“Everyone said I was doing really well, but something inside me was telling me my success was putting my soul in danger.” Henri Nouwen
“Sweet success is being able to pay full and undivided attention to what matters most in life… experienced as a fulfilled and calm spirit that doesn’t compare itself to the happiness and success of others. It is characterized by an unhurried daily life led without the burden of the drive for victory over others or to get more status and ‘stuff.’ It is being able to regularly share with those we love a persistent sense of glee in the simple pleasures that derive from being alive and well at this moment in time. …Put simply, toxic success is constant distraction caused by pressure to do and have more; sweet success is attending fully to the now with the confident contentment that enough is finally enough. Overcoming toxic success syndrome is not a matter of giving up the good life, it is a matter of getting it back by freeing ourselves from the short-term illusion that so many of us now call ‘success.’ It is recovering from the social virus author John de Graaf calls ‘affluenza … a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.'” Paul Pearsall
“… care for your soul as if it were the whole world.” Mark Nepo
“This is what the Lord says:
‘Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
Moving From The Head to The Heart
- Reread the first half of Pearsall’s definition of “sweet success.” What Pearsall as a psychoneuroimmunologist recommends, Jesus lived. This is the kind of life Jesus wants for you.
- Do you feel like your soul could be “in danger?” Are you walking “where the good way is?”
- Are you caring for your soul “as if it were the whole world?” How, specifically?
Abba, deliver me from the illusions and pathologies of my day. Help me to find rest for my soul as I walk in the ancient paths.
For More: Toxic Success by Paul Pearsall
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