Oct 1 Meeting Recap: Defining Success by the Choices I Make
In our third meeting, on October 1, 2015, Ridge MOPS heard from Merrill Bonarrigo – the co-founder of Messina Hof winery. Merrill spoke about how we define success, something that can be challenging for all women, but especially hard for stay-at-home moms who may not have the feedback from supervisors or annual reviews that many of us were used to in our careers before mommyhood. When was the last time your 2 year old said you were doing a good job? But is that how we should be defining success, anyway?
Merrill began by acknowledging that success will be defined differently by each person and we will
redefine success throughout our life. The achievement of success is the result of the choices we make. Sometimes choices are big, but usually they are just the minute by minute quick decisions we make which will be the result of our core values and priorities. Little decisions add up to be big things. In order to achieve success we must define our core values – what is essential versus non-essential in our lives. These core values become the filters through which we make our choices.
To identify her core values and priorities, Merrill turned to John 15. According to Merrill, Jesus made it simple: “I am the Vine, My Father is the Vinetender… I am the Vine, you are the branches.” From these verses, Merrill identifies and prioritizes the authorities in her life. Merrill shared a tool with us:
- Who are your authorities? List 3. For Merrill, her authorities are (1) God/Faith. (2) Her husband. (3) Work. (Notice, although she is a devoted mother, her children are not an authority. She is an authority over her children. She challenged us with the question – are we spending time leading or following our kids?)
- Define what success looks like for you under each authority.
- Essentials needed for successful core values. For example: An essential for success in Faith is daily Bible study and worship. The core values needed to achieve this success are perseverance, self-discipline, and humility.
So, what does this mean for you? How can you apply this? This week, we’ll hear from Ridge MOPS Table Leader Taylor Claiborne on what Merrill’s talk meant for her and how she has been trying to apply this to her daily life.
It is really easy for me to say that my authorities in everyday life are God and my husband (in that order), but when I truly think about my day-to-day relationships and actions, I know I let other people, circumstances, and kids come before God and my husband at times.
In John 15:1-2, Jesus says, “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
I have been praying this week that we all find some peace in knowing that God is constantly “pruning us”. He is cutting off and trimming all the characteristics, thoughts, and actions that are not pleasing and serving towards Him and His desires for our life here on Earth. For me, I immediately picture all my weaknesses growing out of my head and God sitting there with those oversized gardening scissors and quickly cutting them off before I do or say something not so pleasing! I hope we also find peace in knowing that He wants us to be more like Jesus and more like Him. He wants us to flourish, to live lavishly, and to find time to rest!
The hardest part about verse 2 for me is the reality that God can’t always cut our “unbearing fruit” off of us before it hurts someone we love. Which means we have to go through some not so great times, be it large or small things in life, in order to truly be pruned, truly be challenged and truly be molded into the image of God.
This week, I have tried to be intentional about living under the authority of #1 God and #2 my husband. I am hoping I can avoid the chaos that comes from trying to respond to all other things in life that I let be an authority over God. I’m not going to lie – at first I thought, wait aren’t my children an authority in my life, where do they fit in? Then the light bulb went off… No. I am their authority and they are my priority 🙂
In John 15:5-6, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
In this chapter Jesus uses the phrase “remain in me” multiple times and goes on to use “remain in my love” in the following versus as well. When Jesus starts repeating phrases, I always try to pay attention! Some translations use the word “abide” which means accepting or acting in accordance with. This goes back to making God our authority in life. Abiding or accepting Jesus as our savior and remaining in Him everyday.
The best thing that happens when I abide in Christ is the comfort of knowing I am enough for Him just as I am. I can always tell when I let my husband, kids, or work become a greater authority than God because I usually start to feel dissatisfied and unappreciated. Not that my husband, kids, and work don’t bring great joy to me because they absolutely do! But let’s be honest – our husbands could compliment us all day, praise us for all that we do, change all of the kids’ poopy diapers, and it probably still wouldn’t be “enough”. The truth is our husbands or our kids were not designed to be enough for us. Perfect peace, comfort, and satisfaction were designed by God for us when we place our complete faith in Jesus and choose daily to commit our life to Him.
At first glance I wanted to skip over verse 6, but it is a very important verse. The “branch” Jesus is referring to here is people like Judas, the disciple that betrayed him. (Remember he is speaking to them right before he knows he is about to be arrested and crucified.) Judas walked with Jesus, talked like Jesus, but at the end of the day when it really mattered, his heart did not choose Jesus as his authority. Therefore he was like a branch thrown away and withered and burned in a fire.
And, I just asked my husband to proofread this for me, so looks like I have some accountability here!
Taylor is married and mom of two, and an Austin native. She is the table leader for the Orange table.