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“So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:4-6).

When most people envision success they often conjure images that for all intents and purposes would describe the destination and overlook the journey. They see a place of rest that has no evidence of strife, struggle or confrontation.

The definition of success is not the same for everyone as we don’t all share the same goals and desires.

Despite the fact that similarities abound and the foundation of the premise is consistent, everybody of water does not look the same but, each of those respective bodies of water are wet to the touch. Success in some form is a relatively universal aspiration.

Because we don’t give enough consideration to the journey, we set out and often find ourselves literally in the middle of nowhere unable to even see our perceived destination in sight. It can feel like an unbearable desert with only a mirage in the distance.

When we see people that we consider to be successful, their accomplishments often cover up the painful scars that they have accumulated along their journey. The biographies and biopics often gloss over the broken relationships and lonely nights. There’s often no mention of the emotional lows and feelings of failure.

The ballerina dances beautifully and it takes many years to make something so difficult look graceful however, underneath the alluring image of success are painful scars accumulated along her journey.

Success can truly be a painful journey but if you remember that God is your strength, your healer and your provider, no matter what type of pain you’ve endured, the journey is not as hard.

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Dr. Claybrooks, M.D., is one of the youngest board-certified Metro-Detroit spine surgeons among the elite African-American surgeons in the United States who specializes in complex spine surgeries and is author of “The Black Student’s Guide To Success.”

How Proverbs 3:4 Reminds Us Success Can Be A Painful Journey  was originally published on