the boundaries of my body and my prayer life. I want people to remember me for walking the walk. You can’t challenge others to be great without pushing yourself to the limits too.
Our needs can be boiled down to these things: Intimacy with God, feeling loved by someone who knows everything about us, belonging to a group, finding your purpose in life, and being significant in this world. As a young adult, these years of our life are our foundational years. Now is when we determine whether or not we'll achieve these things or the extent to which we achieve them. One of the most common questions I get as a young adults Pastor is, “How do I get where I want to go?” “How do I know it’s where God wants me to go?” I always respond to these questions by asking them, who is influencing you? Rick Burke always used to say this to us in 180, “If God wants to do something in your life, He’ll put a person in your life. If the devil wants to do something in your life, he’ll put a person in your life.” Psalms 32:8 (NLT)-The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Are you seeking God for the answer to these questions? Is he the #1 influencer of your life? Psalms 37:23-24 (NLT)-The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
The next question I always have for young adults is this: who are your friends and who are your mentors? Proverbs 27 tells us so clearly that our friends are what sharpen us. 1 Peter 5 gives us a biblical process for mentorship. If you want to get somewhere, you’ve got to find someone who can guide you along the way. In our relative world people will say, find your journey, make your mistakes, and learn what works for you. I say, get a road map from others, learn from their mistakes so you don’t have to have their pain, and apply it to your life in any way possible. I can spend $20 really easily. I can either spend it on a steak that will taste great and be gone in an hour, or I can spend it on a book that tells me all a person’s secrets to their personal success and failures. Your mentors give you a lasting picture of what success looks like for you. Your friends determine if you get there or not. They’re the ones who are either pushing you up the hill or dragging you down it. If you’re the only one in your circle of friends that has any potential, EXPAND YOUR CIRCLE. Find people who want to be great. Be the least successful person in your circle, because nothing motivates like competition.
Get a picture of success in your life. Don’t let anyone rob you of your dreams. Allow God to determine the direction of your life, and remember to do His job, the potter has to apply pressure for the pot to go from formless clay into His masterpiece. Be blessed, change the world, and express the love of the Father to everyone you meet.