"Have I failed to honour God because my life has not looked successful, as I thought it should?'

Jo’s story | The science of success

“I work in academia and it can be highly competitive. This is my eighth year. For me, being excellent in science is part of my worship to God. But it can be difficult to achieve excellence.”

“Success in science often means having significant impact and influence through a research profile, publications, grants, and other achievements. As scientists, we build knowledge by asking important questions and testing new ideas, but these do not always work out.

“It often seems that the impact of my work falls short of what success looks like. And I’m often reminded of how I have failed to achieve. For example, the faculty sends out regular emails rightly congratulating staff on their achievements. I received a few such emails this past week. Reading them reminded me of my inadequacy.

“Have I failed to honour God because my life has not looked successful as I thought it should have? Will I ever be good enough?

“I have been reading through Hebrews and meditating on 12:1-2. We are called to ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith’.

“It is so easy to lose sight of what’s important; like Peter, seeing only the waves when he tried to walk to Jesus on water. But we are to set our sights on Christ, who for the joy set before him endured the cross. He entered into our pain and he endured, for us. He understands.

“What does success mean to God? The day after reading the faculty emails, I read Hebrews during my morning quiet time and was reminded that success means to know God in Jesus Christ and enjoy him, to love him and love our fellow man.

“When faced with inadequacy and despair, I am reminded to fix my eyes on Christ, to have faith and courage, to keep going in his great strength, to finish the race.”

Jo’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click here for more Faith Stories.

Bible verse Hebrews 10 1 2

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