Go and cry to the gods whom you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress. (Judges 10:14)
We’ve been taught since we were young to be high achievers. Schools have traditionally put us in competition with each other. From the subtly of grading on a curve, to spelling bees and advanced classes, achievement is what appears to be the ultimate motivator. Sadly, this form of motivation leaves us in despair, because there is always someone better than us, smarter than us, or craftier than us. Even if we end up being the most successful, smartest, and most clever, achievement will still leave us unfulfilled, at the end of the day.
I am not alone in this belief. Alison Berman, in her article, “The Dangers of Basing Self-worth on Achievement” states, “The problem with training self-worth to be a reflection of personal achievement is that it leaves that very individual feeling perpetually incomplete and constantly searching for wholeness. What this means is that we’ve accidentally bred a culture where daily grinding is supposed to fuel self-worth — unfortunately it does not.” Alison also knows that achievement is a hollow idol.
God knew that our self-worth would be in question. That is why God made a point of stating clearly that “we are made in the image of God.” We are worthy through God’s grace. Thankfully, we cannot earn it, or we would all fall short. God cares little for achievement. God cares about living a faith based on trust and humility. We need to let God do the ultimate achieving. It is our task to help, support, and glorify the One who will achieve the Heavenly Kingdom for us.
The way to a meaningful life is not found through the idol of achievement, but through following the humble path of Christ. It is not an easy path. Everyone around you is judging you by achievement. It takes a deep faith to judge yourself and others in a humble way so antithetical to achievement.
Today, ask God to bless you with the wisdom and understanding necessary to value yourself and others in a new way. Prayerfully ask God to give you the confidence to know your worth, so that you do not have to earn it, or prove it to yourself or others. It will not be easy, or fulfilled quickly, but focusing on humility over achievement will bring you confidence and joy. Stop working so hard to achieve it, when God’s acceptance is already yours.