The Success Slogan I Can’t Fully Support

Photo: marcovdz, Flickr, Creative Commons

Photo: marcovdz, Flickr, Creative Commons

The sign hanging on the fence at my local YMCA gym reads, “Do more. Be more.” I drive by it weekly and appreciate the slogan’s encouragement to work hard at living a more, healthy balanced life. If I sweat on the treadmill a couple of times a week and lifted a few weights, I’m positive I would rediscover some of my old teen spirit (and smell like it too). However, I can’t embrace those words fully. Do more? Be more? I have to say, “Please don’t.”

That’s the voice of my inner achiever: the girl who used to work out two hours a day to be model-thin. The academic who wouldn’t allow herself to get a B. The young wife who read every relationship book to have a perfect marriage. The young mom who overscheduled playdates to keep her kids uber-happy. The church leader who said yes to every ask so no one would feel let down. The writer who had to publish three blog posts a week so she could feel accomplished.

The other night my son prayed, “God, help our family have more time together.” I paused right there and considered the weight of his request.

As I’m thinking about what camps and classes, trips and to-do’s to scrawl on our summer calendar, I am tempted to undertake more than last year (which was too much). It makes me feel good to be able to afford advantages. Isn’t it funny? A string of successes can give us a false sense of significance. A full calendar fools us into thinking we have a full life. Tweet This

I will be doing a few more workouts at the Y since my clothes have decided to shrink, but it won’t be in the name of perfection. My son’s prayer is what feels more right and risky right now. Slowing down. Being together. Doing less for success. Letting God be all the more we need.

Further Reading

Five Ways To Love Like You Mean It

Loving The World (by Lexi Dickens)

Three Ways To Find Contentment in an Unbalanced World

I Failed. Thoughts on Unsucceeding.

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April 26, 2016