My friend Sunday tells me I’m ambitious. And for reasons unfathomable to her, I hate it. Not only do I think its an inaccurate description, I find it distasteful. I’m not ambitious. I’m the by-product of parents who taught me that dedication can’t always compensate for natural talent, but it can come awfully close. And since I’m lacking in the “naturally talented” category, it’s necessary to do everything I can to compensate.
I think the problem is that people confuse achievement with ambition (I run the risk of sounding awfully conceited here, so if you’re not a friend and you’re reading this -please don’t write me off). I’m been able to accomplish a few things in my short life, but not because I have some great desire to take over the world (or even a great desire to be noted. I once told a beau – “If one of us has to be famous, I’ve decided that it can be you”). Instead, I feel compelled to make the most of the opportunities that God has granted me. Hopefully, I’ve served Him well.
What amazes me is that people think that for some reason I won’t relate to others who have been given different opportunities. Achievement is measured in all sorts of ways, but most of them don’t mean a thing. Money, power, status, all of that is just fluff. The things that really matter are the character of a person’s heart, how they treat other people, and what they do with their time here on Earth. If they’re here to make a difference and to glorify their Maker, than those are the people that I can relate to. And those are the people I tend to surround myself with.
People who have artistic talent aren’t usually described as ambitious, but they amaze me. Whether it’s writing a song, creating a movie, designing jewelry, or painting a portrait – people who can give expression to emotion and cause others to participate in their experience have talent that few possess. When they use this talent, you can say they are being ambitious, but you’re probably more likely to be impressed by their achievement. That’s because they’re just doing what God’s created within them a desire to do. I hope it’s the same with me. The outcomes aren’t nearly as notably beautiful in my chosen vocation, but hopefully their impact is just as great.