It's pretty amazing to me, at least in some ways, the emphasis on money to judge someone's success. I see this even more so now that I live in Northern VA.
To me, money is a need to live but it is nothing more than that. God can and will provide for my needs.... above and beyond our needs, He promised to bless those that love Him.... Even within the church, people still seem to believe that this blessing will always (or should always) be in the form of money.... but there is nothing that supports this idea.
Recently there has been a lot dumped on me by people telling me that I am not applying myself. People telling me that I have more potential and I could really excel in many areas of technology. Sure, this may be true.... but what does it mean to excel? This is where the incredible difference comes into play. My idea of exceling is accomplishing my goals, including the goal of helping others. My salary does not reflect on me exceling. In fact, my salary really means nothing to me other than whether I am able to live or not. I know I could be making more.... I knew that only a few months after starting at Carpathia. Only 7 months after starting at Carpathia I was flown to Texas for an interview with Dell. Those interviews went incredibly well and it was for a job that I would have really enjoyed. Dell went into a hiring freeze but was told that they definately wanted to hire me.... later, I dropped the pursuit of that job. I'm stupid, right? That depends on what logic you judge me by. By that point in my life I had begun being involved more and more in my church. The things that I was doing for New Life were important to me (even back then I really wasnt doing THAT much -- nothing like now, anyway). I had to really question what was important to me. I chose to be a part of New Life and not move away. Also at that time, there weren't any issues with Carpathia and I really enjoyed my job there. It seemed that I was appriciated there even tho my pay was not even near what the market value was. It didnt matter to me. I was able to accomplish things that I want to accomplish -- I was able to server God in ways that I would not have been able to had I accepted any of the higher paying jobs that were on the table. Recently, the same has occured even with working at MFC.... But working at MFC is awesome because of the freedom that I have in scheduling.... I can be at my church's office when I'm needed. I can really take time to focus on the things that are important to me.... taking the ideal job for most people would be a failure on my part. Working 9-5 would destroy my ability to do the work at New Life and this isnt an option. This is why I turned down the job that was offered to me that almost doubled my salary. Stupid, right? Again -- depends on your logic and how you judge success. To me, I am proud of the decissions that I have made and I believe that I am happier where I am now than if I accepted a job making $70k.
The other thing that has recently been happening is this issue of moving again. I end up in this situation where Keith wants to move to Gainesville but its really too far away from me and it would raise my costs. Could I afford it? Probably.... but there are issues.... if there is a long commute for me, that means less that I can actually be working in a day. My response times for both MFC and New Life would be decreased. Costs would go up not only for rent but also for my gas tank. I've decided that I need to stay in the Herndon/Sterling/Dulles area. Combine this with the above paragraph and a money issue arises. I need to be able to afford my own place now.... Ok, so I screwed up, right? Well, yea, you guessed it -- what logic are you using? Staying in this area means being able to do more things that God wants me to do... and in that, He will provide.... and already He has opened a huge door. I have an option of moving back to the Leesburg area and renting off of a family. My rent will go down. It is a little more of a drive for me than Herndon but its not Gainesville and the extra costs in gas are made up and then some by the lower rent. It's not officially decided what is going to happen at this point but the evidence of God opening a door is there. Even if Keith and I would decide this week to stay in Herndon, I have seen the faithfulness of God.
Bottom line is I am happy where I am at. There isnt anything wrong with $100k salaries... and I'm human and would certainly enjoy having a salary like that. But with higher salaries come additional costs. In my case, so far, the cost has been limiting me with my visions, my goals, and my desire to serve God. This is not a cost that I can accept and in making a change like that would certainly reduce my happiness -- even tho the natural human logic says I would be happier with more money. Happiness and success should not be based on how much someone makes. Happiness is something deeper than any shallow human situation. Success is something that is only in the eye of the beholder. I dont care if I am viewed as successful. What people think of me is becomming less and less important to me. To me, I will strive to do my best but I will not measure "my best" on how much money I make. I may not be the role model Christian.... I may not be a role model anything.... but I am doing my best and striving to be better. It's my hope that this is what my friends, family, etc would judge my success on.