Relax by Changing Your Definition of Success

Your life is fast. And busy. And stressful.

Need a breather?

Head on over to Tom Basson’s blog today, where I had the privilege of guest-posting and sharing 16 ways you can take a few minutes to slow down and relax. (Thanks to Tom for the opportunity!)

I think there’s one important key which really forms the backbone of relaxing in our hectic lives: it’s not about how busy you are, it’s about how busy you feel.

Ironically, the best way to feel relaxed is to remind yourself that you’re only human. There’s only so much you can do. But here’s the great part: there’s only so much you’re expected to do.

Lesson from a Mission Trip

I accompanied an experienced evangelist on a foreign missions trip. He was on fire, sharing the gospel with nearly everyone that crossed his path. I was inspired by his boldness and his love for the lost.

But the biggest lesson I learned from him was his definition of success.

Success is being faithful. Success is being obedient.

We’re not judged by God based on the results of our efforts. We’re judged based on our faithfulness.

If we shared the gospel to the best of our ability, we could walk away with our heads held high regardless of what happened. If the Holy Spirit chose to move and convert souls, then we were successful. If people sneered and insulted us, then we were still successful.

Back to the “Real World”

But this idea isn’t just for the mission field. It’s for all we do every day.

If I’ve done the best I can as a businessperson, then I can relax and leave the rest up to God.

If I’ve done the best I can as a father, as a husband, as a teacher, as a leader, as a follower of Christ, then I can relax and leave the rest up to God.

The same goes for managing my schedule, balancing my checkbook, cleaning my house, and knocking items off my to-do list.

Just Human

We generally don’t like to admit our shortcomings – but here, it’s a liberating thing to do.

A great deal of our stress is caused when we want to take on superhuman responsibility with our only-human ability.

In A Praying Life, Paul E. Miller puts it well:

Anxiety wants to be God but lacks God’s wisdom, power, or knowledge. A godlike stance without godlike character and ability is pure tension.

Whose Expectations?

God knows and understands that you can’t do everything. After all, he’s the one that made you.

He’s not a harsh taskmaster driving you forward with a whip.

You’re the one with the whip.

God beckons us to rest in him, but we keep taking on more and more and more.

Perhaps because we define ourselves by our accomplishments. Maybe we want to selfishly bring glory to ourselves instead of God. Or maybe we’re trying to earn God’s love and approval instead of realizing we already have that through Christ.

Defining success as obedience frees us from worry over results. No more sleepless nights mulling over things we can’t change. No more dreary days trying to force square pegs into round holes.


When your plate is full and your pace seems hectic, take a step back. Just be faithful. Just be obedient.

Rather than trying to act like we can do everything, trust the God who actually can do everything.

Do you need to change your definition of success?

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