Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

God’s Path to Success

Isaiah 55:8

I may be starting to sound like a broken record with today’s post, but God keeps drilling this message into my head (and my heart). I feel like it’s important, and so I’m going to keep rewriting and rehearsing it here until I can articulate it just right. Also, there might be someone out there who needs this message just as much as I do. That message is this:

God’s way is not the world’s way.

This applies to–well, pretty much everything. But the specific area of my life where I keep getting reminded to apply it is in the area of achievement. I’ve mentioned here previously that, as a kid who struggled in school thanks to undiagnosed ADD, I often got slapped with labels like “lazy” and “underachiever.” I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to prove that those labels don’t apply to me, before finally figuring out that I don’t have to prove anything to anybody.

But in all of that trying, I tried a lot of worldly ways to succeed. I adhered to societally-acceptable beliefs such as hard work and sacrifices will lead to success. Sounds good, but by “hard work” what’s usually meant is pushing yourself to the point of sickness and exhaustion, and by “sacrifices” what’s often meant is sacrificing time with family and relationships and other things that are necessary for a happy, healthy existence. I’ve tried “set concrete goals” and “always have a five-year plan.” I’ve done “Go after your dreams at any cost.” I’ve done life hacks and organizational and time management apps and tricks and I’ve read self-help books and listened to TED talks and none of it ever got me anywhere except exhausted and depressed and wrung out and feeling like a hopeless failure.

Now I’m trying it God’s way, which is, in summary, this:

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. –Isaiah 30:15 {NIV}

God’s way is saying, “Okay, God. What do YOU want for my life? What are YOUR plans? What do YOU want me to do? Where do YOU want me to go? Please order my steps and make things clear.” And then trusting that He’ll do that, and waiting patiently for Him to do it according to His timing, which is perfect.

It’s also trusting that His plans are better than yours. That His dreams for you are better than anything you could’ve come up with on your own.

And that when you surrender, when you seek to accomplish HIS goals, in HIS timing, you will succeed.

This is a difficult concept to grasp, because it feels so passive. We’re ingrained to believe that we have to take charge and actively pursue our goals. And surrender often feels like giving up. Waiting feels like being idle. And rest feels self-indulgent.

But the truth is that there’s nothing passive about doing things God’s way. Surrender is a daily battle. Waiting produces patience, which leads to strong character, which leads to hope. Rest is simply being still and quiet and knowing that God is the one in control, not striving to make things happen on your own terms but trusting that they’ll happen on His terms. This time of waiting sharpens and refines us. Instead of actively pursuing some measurable milestone or achievement in our lives, as we wait we actively pursue becoming who God wants us to be–the person who is well and truly capable of handling what God has in store and ready to receive it.

And it doesn’t mean not working. I’m not talking about taking a vacation here. But it’s about trusting God to establish the work of your hands, to open doors and provide the work He wants you to be doing at the right time. It’s asking him to show you what’s required of you at this time, and being willing to show up and do it, and trusting that He’s big enough to take care of the rest.

I’ve tried (and tried and tried) to do it the world’s way. I’ve tried to do it my own way–which pretty much amounts to the same thing.

Now I’m doing it God’s way–and I have more peace, joy, contentment and sanity in my life than I’ve ever known. Even better, things are actually starting to happen. Doors are miraculously opening. A dream I’ve chased for decades is beginning to be my reality.

All that striving I did . . . the only good thing about it is that it brought me to a place where I was finally ready and willing to surrender. The world’s way broke me. God put me back together, and He’s still building me up. And His way is so, SO much better.

Sister, won’t you join me in trying it His way? I’m sure you could use the rest.

In love,





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  1. traceyatwaterintowine

    This is a really beautiful post. Loved reading some of your story and can very much relate. We have written along similar lines this week. Admire your open hearted expression of your journey. Thank you!! Your neighbour at Coffee For Your Heart this week.

    • Jean Marie Bauhaus

      Thank you, Tracey! I’m glad you stopped by.

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