"I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me,
but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter."
We spend much of our lives trying to achieve success, whether it on the home front, the work arena, or other endeavors. Success is good. Success, in the right things, can even be noble.
How much of my life, though, have I spent trying to succeed in things that don't matter? Too much.
As a young mother, I wanted my children to look nice at church. I fretted over it. I berated myself when they went to church looking less than presentable. (There was the time when my five-year-old son neglected to wear underwear, a fact I noticed only in Sunday services when I saw him scamper over a pew and his pants slid down. his non-existent hips.) On those days when the children looked their best, I preened, priding myself on my success. Looking back, I am ashamed over the importance I'd placed on such superficialities. Would not the children have been better served if I'd spent more time listening to them, more time playing games or reading with them than obsessing over what clothes they wore to church?
This is a small matter, trivial even. But it reminds me that chasing after things that don't matter is not only a waste, it is an indictment of my foolishness, my attempts to achieve worldly success. (Yes, trying to live up to the world's standards can occur even in a church setting.)
This I know for sure: succeeding at things that don't matter can have far more consequences than failing at things that do matter.