The Problem With Pursuing Greatness

At some point, we’ve all felt the pressure to do something great with our lives.

After all, we  want to know that our lives have value. Deep down, we all want to be proud of how we spent our limited time on earth.

But we start feeling the pressure to be great when we chase the things society says will make our lives matter.

Things like being a woman with weight attached to her name, whose work is praised by many, and who will be remembered for years to come. Things like reaching for the top of society, or becoming a world changer. And even things like becoming a woman with a good income and maybe a hint of fame.

And just like the advice someone recently gave me when they said,  “Lydia, you have so many gifts. I want to see you do something great. I want to see you change the world or make it into the history books. I don’t want to see you settle,” So many of the things that the world claims are the marks of success, are purely external.

This look at life only leaves me with questions…

Is this really the standard we’ve come to? Is being recognized or applauded by the world the measure of our success in life?

Do I need to have a huge following, or have my name crammed into a history book in order to live an impactful life?

If I never change the world, can I still be content? If no one besides my friends and family ever hears my name, am I still doing something great? Can I be proud of my life and how I have used my God given gifts?

Maybe you’ve felt buried by this same pressure to be great. Maybe you’ve also wondered if this is really what it means to have a successful and meaningful life. Maybe you’ve felt the stress and urgency that comes from living just to build ourselves up.

If so, listen to this: if our money, or popularity, or any of those other things are the measures of our success than we live pretty pathetic lives. And if our only goal in life is just to chase greatness or build ourselves up, then we are completely missing our real purpose.

Because success by the world’s standards is temporarily impressive, but not truly great or lasting.

But Jesus perfectly laid out the key to true, eternal greatness when He said,

“… whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many,”

(Matthew 20:26-28)

You see, we can strive, plan, and work all our lives, but trying to leave an impact by building ourselves up doesn’t work. Only the things we do for Jesus will have any real significance.

And when we live for Jesus, we are called to look at our limited time on earth as a chance to serve and build His Kingdom.

If we want to live purposeful and powerful lives, then we need to live completely for Jesus.

Because life-changing people aren’t the ones who push and pull to get to the top. The people who make the biggest impact are the givers. They link arms with others and are okay with being completely unnoticed if that’s where God wants them.

So yes, dream big dreams! Work diligently in the thing that God has called you to do.

But while doing that, genuinely care more about building up God’s kingdom then building up yourself. Look for ways to serve God and others in your home, in your church, with your friends, and even with strangers. 🙂

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