Defining Success

If I could tell 18-year-old me one thing it would be to wait.

I spent so much of my HSC stressing about my “career” I made myself sick with stress, vomiting every month in the lead up to exams. At that time, I felt like success had to look a certain way - a high profile job, mixing with A-listers whilst living in a very trendy apartment in an exclusive suburb. But now at 29 I look back on my stressed-out younger self and wish I could show her how much more fulfilling her life could become.

My job is to recruit foster carers and adoptive parents who are willing to provide safe, caring environments for some of the most vulnerable children in Sydney. I feel like I have been placed in the most special role and most supportive organisation. Every day I hear of great stories of foster parents who are helping the children in their care grow up with determination, purpose and hope in their future. I would have never pictured myself doing this. I didn’t even know in high school that marketing for non-for-profit organisations was even a thing! But my role isn’t just a 9-5 job. It is a role that reflects God’s heart for His people and reminds me of this verse “Learn to do right; seek justice, Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17

I may not have the trendy apartment or the a-list friends but I do have so much more. I have a great team of colleges who share the same goal of helping the vulnerable in society. I have a nearly 1-year-old boy who thinks I am his whole world and I have an amazing husband. So, I would just tell my 18-year-old self to wait because I wouldn’t want to spoil all of the wonderful surprises that will come her way.

Maybe you are an 18-year-old feeling the same pressures I did. My advice remains the same - to wait. Wait on God and give your plans to him. Lots of money, popular friends and raging social lives is not what God defines as success.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.” Psalm 130:5

Written by Esther Stewart

Church and Community Engagement Facilitator - Foster Care