Avoiding The Dangers Of Success

Sometimes, the most dangerous things are the ones you’re not aware of.

This past week, I heard a great talk by Dr. Gary and Barb Rosberg on building a healthy marriage.  Gary shared about the quiet ways his early success as an academic and counselor slowly, but surely, hurt his marriage.  In reflecting on that time in his life, he said something profound:

“When you’re young, your gifts will take you places your character can’t keep you.”

My first reaction was to heed this as a personal warning, making sure my own ministry does not lead to pride, but I also believe it has wide application for healthcare students.  You are bright, filled with gifts and abilities that will lead to professional and financial success.  There’s nothing wrong with that; those things are gifts from God that can be enjoyed and used powerfully for him.

At the same time, Gary’s challenge is to make sure your character, often unseen, lays a strong foundation for whatever more visible success God gives you as you progress through your training.  Without that, your success will not be fulfilling or sustainable.  Instead of serving others and God, you can use your gifts for… you.

So, it’s good to regularly slow down and honestly ask God how you’re doing.  Are you taking the time to connect with him?  Is your life, albeit busy with studies (or residency), balanced with other people and things to the extent that it can be?  Have you made any moral compromises that need to be addressed?  Doubtless there are other questions you might ask, but these are a good start.

Let’s use the gifts we’ve been given and pursue excellence, but let’s ask God for the character to handle whatever success we achieve.

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About Bryan Stoudt

On my personal website (bryanstoudt.com), I help Christians follow Jesus in a noisy, broken world. I also have the privilege of helping Philadelphia's healthcare students and professionals do this as Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA). More information at cmdaphiladelphia.org. On a personal note, I'm fortunate to be married to my wonderful wife, Sharon. Together, we have four fantastic children. In my spare time, I enjoy roasting coffee, running, reading and learning foreign languages.
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