What Is Success and Why Do We Want It So Badly?

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by Precarious Yates

Cheers to the impossible, and all the tears it’ll take to get there! 

Except, I don’t know where ‘there’ is. Some best-seller’s list? A successful movie?  

What is success and why do we want it so badly? 

Contrary to that title, I don’t have an answer.  

Maybe I long for justification? 

Do I want success to justify what I love to do? Do I want success to justify what I feel called to do? 


Those He predestined He also called, and those He called He also justified, and those He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:30) 

I’m sick of wrestling with the thoughts that I’m full of selfish ambition. 

I want to go forward, not backward. I want the freedom to know I’m not doing the wrong thing. I don’t mean the moment to moment wrong thing, I mean in the grand scheme of things, the big picture. Am I headed on the wrong path? 

In the latest book I wrote, the main character counseled her husband over and over again: bide your time, honey, bide your time. I probably need the advice that came from my own hand! 

But bide my time for what? What’s the end game? What’s the purpose? 

Drive can be a best friend and a ruthless enemy—one of the most ruthless enemies! It can help us finish a project. It can keep me up way past my bedtime and steal health, sanity, fortitude, relationships. 

I haven’t wanted to blog anymore because I don’t have the answers. I just don’t. I don’t want to pretend to have what I don’t. I don’t even have conclusions. Just questions. All I have are questions. 


Is this for real? 

Will I be stuck in a cycle of failure? 

Most who will encounter that last question will try to redirect with different questions: 

What is success? 

What have I succeeded at already? 

Isn’t contentment beautiful? 

Intelligence is beautiful, right? But only if it’s used for good. In this day and age, the question of good and its answer are so ambiguous and nebulous (kind of like this post). It changes with fashion. The lack of its absolute makes ‘good’ so frustrating. 

But really, “good” is simple and concrete. 

It’s loving God and loving others. 

It’s caring for widows and orphans in distress. 

But how? How can a person do that with writing? 





John 15:8 has this interesting and powerful verse: “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” 

If we continue to do what God has called us to do, even when it doesn’t make sense, any measure of success brings Him glory. 

Stories can transform people, and stories can transform culture. Think of what change the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin brought. Forrest Gump completely transformed the way people in America treat those who have lower IQs. 

And success usually comes in the form of monetary compensation for our work. Sometimes God tests a person’s faith through poverty. And sometimes God tests our faith by giving us resources—and lots of them. Our response to either situation can either enhance our selfishness or bring God glory. 

This post may have seemed all over the place, but perhaps a few of you have struggled with the same things I have. Maybe you’ve been hacking away at this writing thing for a decade or more with only the trickle of fruit to keep you going, a dangling carrot just millimeters beyond your grasp. Like when I try to reach for something on the top shelf and my fingers push it further away with each attempt. All the while, so many others are achieving wild, stratospheric success. 

If you’re on this same wave of thought as me, not wanting to complain, but at the same time constantly trying to achieve what seems impossible, then let’s take some time to encourage each other. Post a comment of encouragement to others on this journey. 


Cheers to the impossible! And all the tears it takes to get there!

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.


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  1. Tara

     /  November 27, 2017

    I am absolutely right there with you. What happens when you have a longing and desire that God placed in your heart, and it’s not.met? Or if it’s not being met does that mean not NOW or not at all? Drive to do big things comes with a high price. Like you said. I guess only time will tell (as non-comforting as that is) and all we can do is keep pressing forward, even when our questions don’t have answers. Blessings to you.

  2. Brenda

     /  November 28, 2017

    My. Thank you, my sister.

  3. Rebecca Caudill

     /  November 28, 2017

    If you think writing needs justification, try IT. I have struggled and continue to struggle with the Kingdom value of my skills and talent offering. However, I find comfort in just having faith that God will use it; I just keep on keeping on.

    Rebecca Caudill

  4. Carolyn Walker

     /  November 29, 2017

    Great thoughts, Sarah. You expressed what lots of people feel. I think if God has truly put those desires and words in your heart to put on paper, He will reward your faithfulness and
    persistence. Marketing and audience desire for the product with a target audience in mind is huge. Have you talked to Lauralee Bliss? There are many people who have been turned down many times, but finally get success. Chicken Soup for the Soul guys and Colonel Saunders (Sanders) KFC stand as examples of persisting past NO. Persistence and believing NO means Next Opportunity is key. Part of my problem is lack of perseverance and day by day consistency. Maybe even some unbelief and being sure this is part of God’s plan for me. There is a lady I am going to ask to help me keep my feet to the fire. I need to follow my own advice to you. Questions can be good. Is writing your dream or God’s is the most important question. Everything else revolves around that. I must say I enjoyed reading your musings and enjoy your daily posts on Facebook which have a humorous tone to them. One more thing to consider is timing of life. These maybe some of your questions. Keep seeking answers, be faithful and consistent until the only NO you hear is definitely from God. I will pray for you and ask you do the same for me. Who knows, maybe even your questions are bookworthy. I keep trying to think of the ladies who made a living writing hilarious daily life happenings in the newspaper. (Erma Bombeck or her Christian counterpart who wrote hilarious books.). I have never purchased or read any of your books, so I am writing you with some ignorance. Maybe writing for a Christian magazine is an answer. Only God knows. You are asking The Right Person. Best wishes​, Carolyn

  5. Carolyn Walker

     /  November 29, 2017

    Sarah, I may have posed questions or answered something you were not even asking. Sorry if I gave you a long treatise on something about something with which you are not concerned.
    Sherry Davis answered you in a nutshell with a wonderful answer. Wanting to hear Jesus say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” is our ultimate goal. By the way, the name of that Christian writer is Patsy Clairmont. #342 is a great accomplishment.


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