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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Guest Post: Dana Pratola


God's Version of Success
He found it both perverse and interesting that the children of parents with impossible expectations were often indistinguishable from those whose parents had no expectations at all. (The Covering)
We’ve all told our children, “You can be anything you want to be.” I know I have. Sounds positive. Right? We’ve certainly meant it that way. But broadening opportunities for some, simply based on their financial status (whether it be high or low) or ethnicity, and trophies for all participants whether they come in first or last, have introduced a definite problem among today’s youth. “Expectation of success.”
The emphasis on education is so strong that kids—and that’s what they are—dive into debt with college loans, when the odds of them finding employment in their chosen field, are narrowing by the day. If they’re following their passions I say, go for it, more power to them. But more often than not, they are following a path laid out for them by parents or society.
The drive to succeed becomes habit, and the expectation of success, a devastating blow for those who miss the mark. They can often end up as unproductive—at least in their own eyes—as those who were never encouraged and pushed.
Having a job that pays the bills and allows a little left over is now depressing because it’s not THE job, that gives them 4 weeks paid vacation and a summer home. And because of unrealistic expectations, many would rather not try at all, or choose other avenues to attain their version of success, from gambling to get rich quick schemes.
Let me say here, I am not endorsing living a life of mediocrity. As Christians, we should all strive for excellence. However, when the striving becomes our primary function, and perfection our single goal, there’s a problem. It’s far too easy to lock our focus on the unattainable and miss everything in between.
I hear this frustration every day when people say, “Why pray for that? It’s not going to change anything,” or “I’m one person. My $10 isn’t going to matter.” It’s that all or nothing mentality issued by the world (the devil), designed to make people give up if they don’t see dramatic results right away. But this isn’t how the Kingdom of God works.
Just as Jesus came to earth as a baby, starting small and working His way up, as it were, so do our ministries, our outreaches, even our prayers. Some of us know this frustration, and when we find ourselves there, it helps to be reminded that God’s version of success looks nothing like what we’ve been taught. Not only is success God’s idea to begin with, but He knows what we need to attain it, and what it should look like.
Philippians 1:6: … who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (NLT)
I believe that ultimately, success is fulfilled destiny, which varies greatly from person to person. Entering into heaven, God is not going to say, “well done, top-selling regional sales manager,” but rather, He’s going to identify us by what we’ve done for Him, even if we never see first-hand, the impact we’ve had on someone’s life. He sees the mark we are to hit, that is the success we should strive for. So rest, knowing that He is continuing the work in us. And with that in mind, I wish you all Much Success,

About THE COVERING:
What do a woman of faith and a heathen biker have in common? The devil, of course. Tessa is moved to intercede for a man she's never met. When they do meet, she's stunned. Gunnar is gorgeous, charismatic, and driven. He's also hostile, self-destructive, and an unbeliever... and she's drawn to him like no other. The temptation she feels is as dangerous as it is alluring. She wants to stay away, but God has other plans. He reveals the devil's intent to destroy Gunnar, and commissions Tessa to keep him covered in prayer. Can she rely on God to keep her from falling... in love, and into temptation? Or will the devil claim them both?

Purchase THE COVERING

About the Author:
God gave me a passion to write Christian Romance. These books don’t contain explicit sex scenes, but my characters have real desires, struggles and choices to make. A lot of the time they make the wrong ones. No subject is prohibited, but good always triumphs and God is glorified.
In my personal life, He has also blessed me with a wonderful husband and three dynamic children, all of whom are destined to make wide, colorful splashes in this world. We share our New Jersey home with three dogs. I have no hobbies to speak of, unless you include writing. I don’t. 

5 comments:

  1. Welcome, Dana! I really enjoyed your post. We could all do with a bit re-thinking about what success really is.

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  2. Great post, Dana. I'm not even sure what success means anymore. I am finding peace instead. Best wishes back to you! ❤

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  3. Right on about ending participation trophies and unrealistic, universal expectations for all children. Viva the differences internally wired by God in each person.

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