By Athena Brockman
The greatest tragedy in life is not death; it’s a wasted life.
How are you living today? Are there things you want or need to say “No” to more often? Are there things you wish you could say “Yes” to more often? Discerning the best yeses and the most important noes is never easy.
The sacrifice of a soldier, the discipline of an athlete, and the generosity of a farmer are rare qualities, and they certainly aren’t easy to develop. They take daily, intentional practice for most of us. Even the most successful in these areas struggle with resilience. In fact, our cultural love of the underdog story reminds us that His path for us is not designed to be easy, for the elite or the beginner.
When we realize that we are called to sacrifice comfort, to have the discipline to win, and to live generously, our yeses and noes can become a little more clear. When we evaluate our decisions and our actions based on whether they align with His call for our lives, we can trust that we are not wasting the time God has given.
We often praise the stories of the well-decorated soldier who almost loses faith in the cause but remains loyal, the superstar athlete who nearly quits but remains determined, or the fifth generation farmer who endures a decade of meager harvests but remains hopeful and generous. There are more movies, books and songs than we can count describing the amazing stories of survival, restoration, and triumph. When we hear of them, we are in awe and yet we often assume our own stories would never amount to anything similar.
But, what if our stories COULD be those that inspire?
Most of us are underdogs in some way. Sadly, we can get too comfortable with our position, accepting the lie that we are the perpetual underdog who may never rise to the top. But, in 1 Corinthians we are told,
“To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best.” 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (LB/NCV)
We are made to do our best. We are made not to waste our lives but to live them to the fullest for His glory. We are made to follow the clues to our gifts and to practice the sacrifice, discipline and generosity it takes to cultivate them, to rise and to win.
“In a race everyone runs, but only one person wins the prize. So run YOUR race to win!” 1 Corinthians 9:24 (LB)
This life is YOUR race and yours alone. It’s not a race against your neighbor or coworker but a personal race to fulfill the purpose God has for your life.
So, what keeps us in the seemingly more comfortable underdog category, what keeps us from taking the steps needed to win? FEAR. We have fear of failing, fear of potential consequences, and fear of the sacrifice, discipline and generosity our purpose requires.
We live in fear of the risks rather than in faith of the riches He guarantees.
For the soldier, the athlete, the farmer, and for all of us, God promises to provide what we need. He promises our efforts will be multiplied a hundredfold.
“I guarantee you this: Anyone who gives up anything for my sake and the Good News- whether a home or a family member or property-will get more than that back, multiplied a hundredfold, and in the world to come they will be given life forever!” Mark 10:29-30 (NIV)
With this guarantee, we cannot sit idly in fear, or sit on the bench not even fighting for a spot in the game. We only get one race, let’s not waste it.
Sharon Irving, a Christian speaker and artist, recently shared some personal growth from her time on ‘America’s Got Talent’ by encouraging us that although we are fearful, we can still take action and, “Do It Afraid.” We could all use more of this motto in our lives.
Do it afraid, do it uncomfortable, and most importantly, do it for His glory.
How can you add more sacrifice, discipline, or generosity in your life this week? What is the next step in running YOUR race well?
Click Here to listen to Brave Faith Project Pt. 5, and share with us where God is leading you this week.