I was looking at our house one day shortly after giving up my job and I was struck by something. What keeps us from giving everything we have to something? What keeps us holding back? Why do we sometimes refuse to become who we were created to be? I looked at my bedroom and my wife and I were sleeping on the floor on our camping mats. We have since upgraded to a queen size air mat but at the time it was camping mats. Why are my family and I selling the majority of our things and moving away from everything we know and everyone we love? What are some reasons that have kept us back in the past?
I think one reason that I have held back is fear. I have a disability so as a result I am unable to do some of what I have done in the past simply due to circumstance. I have worked with people that insure they wont succeed. I must admit that I fall into this category myself sometimes. We make it a point to not move forward and be able to be successful. Does this sound at all familiar? It doesn’t help when we are surrounded by people who tear us down and don’t help us to succeed. We sometimes do what is known as a self fulfilling prophecy. We believe that we won’t succeed so strongly that we insure our preconceived notion that we won’t succeed. A good indicator of a self fulfilling prophecy is after our attempt we say something like, “See I knew I couldn’t do it”. The problem with this way of thinking is that we are guaranteed not to be successful if we proceed in this fashion. Our actions will always follow our beliefs. We have a chance of success if we try. If we can see that the one who said “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” means what he says, then maybe we won’t feel quite so alone.
Fear is so strong that I am often amazed at how we live in this free country and we limit ourselves. We find ourselves not wanting to stand out and blend in, we find ourselves not wanting to make waves and compromise. We have this desire to be strong in something. There was a time after my accident that I would cry out to the Lord and ask what my purpose was. I would beg Him to tell me what he had in mind for my life. I feel that the Lord impressed upon me that I was asking the wrong question. It isn’t what my purpose is because that puts the focus on me and not on God. I felt the better question to ask is what is the best way to serve you God? This desire to be strong in something and to want to blend in with the people that we are around can’t exist together.
With the two choices of blending in and standing out what are the outcomes? If we blend in then we have to follow what everyone else is doing. Now the “everyone else” can vary dramatically and what they do can change greatly. If we blend in we are required to compromise ourselves. If we take a stand then we are saying that something is wrong. If we say something is wrong we often are inevitably hit with the idea that we are narrow minded. For us to be narrow minded is viewed as negative. I am not very sure why because truth by its very nature is very narrow, two plus two will equal four. There can be no other answer. When the math teacher stands up and teaches that equation he is never told that he is small minded.
The other thing that is common is when someone takes a stand for what the Bible says. People often say that the person taking a stand believes that they are better than someone else. I often wonder if this reaction points to guilt. For someone to argue that one person”s decision to follow something that the Bible states is true and that they are somehow saying that they are better than another is not logical. The Bible clearly states that His law is written on our hearts Rom 2:15 so for the other person to feel guilt would make sense.
If we stand out we are leaving our self open to ridicule and attacks. In fact depending on how radically we stand out we can leave ourselves open to many kinds of attacks and make no mistake, they can hurt. It would be easy to ask “Why would anyone want that?” I submit that it is so much better to be who we are rather than settle to make someone else happy. Some of us have conformed for so long we don’t even know who we are. There was a time in my life when I could not be myself due to ability and when that option was denied me there was nothing more that I wanted. I have a special appreciation for who the Lord has made me to be now. One other part of being who we were created to be is the feeling of fulfillment. We are filled full, complete, content and satisfied. There is the fear, but when we overcome it our victory in the Lord is so sweet.