God’s Daughter First | Tips on How to Avoid Idolizing Success When Pursuing Your Calling
This is for all my ambitious, go-getter Christian girlies. It’s good to pursue our God-given dreams — this is what God wants, and we can have such fun doing it. But we’ll get ourselves into trouble if we idolize our accomplishments or blessings. How can we hold our treasures lightly? How does living as God’s daughter first affect our lifestyle? How can we really be sure waiting on God will result in the best version of success? This episode is full of joyful testimonies with the goal of reminding us that our great God answers prayers all the time and he really does more than we could ask or imagine.
Listen to You Are You Christian podcast for women on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Or for my reading-lovers out there (I'm with you!), the transcript is below.
Hi friends! Happy October. All seasons are special but there’s something about fall that seems especially celebratory to me. For the goal oriented among us, it might signal time to reflect and give thanks since we’re in the final quarter of the year – to see how are our goals going and look forward to the fact that soon it’ll be time to pray over our goals for next year. I’m feeling excited about all this, amidst my new season.
It's been nearly two months since I’ve moved to Taipei. As I was running yesterday, I thought to myself that “this will go down as one of the sweetest periods of my life.” Why? Because I feel like I’ve been gifted space and time to really seek God, pray, and am experiencing so many answered prayers. But also because this to be the attitude with which I approach every season of my life. In this episode, I wanted to share some of the stories behind recent answered prayers to encourage us all to adopt this mindset and explain why.
So here are three areas where God has been showing me that I, that we, can trust him.
1) God’s Child
Some seasons I’m a real gym girlie. My workouts are all fitness classes: spin, body pump, bar, cardio boxing and so on. And I do love a class, especially ones that help me work out my arms. But my first fitness love will always be running. I started running when I was 24 and for me it’s just the most enjoyable way to relax and reset. Sometimes I listen to a podcast, sometimes I listen to music, but my favourite runs are the ones where my thoughts wander, and I start to wonder with God. In this season, I’m running 4 to 5 days a week.
As I was cooling down after a run this week, walking across my neighbourhood square to my apartment, I started thinking about how different my mindset was compared to a few weeks ago. After being in the workforce for a decade, I realized that I’d started to link my identity with having not just a job but a certain type of job working for a prestigious organization with an impressive title. Because let’s be real, when we tell people what we do and people are impressed, that feels good right? We feel like we’re doing well.
But in this current season where so many have been laid off and the job market is super competitive, and for those who sense God has asked them to take a leap of faith and pursue entrepreneurship, I think it’s an important thing to talk about and make sure that we’re seeing things from God’s angle. So, as I walked, I started talking to God like “You know, I know I need to do my best for God. I want to involve God in my work. But I no longer think that the success of my life depends on man’s approval in and outside work.”
Humans all have their own opinion on how we should do things. And yes, we are to obey our earthly bosses. But we don’t need to take everything they say as truth. They are not our God. Workplace success doesn’t mean working the highest paying job for the most prestigious organization possible. It’s doing the job God is saying to do. In John Bevere’s book Driven by Eternity, he reminds us that if God has called us to be a pastor, than we shouldn’t be an accountant and vice versa. On Judgment Day, we’re not to give an account of how well we did our own vision but God’s. So God has called some people to worldly positions of power, but that shouldn't cause pride or thoughts that, you know, that makes them better or more blessed than anyone else. God has a plan for every child and there are needs at every level of society. May we remember Paul’s story. His Pharisee friends must have thought him crazy to give up all that status to be a travelling preacher but did he or did he not write most of the New Testament with a legacy that God is using to impact so many today??
So as it says in Matthew 6:19-21:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
And as Corrie Ten Boom is quoted to have said:
“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
Also let’s reflect on the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22 which is titled “Abraham Tested” in the NIV. When Abraham was about to slay his son, God said “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” God wants to be our God. There’s no way we should love a job, bank account number, or worldly position so much that we wouldn’t sacrifice it if God said to. Our great blessing is to obey him because we trust that he truly has what’s best for us. We are God’s children. May we live to delight him by relying on him to do the work he’s calling us to do.
2) God’s Provision
I want to say “I can’t even” with how much God has come through for me lately. But let’s flip that: “I absolutely can believe God has come through for me so much because that’s his character.” He is so good. And I say this because I think in some seasons, I’ve been a little mopey. So frustrated that I’m still waiting on God to come through on one or two things. But now I really want to live with joy because in every season he is God pouring out his love on us.
In my women’s bible study this week, we covered Philippians 4. One of the parts I felt God impressing upon me in a fresh way were verses 4 and 8:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! ... Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Sometimes we can get so focused on what we don’t have that we miss the answered prayer that is our current season. I shared with my friends in group that my current season is exactly what I prayed for two, three years ago. When I had a prestigious job that drew oohs when I told people who I worked for and what I did. When I was miserable and in a toxic environment and burned out. When I wanted so much to be able to do work that allowed me to seek God, to have a fresh adventure in a new city, to make a whole new circle of friends – and more. And hello my current season? All this and so much more.
