Thursday, August 25, 2011

In the pursuit of success

Occasionally, I wonder what it really means to be successful. And how exactly I am to pursue this. Or, rather, whether it is really even something worth pursuing.

As I'm finishing off my undergrad, I keep asking myself - where do I want to be in the future? Or, even moreso, who do I want to be? If you have the intellectual ability to attend Cambridge or Harvard or Yale, do you go after it? This is where most people nod their heads and say, of course!

But here's me asking, why? For what purpose? To be recognized as someone who attended this prestigious university? For the recognition of my degree? To become wildly famous and 'successful'?

Okay, so let's say I go to 'x' University, get my degree, and become the UN Secretary-General. Or perhaps, a higher position, the US President. (ha). What have I achieved? Still nothing. Not unless I actually do something for people. Not unless people's lives are better for it.

I guess this all seems like mambo jumbo. But I suppose I wonder to myself whether being in a position of power is really something worthwhile at all, if, in that position, you've lost touch with the entire reason you wanted that position.

I studied International Relations because I want to help the oppressed, I want to love them where they're at, I want to change the system that's making them live the way they are. I want to give them hope for something better, and be involved in their lives. But, if in my 'pursuit of success', I somehow forget to meet the people I'm working for, to know who they are and love them for it, to be inspired by them, then I've forgotten the entire reason I'm doing what I'm doing, and it's only foolishness on my part.

At the end of my life, when I face God and he asks me what I've done, I don't want to say that I attended meeting with powerful diplomats and make a suggestion or two on why we should or shouldn't define a conflict as a genocide. Good grief. I want to say that I was there with the people who were suffering, that I loved them when they needed it, that I showed them who Christ was - his incredible love and compassion - in that situation. If I lose sight of that, shame on me. Wordly success is very often more shameful than we realize - sometimes, the most lowly position is where we find the greatest hope.

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