A few months ago, exhaustion and confusion sent me to some older, wiser women for prayer. We talked about how driven I’ve been all my life to succeed and really make a name for myself. When did this fight to climb the ladder begin?
Even in first grade—six years old!—I remember the thrill of winning an award for my writing. The other children crowded around me on the play ground, wanting to have a look at the girl who won. At that moment, I felt like somebody special. I felt like I belonged somewhere.
I remember thinking that if I could just keep winning, perhaps I wouldn’t be lonely. That six year-old girl still cries out, “Love me! See me! Accept me in your club!”
It was a rude awakening to admit to those ladies that I love being a success in this way; that I love feeling superior, more influential, more important, and more noticed than everybody else. I cried about what a fool I’ve been; about how I transform into a false self that’s more interested in self-promotion, twitter re-tweets, blog followers, book deals, and my platform.
I want to be free. I want to cut loose all those tethers that feed pride and self-exaltation. In my teaching. In my writing. In my blog. Would I abandon these public pursuits if God asked me to? Could I (and would I) lead a deliberately more hidden life?
If you’re a person driven to success, if you’re always striving to do more and to accomplish more, then I encourage you to read the rest of Holleman’s piece, “More Than a Sabbath: My Fast from Ladder Climbing.” It certainly challenged and encouraged me.