We were blessed recently to have Sidney Bonvallet share her life story at our Women’s Spring Celebration. Her story is an amazing one of faith, determination, and perseverance. She had gone from the poverty of a one-room house in west Texas to occupy an executive suite in Detroit. She had climbed the corporate ladder and had accomplished most of her life-long dreams. She had gone from being a nobody to being somebody. And she was satisfied. Satisfied, but not fulfilled. It wasn’t until she surrendered her life to the Lord that fulfillment came.
Her remarks reminded me of the book, “Success Built To Last”. The authors made the following observation based upon the dictionary’s definition of success, which is:
1. The achievement of something planned or attempted.
2. Impressive achievement, especially the attainment of fame, wealth, or power.
3. Something that turns out as planned or intended.
4. Somebody who has a record of achievement, especially in gaining wealth, fame, or power.
“Notice that nowhere in the dictionary definition do you find any reference to finding meaning, fulfillment, happiness, and lasting relationships. No mention of feeling fully alive while engaged and connected with a calling that matters to you. No thoughts about creating a legacy of service to the world. Yet, those are all realities that people who have lasting success say they value most in life and work.
The real definition of success is a life and work that brings personal fulfillment and lasting relationships and makes a difference in the world in which they live. The question is why the rest of us tolerate any other definition.”
I think they have it right. And to me, what brings all three aspects of a successful life together is one’s relationship to Jesus Christ. He said once, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
We can live a satisfied life, content to focus our lives on material possessions and personal notoriety, but that will never lead to what we all desire in the end – fulfillment.