While scrolling through my Facebook timeline, I see messages of “success.” Most of the stories speed through the difficult times to focus on much happier experiences of living the “dream life.” Even in our everyday conversations with other people, we briefly mention the challenging times and make sure to get to the good moments quickly. Everyone wants to be successful, and there is nothing wrong with prosperity. However, God challenges us to go beneath the surface and to take a more in-depth look at what we are doing, outside of our Instagram success selfies and Facebook success updates.

More recently as I have been looking at what I am doing in my life, I find myself still guilty of trying to keep up with the Joneses. Here are some things I can be guilty of:

As a writer, if I see a good friend writing a new book, I feel it’s time for me to write a book. I work feverishly to keep up.

If a good friend starts a new exercise boot camp, I feel I need to join her. I don’t want to look like an underachiever!

If a friend takes on a new project, I feel the need to do a new project.

I believe you are getting the message. Do you see this pattern in your own life? Success is good, but you won’t experience longevity in it if you keep working, grinding or being a part of “Team No Sleep.”

As I get older, (but more fabulous) I realize success is much more than an outward performance. Success is how I am living when no one is watching.

Successful self-care means:

I am making sure to honor the things I need to be my best. This includes a healthy diet, exercise, rest, and relationship plans.

I say “no” to things that aren’t helpful. These things might be overcommitting, friendships that dishonor emotional boundaries and forgoing my rest to succeed. Striving to make things happen is another biggie.

I will be aware of when I am not okay, and instead of forging ahead I will take steps to find out what is going on. I will be honest with God, myself and others in my support system.

I realize that for me to be successful I require adequate rest and parameters around resting. It requires me to take time when I am exhausted to get rest versus cranking out another project or accepting another task. Successful self-care means I focus on what I can do versus trying to gauge my life in comparison to someone else’s.

I got a further gut check when I read this week’s devotional from the Passion Translation creators. The scripture was from Hebrews 4:1-10. I challenge you to read it in The Message Translation or The God’s Word Translation. Both use plain language to get a powerful point across. In summary, God has created a plan of rest for His people, but historically this plan has been ignored. The Children of Israel were an example of one group who missed God’s promises and instead found themselves complaining about their journey to the Promised Land. They tried to do things on their terms and missed it every time.

The opportunity to embrace the rest of God has been given to us as well. Rest doesn’t mean inactivity, but it does mean releasing our need to strive for things to happen. Striving and pursuing things outside of God’s plans for our lives will lead to failure every time. Many of the sophisticated success strategies talk about “creating your own path” and “fulfilling your destiny.” God has a plan for our lives, and though it won’t be challenge free, it is restful because we are moving with Him (not without Him). Whenever I am restless, it is because I am trying to forge my path the way I see everyone else succeeding. God will allow us to try it our way, but it leads us to discontent and dissatisfaction.

As I take this self-care journey with you, I am going to have to dig deeper. I don’t want to succeed at the expense of gaining the whole world and losing my soul. I don’t want to appear successful outwardly and miss the internal work that must be done. I will be looking more at my self-care needs and be even more intentional to make sure it is a part of my success strategy. What about you? How will looking at your self-care cause you to flourish?

Questions of the Day:

Have your ideas of “success” caused you to avoid your self-care needs? How?

How can you focus on your self-care today and how will it help you in your life, your family, your spiritual life, and your endeavors?

How can I help you to succeed towards your goals this week regarding self-care? Please make sure to e-mail me at ashley@ashleysauls.com. We are on this journey together.

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