In no other season of my life would I have been able to do what I’m doing now – emotionally because I didn’t have the faith or bravery, but also logistically as working an office job meant I couldn’t spend as much time on my God dream or even do things like take every Thursday morning to bible study with my friends, linger and have fellowship over spontaneous lunches, and so on. I don’t know how long this season will last but I sense God reminding me to ENJOY IT. Seasons change. May we be more focused on giving thanks for what God is doing than complaining about what we can’t see him doing – and really learn to rejoice always and think about uplifting things.
And we don’t need to pretend our needs don’t exist. We can go to Philippians 4:6-7, those verses in the middle:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God literally says not to be anxious about anything. We can prayer and petition him with thanksgiving. Release all our anxieties to him and he will replace it with his peace. As we wait for him to answer and provide for our needs, we can rest in peace.
And also, just to give more specifics in hopes that it’ll encourage us to pray because these aren’t just vague sentiments but things that we actually get to live out.
The friends that I’ve met? Huge answered prayers in terms of their personalities, interests, careers, heart for loving their friends, and most of all passion for God. I prayed that I’d be adopted by a group of amazing on-fire Christians as soon as I landed, and I definitely feel that came true.
I’ve also been budgeting carefully which honestly took some adjusting after having a healthy salary for a decade and was cutting out most luxuries. I didn’t even want to spend on pastries or face masks because they didn’t feel essential. And in this period, I’ve been treated to meals so many times, had a friend offer to book me a 2-day staycation, had family give me literal bags of pastries and beauty products (more about this last testimony on my Mid-Autumn Festival testimony Instagram post), and so on. I’m definitely still praying about other needs, but I feel so confident that I can just enjoy doing what I know God is saying to do right now and that he’ll tell me more information when the time is right.
How about you? Are there any answered prayers in your life that you might be overlooking right now? Or maybe you feel encouraged to pray about a treat? Maybe God will answer in the way you want, maybe he’ll answer in a different way, but we can be sure that our God is generous and rich in resources. Ask him and be expectant that he is a good God.
3) God’s Timing
For a long time, I was praying about my next location. I had two cities in mind. And it had been many months, and I wasn’t getting clarity. So, I moved in faith. And I kept praying. Someone prayed prophetically over me and basically said they felt like God was saying to “Dance and enjoy this period until God turns the lights on” as in enjoy this period until God shows you your next step. I felt “Yes, this resonates” and so I am enjoying Taipei and yet still pressing into ask God to confirm the location where he wants me to settle (at least for the next few years perhaps, Lord knows I love new adventures).
And it reminded me of a period in Singapore where, even though I basically loved every single second I lived in Singapore, I was hungry to see more of the world and wanted to move… but wasn’t exactly sure where. I prayed and prayed until I felt God say “Stop applying for jobs. You’re where you’re supposed to be. Wait and see.” And honestly, I really needed that word to stop focusing on what’s next and enjoy my current life in Singapore. It sounds intense maybe, but I wasn’t used to just hanging out and enjoying my life – there was so much I wanted to do and experience and prove hah so I was always thinking about the future. Anyway, a few weeks later, my boss asked me if I’d be interested in relocating to Hong Kong which then kicked off 7 years that transformed my whole being. Hypercompetitive Hong Kong wasn’t always the easiest place to live but it was without a doubt the place God used to mold me into the person I always wanted to be… and show me there is so much more to who he’s made me to be and birth fresh dreams.
Right now, I feel like I’m in a “wait and see” stage. I think God has given direction, but I want extra confirmation – so waiting to for more of him. And I wanted to share this hopefully as an encouragement for us to trust God’s timing and wait for his best. Not expect the bare minimum from God but to trust that he has a beautiful plan and that things are going to be great when he answers but also, he’s with us and growing us and wants to comfort us and show us new things right now. It’s great to have dreams – God has given us all dreams and wants us to enjoy the process of experiencing them!
If you’re in a “wait and see” stage too and aching to enjoy your dream life, may we submit our whole lives to God and commit to doing what he says when he says it. Honestly God blessed me with Singapore and Hong Kong before I had this mindset, when my goals were very self-focused. So even amidst incredible blessings, I could still take them for granted and keep asking God for more. Living with a heart full of praise, in line with God’s word, frees us to accept God’s will as our will – and there’s no better place to be. We can trust that he knows us and following him will bring about the best result because it’s his plan.
We are so blessed to be loved and led by God Almighty. I pray we humbly bow before him in our time of need and also time of answered prayer. We will never not need him. He will always be worthy of all our praise.
Sending lots of love. If this resonated with your season, reach out! Would love to connect and praise God together. Speak soon.