I turn 41 today. And to be honest, I’m having a really hard time with this birthday. I didn’t have any trouble at all with turning 40 last year. I’ve always had the opinion that age is just a number. But this year, I think I’ve let the world’s definition of success creep in and derail my ability to be content.
To be honest, I feel old. I have a daughter who started driving last week and who is going to high school in the fall. I’ve been thinking about what my 20-year-old self thought life would look like at this age, and the reality is very different than the ideal. I have a great life. I have two fabulous kids. I have a husband who loves me. I have friends who are there in the good times and the bad ones. I have the important stuff.
But today, I’ve gotten caught in the trap of looking around and comparing myself to what the world considers a success. I don’t have tons of money. This little blog doesn’t get millions of hits a day. I haven’t written a New York Times best seller. I’m a mom. I write a little blog. I teach writing to homeschoolers. I clean house, make meals, run the Fairchild taxi service and offer homework help. And sometimes that doesn’t seem like enough.
When I look around and see other blogs that are bigger, when I see other moms who have high-powered jobs, when I find myself wondering what it would be like to have the time and energy to pursue those big writing dreams, I wonder if my reality is enough. I wonder if this really is what God planned for me or if I missed the turn I was supposed to take back when I was 30 or 35.
As I ponder all of this with not a few tears in my eyes, God reminds me of something important. It’s not the big stuff that matters. Maybe I’ll still write that New York Time best seller. Just not right now. Maybe someday this little blog will get millions of hits a day. Just not right now.
Because right now, success is measured in putting one foot in front of the other on this path — the one I’m walking right now. The one that has a child on either side. Because yesterday, I took four teenagers to Starbucks and we studied what it means to thrive and not just survive. We talked about God’s plans and dreams for their lives. And that hour in Starbucks mattered. It solidified friendships. It dropped some Truth into their lives. It let them know they are loved by adults other than their parents. And that mattered.
Today, I’m writing this blog post that won’t get a million hits, but it just might be read by another mom struggling with the same emotions. And that will matter.
This fall, I will teach writing to a bunch of kids with a dose of love and Jesus on the side. And that will matter.
Tonight, I will pray with my kids and kiss them goodnight, and that will matter.
Because God doesn’t call all of us to do the big things. We’re not all going to be CEOs of Fortune 500 companies or New York Times best-selling authors. But our actions, the things we do every day, matter. They matter to the lives we touch. They matter to God who asks us to do them. They matter in ways that getting a million hits on the Internet does not.
So, if like me, you’re struggling to see the significance in what you do because the world is busy telling you that success is measured in dollars and fame, remember that God sees you. He sees the smallest things you do. And those things matter. Because success is not measured in dollars and fame. It is measured in lives touched as you walk the path God has laid out for you.