Overcoming the Mirage of Power and Success
By Dagan Sharpe
I recently had the honor and privilege to meet and interview baseball legend Darryl Strawberry. He has achieved great fame and success in the sporting world as a four-time World Series winner.
He is also well known for his various struggles off the field. Today, he is a champion of encouragement to others and leads a powerful Christian ministry.
During our interview at a men’s conference hosted by my church, he shared how no matter how many games he won, how much fame he achieved, how much money he made or how much professional success he achieved, none of it could quench the thirst and emptiness he harbored deep inside.
Truth be told, many of us can relate to this struggle and the weary search for fulfillment. Although we might never have the heightened platform of a Darryl Strawberry, we do have our own platform, which is just as real and just as relevant – it is our story, our life.
Why so many continue to chase after “things” to satisfy is mind-boggling – even for those who should know better. It’s like a constant nagging that’s hard to escape. We manipulate and poison our thinking to believe our positions, power, possessions, platforms and prestige are what make us successful in life – and that without these things we aren’t truly relevant. We falsely estimate that these things will heal our hurts and keep us safe from rejection, but naturally this never proves true.
These lies are ancient and tell us our self-worth is determined by our net worth. Obviously, there is a thread of validity to this. It would be foolish and naive to say the world doesn’t acknowledge fame, money and power. However, ultimately, these things are mirages. They can’t satisfy beyond a certain extent because they all expire.
We all know what it’s like to have something new and for that “new thrill factor” to eventually wear off or wear out. Then it’s off the next thrill, chasing another temporary thirst quencher that will never satisfy us long-term.
My two books, Highways End and Full Disclosure, share in both a fiction novel and nonfiction narrative my own struggles in this area. I write about these things because the struggle is deep and extremely personal.
For those who have had the lie and myth that power and success will make you happy shattered, it’s nearly impossible to keep that fact to ourselves. We discover we have to write about it, speak about it and do all we can to help others avoid the trap.
I believe a “wounded warrior” knows best how to relate to another bruised brother in a unique way and that a “weary wanderer” knows the desperate plight of a restless heart.
I am convinced the beautifully broken make the most impactful leaders, because they lead with compassion, sincerity and sacrifice. They seek to reach beyond themselves to genuinely benefit others.
May we all be so bold as to break free from the falsehoods of material success and reach for something greater – to help others who are broken, beaten and bruised.
We can all do this in our jobs, hobbies, families and communities by making it how we live, empowered by a living legacy that lasts far beyond the grave and any money, titles or possessions we might have acquired along the way.