Chapter 12 – Ambition

by Shelley Noonan

Hey there!

Is it just me or have we good Christian girls have been taught to believe that ambition is sinful so we must avoid it at all cost? Strains of “the meek shall inherit the earth” from my high school musical and “blessed are the meek” waft through my mind and can lull me into some kind of an apathetic stupor if I’m not careful! What’s a girl to do with this cocktail of ideals, ambition, and dreams? Should we even attempt to put our dreams into motion? How am I to avoid the snare of being über-ambitious?

Mabel Hale explains, “Ideals are mental pictures, which, without the aid of ambition, and that stronger characteristic yet, purpose, would remain upon the walls of your mind until they faded away with age and would never change the course of your life.”

Doesn’t this quote make the topics of Ideals, Ambition and Purpose clearer for you? This week you and your daughter will be discussing ambition and the intentions that fuel it. Heart motive is what makes the difference between Good Ambition and Bad Ambition. Here is what I have come up with and I think it will help you sort out how to discern the differences between the ambitions in your mind. The Bad. The Good. The Godly.

Bad Ambition’s motive desires to achieve for glory’s sake. Self gratification and self interest are the motives that drive this particular ambition. Women who have this type of ambition have been known to go to any lengths in order to feed it. This kind of unholy aspiration can easily morph into ugly self righteousness and even into something brutal, aggressive and ruthless.

Good Ambition’s motive is to be useful and a desire to be a benefit to others. This type of ambition is driven by the desire to be the best she can be and it motivates our daughters to work and labor and study so she can advance. It becomes an internal motivator. A girl with godly ambition will applaud for the others who achieve and be happy for their achievements.

Godly Ambition’s motive is to know God and glorify Him in everything we do. This type of godly ambition strains for the goal of knowing Christ, gaining Christ, being found in Christ, sharing in His sufferings, and becoming like Him in his death and this ambition is not a job or a task but is a relationship with a person. (Phil 3:8-14) The motivation check is this; does ______ help or hurt my relationship with Christ?

Ambition is a powerful force in our lives.  As you and your daughter travel through this chapter in Beautiful Girlhood and  The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood, let’s purpose together to discern, with the Holy Spirit’s help, what is driving us to do the things we do. This inner discernment of motivations will help you guide your daughter down the path of beautiful girlhood and avoid so many pitfalls of ungodly ambitions.

Staying ambitious for Christ alone,

Activities:

  • In your quiet time this week. Read over the life of Saul and the transformation of Paul in Acts 9. It is an amazing before and after snapshot of a man filled with ambition. When he was Saul you can literally feel his desire to crush anyone who was a follower of Christ leap off the pages. Miraculously, his “bad ambition” was abruptly challenged and changed to “godly ambition” with a gentle why question from Jesus. Let that same why question wash over you as you take time this week in prayer to consider the root motives of your ambitions. Allow the Lord to tenderly ask you why

Memory Verse:

Philippians 3:6

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ.”

Post and Ponder:

  • Do you struggle with ambition? Do you want to be the best at something?
  • Does your daughter struggle with ambition?
  • On a personal note, in everything I do such as writing this Bible study for you ladies, writing bibles studies for mothers and daughters, and speaking, I have to check  and recheck my motives. My focus continually has to be trained on the Why rather than the What. Why am I driven to do a particular project? Is it for the project’s sake or perhaps is it the glory that I find appealing? Or am I doing this project because this is what the Lord wants me to do. My prayer continually has to be that my goal is to please an audience of One every time I sit before my keyboard, every time I prepare for a speaking engagement, every time I serve. Those sneaky hidden motives like to hide from my hearts view. Continually, I have to sift through my motives to discover if they are pleasing to God or not.

How about you….do you sift your motives? If you can’t…He can.

Psalm 19:12
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.

Psalm 26:2
Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;

Proverbs 17:3
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.

 

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