Feb 8, 2008

fearful tactics - pt 3

What are you prepared to do to make a real difference in this world?
When was the last time you fought with your last ounce of strength - mental, physical, whatever - to a d v a n c e the cause further down the field?
Or do you find your fear of getting slammed in the face prevents you from risking it all in full press?

Sometimes this fear causes us to settle into a life that appears to be alive but is really just busy.
I've found that many people will rise up when they know they need to. Parents will find strength to invest into a sick child even when they're out of energy... breadwinners will uncover perspective in tough tensions that keeps them going to work even when they want to throw in the towel... and so on. This is basic survival, and often such moments default into instinct.

What about when you don't feel you "need" to, though? How about those times when you can safely sit in your own little E-Z chair and watch the paint dry (and no one will think any less of you)? Where is the edge when you have concluded that "this line" is about as far as you'll go?
  • "I know I could spend an extra amount of effort with _______, but..."

  • "I feel good with the amount of ______ I'm giving to God, so..."

  • "I probably can cut back on _______ but it really isn't a sin, thus..."
  • "I can't see resolution with ________ ever to be possible, therefore..."
Is this really where we want to end up? It's real easy to "settle" for what's comfortable, but this is really just a fear tactic.
A few Mondays ago I was bugged by this thought and I called an audible for our Monday night lead team to meet at "Buffalo Wild Wings." Normally we meet in our warehouse meeting space (where we gather on Sundays), but it seemed like we needed to be around people... to get back into the "GO" spirit of Matthew 28.
That... and I had a hankerin' for some wings.
Another reason we did this, though, was because it's hard to talk in a place like this. There are TV screens all around, trivia games, flashy neon lights, music, chatter, and so on. For me it's a reminder of how hard it is for the average person to concentrate on God and how we shouldn't presume otherwise. Way too many times the brightest theologians have the dimmest bulb about this, and sadly I've been one of them at various times in my life.
This is why I am perhaps a bit odd in my choice of where I place myself. Last summer it was hanging out at a Harry Potter book release party and tonight it was Buffalo Wild Wings. There have been several other instances in between, of course, but I like the contrast. We have to constantly put ourselves in new place with people we don't know (as well as though we think we do) or else we remain stuck in our own conclusions.
So here we were about to dig into our staff meeting, pray over requests, discuss strategic things, and so forth. In the backdrop Hulk Hogan was kicking off American Gladiators via the TV set, which is a bit of a laugh in itself.
Then suddenly the room became quiet - I mean, like two gun slingers about to make a move on each other quiet. It was eerie - we couldn't figure out why.
Soon, though, we learned that one of the Gladiators - her name is Siren - was in house and her scene was on the tube. Apparently a muscle gal in spandex carries a certain measure of respect in a room of wing eaters, as well as she should.
So even though at our table we had no idea what was going on, our voices quickly quieted. We looked around, started to whisper, and wondered what was up. Until we got the facts right we believed it was probably something to do with gambling... that satisfied the question marks in our head, and we would have left thinking so even though we were wrong.
That is, until I bumped into Siren. First it was a poster in the men's room, and then in person. We even got a picture... not because I wanted one, but because that's what you're supposed to do when you bump into a spandex wearing muscle gal in a wing eating establishment. I asked her some questions about the writer's strike has benefitted her show, and she said "Quite nicely."

Afterward I found myself paying a little more attention to the TV show in recent weeks. Here's a gal whose job it is to stop people from advancing down the field... her role is to intimidate and defend against others from scoring. Accordingly, the Gladiators on the show get quite a wild reputation for being hard competitors.
Then there are the contestants... and I think the reason we cheer them on is that even with a chaotic opponent facing them down they choose to charge ahead. While most of us can't relate to that, think about that person in your life who is a continual discouragement to you... a boss, professional peer, neighbor, family member, old friend... and how they try to intimidate you with this and that.
I wonder... how do you respond when this kind of stuff happens? Do you decide the cause of goodness is worth charging ahead on or do you fall by the wayside? Maybe like me you've been in situations where it is a choice to walk into a certain environment and yet at the end of the day... as hard as it was... you achieved a little victory simply by showing up.

Your life is meant for significance, so don't shrink back when the critics from afar or up close seem larger than their "be-littling" words. Prepare for the great task you have before you, for if you can be faithful in the small you may be given more to care for down the road. Advance the cause of God and His goodness down the field, simply by being the most faithful "you" He's made you to be.

Here's something to chew on...

The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith

  • People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

  • If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

  • If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

  • The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

  • Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

  • The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

  • People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  • What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

  • People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.

  • Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

This, by the way, is why Jesus is my hero.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)


Robert said...

book of Hebrews really puts a spotlight on Jesus ability to be the perfect man He was and why He is who He is.

Excellent tony!!! Jesus gives a whole new perspective to public enemys song *fight the power* love and peace are 2 of the strongest weapons of all drop by my place like to hear your take on my post about satan happy weekend dude

Tony Myles said...

That is such a great 80's/90s reference... didn't see that coming in connection with Hebrews.