Upsidedown success

Since the close of GodBlogCon, some bloggers have been continuing a discussion that began at Biola on the meaning of “success.” How do you know if you are being successful? How do you define success?

More importantly for Christians, how does God define success?

In blogging, one standard measure of success is your ranking in The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem, a system that ranks your blog by how many other blogs make reference to it. The idea is that you are successful if other people are talking about what you’ve written.

Some of the highest-ranked bloggers have been invited to be talking heads on various “old media” shows, such as The Today Show and Good Morning America. Some have written op-ed pieces for influential newspapers. A few have published books. Being noticed, being in demand, being influential beyond the world of the internet — these are also measures of success.

Catez Stevens at All Things 2 All has hit the nail on the head with a new post on The Meaning of Success.

I want to be successful in an upside down way. I will never have the artistry of the Master, but I would like sometimes to give something different from what the world tells me to exhibit as a badge of achievement. Will I do my best if only one person is receiving it? Will I take the same care and pay the same attention to detail? And what if they take it and don’t acknowledge me at all — will I carry on and give more another time?

Being “successful in an upside down way” reminds me of Jesus saying, “Among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all.” (Mark 10:43,44, NLT). Upside down. Jesus said a lot of upside down things. However we define success, if God is in the mix it will probably be upside down.

Success is giving expecting nothing in return. It’s kindness done in secret — as if even the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand has done. Success is retaining integrity whether the crowd applaud or hiss.

How do you define success in your life?

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  1. I think Catez’s post on the topic was great. I don’t know if I have ever in my life engaged in an activity so fraught with temptations.

  2. Charlie:

    This is an outstanding post!

    I intend to link to it, which will also link people back to Catez’s post.

    Blessings in Christ,

    Mark Daniels

  3. Very helpful essay.

    As I reflect on success, my rock bottom definition is this: Success is living in faithful obedience to God.

    At times, this may involve prosperity and place me in positions that the world may consider successful, but just as often, it will mean simply loving and serving others as Jesus did.

    Thanks for the conversation.

  4. Hi Charlie,

    I loved this post. It helps us all really see what our purposes and motives might be for having a blog; especially a GodBlog.

    It’s funny. I took a “blog value test” over at LaShawn Barber’s blog that asked, “What is your blog worth?” Guess what? I took the test for my blog and it said zero dollars! LaShawn’s ranking in that survey was close to one million. I could be jealous… But no worries, I’m not. I love LaShawn’s blog and see it’s value is much more than just the monetary value demonstrated by the survey.

    I guess, for me, I feel that my blog is worth something when I see someone being lifted up in love to the Lord. They, in turn, post a comment that can minister to many others, as well.

    I have several new friends whom I have met via blogging and they have all been such a blessing in my life. I thank God for every one of them!

    In Christ,


    P.S. I count you in as a new friend through blogging, Charlie! Thank you for your excellent comments to that question! They were biblical and Spirit filled. I thank God for you, too!

  5. The concept of being “a sucessful blogger” is so foreign to me. To me, be sucessful is doing everything in my life to the glory of God. It is what I strive for. Blogging is just one part of it. So is mowing the lawn.

  6. Thanks, Ed. You made me laugh, and you’re right. Except there’s no grass where I live, so I glorify God by picking up rocks.

    Blogging has this competitive side to it, though, because so many people are doing it to be noticed, to make money, gain advertisers, etc. If those attitudes rub off on the Christian blogging community, they can obscure the message of Christ.