What do these two words have in common? A while ago I wrote a blog about failure and success. In that blog I cited a quote from Winston Churchill: "Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." I like that quote. It mirrors in many important ways my experience over the past few years. And it seems to me that the oft-quoted saying in Christian circles that we just need to be faithful in order to be a success seem rather flat and empty. It seems there's more to being a success than just being faithful.
One key to success, I think, is our attitude. We need to continually have God's perspective on the events of life. I know, easier said than done. This is where the word enthusiasm comes into the picture.
Recently I learned something about the etymology of the word enthusiasm that makes the quote by Churchill seem even more inspired. While relaxing at a home by a lake, I saw a plaque on the wall that wasn't the usual Christian "kitsch." I abhor kitsch. I don't like to have what everyone else has. This plaque simply stated the definition and origin of the word "enthusiasm." I had never learned this before, and it's really neat.
Enthusiasm comes from the Greek enthousiasmos, and this word is composed of the prefix <en> and the word <theos> with suffixes.!.! Now I know there are a few Greek scholars out there who know that theos is the Greek word for God. So the word enthusiasm comes from the Greek "in God." So enthusiasm means "an exalted or ecstatic feeling, and someone who is enthusiastic is
"inspired by God" or "possessed by God." Wow, I was blown away when I saw this.
This is even more meaningful to me because the way I usually respond to people, to God, and to what's happening around me is enthusiastically. Even though I've had some of the wind knocked out of my sails over the past few years and my enthusiasm has waned as a result, I normally respond this way. Isn't it neat that God continually has a way to refresh my soul and bring me up from the pit of despair, showing me more about myself and Him in process.
So here's my definition of success: live a life inspired by God and possessed by God. Do all things with enthusiasm, even when they don't work out as I had hoped.
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