Success: One More Definition

“Success is achieving my full potential while fully surrendering to God”.     J.B. Wood


When I came across this quote, I was taken back by its simplicity, and at the same time, its profoundness. Hence, I decided to share it. I realized that this quote relates to the first success quote I shared in my previous post. That definition by Whit Hobbs is about excitement, confidence and the joy of being enthralled with something you love to do, and do well. The first part of this definition concerning achieving one’s full potential corresponds well to what Whit described.

It is the second part of J.B.’s definition which makes me pause. I believe his statement is biblical, and is also necessary for God’s people to grow in their faith. But, the term ‘surrender’ doesn’t sit well with most of us. Don’t we equate surrendering with defeat, weakness, loss of power, and the removal of one’s personal rights and privileges? That form of surrender is anathema to our survival instinct and sense of well-being.

Of course, God quite often puts a different spin on many ideas and principles we are familiar with. When Jesus walked among us, he turned the culture upside down by making proclamations which were often difficult to comprehend or were in conflict with current thought and practices. As an example, he said, “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect”. Taken at face value, most of us know intuitively-and by experience-that this imperative is impossible for man to achieve. Ultimately, he was implying that we should strive to be perfect by following his lead and seeking his help. Perfection comes later.

Hence, we come to the meaning of surrender as Wood used it. His intent is positive rather than negative. To surrender to God is to place one’s self directly under the power and influence of an entity far greater than mere man. God is nothing less than the Creator of the universe, as well as our personal friend if we chose to accept him as such. Anyone who can create an atom or cause an embryo to be formed in a womb must, by deduction, be able to govern all things far better than even the wisest of mankind could ever do. Where God is infinite in all things, man is finite. He is superior while we are inferior. Nevertheless, we struggle not only with this concept of surrender and putting it into practice, but also with the very concept of an all-powerful, all-knowing God.

If we believe that achieving our full potential leads to a form of success, then we are on our way to something good. If we realize this potential while submitting and surrendering to God, we will achieve something even better than good…something  extraordinary. I have been trying to meld the two together most of my life, and still struggle with both parts of Wood’s statement. However, I am not without hope. I am not alone.




Have you ever found yourself at the intersection of Known and Unknown, often referred to as Crossroads. It can be like peering out at a wide vista of unfamiliar landscape. You know where you came from and where you are now, but not where you may be headed…at least not yet. This journey will be a process, and you will probably feel alone. Change appears on the horizon. So does uncertainty.60D to 8-18-15 032

Remember the movie, Castaway, with Tom Hanks? If you don’t recall it in detail or have not seen it, please allow me to briefly describe it (bear with me if I mis-state a detail as it has been quite a while since I have seen the movie).Tom worked for FedEX and was returning from a trip from an eastern European country where he was setting up a local FedEX facility. On his return back to the states the jet crashed in the ocean during a severe thunderstorm. The only survivor was Tom, along with some packages which washed up on the beach of a small remote island miles away from the crash site. After four years (+ or -) on this island he finally escaped the treacherous reef in a self-built raft. He took with him his beloved Wilson, a soccer ball which he painted a face on it with his blood from an injury, and a package that somehow gave him ties to his mission and previous life. After many days he was rescued by a freighter and eventually returned to the FedEX facility from wince he started the journey. He sought out his fiancé, only to have found her married with children. The end of the movie follows Tom to an artist’s home in the middle of Montana or Wyoming…close to nothing. He was compelled to deliver the one package he took with him, four years after taking it from the European facility. The gracious artist accepted the package with a sense of puzzlement (of course she would be perplexed). The last scene shows a somewhat haunting image of a man without a home, sitting in his car at the intersection of two gravel roads. His Crossroads.

The castaway was a changed man. After four years alone, struggling to survive, trying to remain sane, anyone would be changed. He even contemplated suicide. It took a great deal of courage to finally attempt his escape over the coral reef, as he tried before and the surf flung him into the coral and ripped open one of his legs. Escape seemed hopeless after his initial attempt years ago. However, staying on the island another day seemed just as hopeless so he made the decision to try again. He succeeded, only to discover that he no longer fit in where he was before. I always wondered where he eventually ended up, and if he ever came to grips with his new life. Did he go left, right or straight at this life intersection? Did it matter which way he went?

There are many types of Crossroads; relationships, employment and career choices, health issues, births and deaths, accidents, dysfunctional family issues, threats and lawsuits, marriages and divorces, relocating to another area, ending a friendship, deciding to enlist in the military, choosing a college, etc..

I am at a Crossroads which is one encountered by many, and is not at all unfamiliar to me. However, it is different from times past. I need a career change, and I just turned sixty. Ouch, I actually said it out loud…sixty! Some say it is just a number while others say it is the downhill side of living. Many speak of retirement (I cannot relate). Since I believe each of us has a specific quantity of days to live, I don’t fret over my age. I do question my future, though. As the castaway changed as the result of his ordeal, I, too, have changed due to time and experiences. So, I have a choice to make, just as Tom Hanks did at the end of the movie. Which road do I choose?

I have been in the commercial construction industry for almost twenty-five years. Do I continue working in the same industry which has been good to me in many ways, but has also sucked the life out of me? Or, do I begin anew with a different career, perhaps totally unrelated? This is my quest, and why I stand at this particular Crossroads at this particular time in my life. As with the returned castaway, I don’t know where I fit in nor where my search will take me. However, I am cautiously optimistic, and even a bit excited about finding out. I hope the adage, The joy is in the journey, will be true for me should I choose to leave the familiarity of the construction industry. My gut tells me I won’t return.

Whether I have another thirty, twenty or ten years left to live, I still have much I want to do and see and participate in. The bottom line is this: I simply want to finish well.