Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Success Looks Different Through Spiritual Eyes


As my wife and I were writing “I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours?” I thought to myself once our book is published I will have fulfilled a life long dream to become an author. Not exactly, it was my dream to write books for children.  I wrote one titled “Ike & Mike Like to Fight” After multiple publishers rejected the book, I gave up on the idea of writing a book for three decades.

After I was diagnosed with prostate cancer I began an on-line diary for two reasons. First, to preserve my thoughts in real-time in case I would write a book, and second, to help others along their journey. It wasn’t long before I felt a call from the Holy Spirit to write a book in order to help men, and couples cope with the diagnosis of prostate cancer and life following prostate surgery. Based upon my previous experience with publishing, I wasn’t very optimistic a book I’d write would ever see the light of day. I forgot a very important spiritual lesson, when God calls you to do something, if you are faithful and obedient, it will come to pass. Now that said, God didn’t promise me a  #1 best selling book. (I became the one who wanted that.)

It took my wife and I close to 3 years to write our book, and it’s now published. The fact I can go to Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com and see the book in hard cover, soft cover, kindle, and in ibook edition for the ipad is amazing to me. I anticipated I’d feel some degree accomplishment and a huge feeling of gratitude that God decided to use our experiences with prostate cancer to help other people.  I felt these things for a day or two , and then those feelings rapidly vanished.

I stopped seeing this achievement through spiritual eyes and began to see them through the eyes of the world. With that view in place I asked myself the following: “What good is it to have written a book if no one buys it?”  With this view in place, the only way to achieve success involved developing a marketing campaign to make the book nationally known and selling hundreds of thousands of books. I must confess, for a time, I really got lost. Fortunately, my spiritual outlook returned. The following formula:
 success=number of books sold,  is now null and void.

So I’m left with the following question: What does success look like though spiritual eyes? I’m still working that answer out. This much I do know, it means I’ll be going way beyond my comfort zone. At some point in the future, I believe Brenda & I will be involved with newspapers, radio, and possibly TV.  I’m no longer driven to achieve instant success. I know I must be on my knees in prayer asking for what directions to go. It means trusting in where we are in the moment, and feeling grateful we’ve been brought this far in the journey. It means learning to do things I’ve never done before, such as having an author Facebook page, and hosting a website at: http://www.whereisyourprostate.com/. It means blogging, which something I’ve never done or wanted to do.

It God’s MO to send people to places they’d rather not go, to do things they’d rather not do, in order to bless people you never thought to bless before.  I suspect doing all those things is part of my new definition of success. As this definition evolves I’ll share it. The question each of us must ask, is how do we define success, and does our definition come from the world or our faith? How we answer that question makes all the difference in the direction our lives will take.