motivated by success

Motivated by Success: Embracing Perfection

Motivated by Success: Embracing  Perfection

She sits down every night and plays.  The child composes success, effortlessly.

Sophia Rose, our youngest daughter, turns 17 today.

I promise this is not a bragging blog.  However, the girl is a good example of being motivated by success.

Sophie is on the honor roll, ranked 40th in her senior class.  Diligently, she studies, but she doesn’t have to.  Among the struggling and “disabled” learners in this family, Sophie, or “Fluffy,” as our young sons call her, is a wonder.  Sophie isn’t arrogant or presumptuous.  Rarely, if ever does she speak of her “abilities.”

I would be lying if I didn’t say Sophie’s I.Q., GPA, and talents, mystify us.  Also, her room is the cleanest and most well-organized room in the house.

The last in our biological line of originals, Sophie is easy to deal with, loves her siblings, is quick-witted, hilarious, and the master of snark, in both English and Spanish.

Seriously, I don’t know.

Sophie leaves for school at 6:15 am, most nights she is home, at the earliest, by 7:30 pm.  She eats dinner, left warm for her in the microwave, wrestles with her little brothers, and then sits down at the piano and plays.

Oh also, Sophie plays completely by ear.  There are no music sheets in front of her.  And yet, she plays entire pieces, chords, and complex arrangements, simply from what she has heard.

Again, I do not tell you this to brag.  Truly, Sophia’s achievements are not mine to be praised.  I am happy that she is talented.  Furthermore, I am hopeful she will find much success and satisfaction from that which she masters and adores.

So, on this day, with the house empty, children at work or school, I was cleaning the house. As I dusted, which is not one of my greater talents,  I noticed several little military action figures on Sophie’s piano.

The hostile little figurines were carefully lined up, their weapons were drawn as if they were to hold her accountable for her nightly practice.  Honestly, a practice no one is asking Sophie to accomplish.  Methodically, I dusted the piano, and then returned the plastic soldiers to their post.  Heaven forbid they be moved, lest Sophie misplace her motivation.

The little soldiers made me laugh and wonder, “What in the world is that child thinking?”

Certainly, whatever Sophie’s thoughts, I am positive I couldn’t figure them out without Cliff Notes, an atomic calculator, and a series of graphs and charts.  Also, an expensive tutor.

What would it be like to be entirely motivated by success?

As I dusted, folded, mopped, and vacuumed, this question mocked me.

Look at me?  Cleaning that which will be dirty by bedtime.  Folding that which will be soiled by tomorrow.  If success breeds success, housework and laundry are the epitomai of failure.

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And I have met with failure before. Honestly, I am not sure what brought me to a place where I even wrote a single word.  So accustomed to failures, I remember that as I walked across the stage to receive my Graduate Degree diploma, I held my breath.  Certain, nearly positive, they would say there had been a detrimental mistake.

Gradually, I came to a place in my adulthood where I understood what I was good at, and what I was not good at.

Yeah, I play in a safe zone, and I do not play the piano or sing. ever. So don’t ask me.

Alas, the world successes are measured in numbers.  Success, by society’s standards, is not measured on a sliding scale.

It seems like, a degree, money, a Lexus, and a firm butt tend to be the gold standard.  And these successes are surrounded by grade point averages, investment portfolios, sticker prices, and pant size.

Somewhere in the lemon-scented cleaning-chemical filled air, I managed to breathe in a whiff of the Holy Spirit.  I was prompted to sit and write.


What would it be like to be entirely motivated by success?

Honestly, it hasn’t been very long since I believed EVERYTHING in my life was an ode to my shortcomings.

Above all, I fully believed the lie I was too much, and not enough.

Furthermore, in this place of constant defeat, I was not motivated by my success.  No, I was driven by fear and desperation.  Afraid of the wrath of God, desperate to save myself.

And I clung to the belief that God, the Lord who lived and died for me, despised me and my wayward Oreo eating. This monster-god never found joy in my existence.

And then, I met Grace.

The completed work of the cross and the perfected Lamb did it all. Now, I am no longer in a space where I must fear His wrath.  That wrath of God was settled on the cross. Simply put, the blood worked, it is finished, and He, the High Priest, sat down. I needn’t burn incense or count beads.  I can still do those things, and if I call that worship, praise God.

But if I call it law, heaven forbid.

For if any of my good or ritualistic deeds truly mattered, why the cross?

No tiny soldiers are holding me hostage in my faith.  There is nothing, no nothing that can separate me from Him.  And when I stumble or fail, which is often, by human terms, He sees me as He sees His beloved Son.


Certainly, this is hardly fair, nor does it make a whole lot of sense.  But, in this place, where I am utterly and entirely adored, I find the ease of success.

Daughter of the Most High, I wake up and fall asleep a winner, top of my class, a grand success.  I cannot disappoint Him.  Greater still, He finds happiness and delights in my creation.


As a result of this love, this is what it is like to be entirely motivated by success.

Consequently, I am able to do things now with a confidence I had not known.

Additionally, I am able to walk away, give up entirely, that which is not for me. Kind of like Sophie, and basketball.

This is my drive, this is the thing that wakes me at 4 am to compose blogs, not worried if they are read or earn me acclaim.  Truly, I will bang away on keys that simply click, to tell you, this love, a love that cannot fail, motivates me.

This God, whose ways are perfect, is for me.

Furthermore, He is for you.  This is God’s greatness is only stifled in the mind of those who have learned He is not who He says He is.  The jaded and weary believer who practices, diligently the works of an uncompleted faith walk, hoping to master, that which He conquered.

You are a winner.

Believing Him is the catalyst to move mountains, conquer every fear, and walk in the freedom of success.

This my friend, is what it is like to be entirely motivated by success.

Now then. no part was left undone, no armed warrior, ritual, or amulet is holding you hostage. Therefore, you are free to succeed. Go now, do what He created you to do.

Battle ready, covered in the blood, blood that succeeded and was entirely motivated by love.

Jesus be all over you.  Love, Jami

“Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let his Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life!”  James 1:22

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1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Cortez on February 23, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Great read… love the scripture at the end. I too had forgotten how much God loved me. I’m a work in progress….
    Stephanie Cortez

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