How Your Belief in God is Preventing You from Reaching Success
How Your Belief in God is Preventing You from Reaching Success
You’re in Grand Central Station, and amidst the hubbub and din of voices and heels, you spot an outlier. It’s a man well-dressed, fit, hair styled, shoes shined, suit pressed and flawless, briefcase in hand, but, strangely, he’s blindfolded, and he’s wailing in a defeated tone reminiscent of your toddler … I hope everything works out, I hope someone feeds me, I hope I don’t fall down and get hurt. Everything else about him seems quite capable, and you can’t help but wonder out loud, why on earth doesn’t he take off that blindfold and get on with it?
It’s easy to laugh at the absurdity here, but what we easily miss is that our beliefs often cause us to live just like that character. It sounds completely ridiculous that there would be any legitimate belief system that would cause someone to stay passive and give up their responsibility in life, and it feels even more ridiculous to admit that I lived most of my entire life this way.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t want control, because then I would stop trusting God”? Maybe you’ve said it. I have. Yes, that good little, seemingly moral and innocent belief.
But, beneath the cover, it’s as insidious as a vial of poison, and it’s costing you your life and hijacking the impact your life was meant to make on the world. How?
Because your living well requires stewardship. And to be a steward, you have to be in control. And everywhere you give up control, you give up the stewardship and abandon your responsibility to create an amazing life.
To start with, you have unlimited resources: a creative mind, unique gifts, skills, and abilities unlike any other human who has ever existed anywhere in time or space. You have ideas that are exclusively your own, a skillset mix as distinct as your fingerprint, a history of rich experiences and learning. You’re a glorious masterpiece, an intricately-woven, masterfully-crafted work of art, with a life purpose of creation, production just waiting to exude out of you and paint the world all grand and beautiful.
Yet you pause on the precipice.
And the thoughts flood faster now … if I really discover who I am, then I’ll become selfish and self-absorbed. I’ll get enamored with myself, and grow out of humility. And if I focus on developing my gifts and mastering them, then I won’t trust any longer, because I’ll have my own capacity to rely on, and I’ll become prideful about what I’ve accomplished on my own. And if I become excellent and great, then I won’t remember my humanity and the struggle and I’ll forget to have compassion on others. And if I become truly successful and reach economic independence, I’ll stop relying on God as my source. And if I accomplish great things and reach the peak of who I’m meant to be, it will all feel empty and meaningless. Wouldn’t it be better to stay as I am … in the shadows … undiscovered … unawake…
The thing is: every last fiber of your being was created to be alive, in love, creative, awake, meaningful, purposeful, actualized, fulfilled … and everything contrary is a fat lie rooted in fear. Fear is very good at justifying itself, legitimizing and substantiating its reasons, and validating its case.
But it’s crippling, and will forever limit the destiny you were meant to walk in.
Marianne Williamson says it most poignantly:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
There’s greatness in you. You’re meant to expand the world by your production in it. To do this, you have to take what you have and use and multiply it: your gifts, skills, abilities, and your money.
You probably know the parable of the talents by heart: there were three servants, each given a sum of talents, and each called to give account for what he had done with them. Two servants produced more with what they had, and were commended. The third buried his talent and returned it to the master when it was called due, and was taken to task for not taking responsibility and stewarding the talent to bring an increase. (Matthew 25:14 – 30)
We either take control and increase what we’ve been given in faith, or we give it up in victimhood and wave the white flag in the name of “trusting God.”
But belief and trust are two entirely opposite things.
Believing something is easy – it’s imagining. I can believe that the rope bridge with the sun-rotted and decaying planks and the frayed cable that’s swinging feebly across the churning waterfall will hold me…as I stand firmly on the bank.
Trust takes guts, courage, and action. Trust is turning my faith into action and making strides out into the thing that I trust. Trusting God is walking full speed into the glorious life God intentioned for me, but that I have to own in order to have.
Where I say in my life that I trust God but don’t take control of my money and my wealth creation, I’m living a contradiction.
Every area of your life you don’t take control, you give up control to someone else. If you pass the buck, you really don’t want to be responsible for your results. And the alternative to being in control is not “trusting God,” it’s being out of control.
When it comes right down to managing my money and creating more, I can either do nothing, hand over responsibility to someone else, or exercise the stewardship and responsibility I have been given.
If I’m out of control and spend everything I make, I have nothing left to produce an increase with.
If I hoard money in extreme fear and scarcity, and even build up a pile of money this way, I’m like the servant who hid his money in the ground, afraid of losing it, and I don’t steward to bring an increase.
The financial institutions are more closely aligned with what the master said to the servant who buried his talent, “Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.” (Matthew 25:27 ESV). If I’m a passive investor, as with accumulation-based planning, the financial institutions are in control and exercising stewardship over my money.
If, as the other two servants who actively found a way to provide value and created more money, I become an active investor, I step into stewardship and take control of my money.
The way to increase money is to provide the greatest value. Every place you don’t take ownership and responsibility in your life, you limit your influence and your wealth creation.
When you choose to become the most serving, giving, and contributing, producing, expanding, and creating, you steward the raw materials of your life to produce the greatest value in the world. Exercising your stewardship requires you to discover your soul purpose, unique ability, passion, and your investor DNA, and then figure out how to align your investments with your unique abilities, passion, and purpose. In this way, you you multiply everything you touch.
You see, God isn’t preventing your success. He created you for it. It’s just that your belief is standing in the way of full-fledged action-sparking, increase-creating, talent-multiplying trust.
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