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When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon in Judges 6, he called him a “Mighty Warrior.”
At the time, Gideon was far from a mighty warrior, in fact he was in hiding from his enemies, but God saw what Gideon could become if he took action towards his calling.
“But how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
He chose to define himself, not by how God saw him, but by his own insecurities and perceived limitations.
It’s not an unusual response.
I’ve met many people who knew, or thought they knew, or suspected they that knew, what they were supposed to do with their lives.
In his iconic western, High Plains Drifter, Clint Eastwood’s character chastises the town of Lago with these words:
“You don’t want your shops or houses burned.
You don’t want your women touched.
You don’t want anything to happen.
Except you’re afraid to do anything about it.”
There are people who consistently perform at a phenomenal level.
The standard that they have established for themselves over the years is one of excellence and they are recognised and respected for their professionalism and brilliance.
Of course, every now and then, they make a mistake or momentarily drop their standard, but those who know them understand that this is just an exception to their usual standard.
Then there are those who perform at a much lower level.
They aren’t renowned for anything other than average, they don’t try particularly hard and no-one expects anything remarkable from them.
Doing good deeds can be a messy business; far messier than seems necessary.
Some people won’t appreciate your kindness.
Some people will be oblivious to your efforts and not even notice your actions.
Some people will attempt to take advantage of your generosity.
Some people will be rude to you or complain about your good deeds to others.
There will be times when you feel inadequate to make a difference when the challenges are so great.
Carousels go around and around, always ending up where they started.
Our kids used to love them, but after a while they got sick of the monotony and wanted to get off.
As with many things, the ride is fun for a while, until we realise that no progress is being made.
So, if this year looks a lot like last year (and the year before)… get off the carousel.
If you keep using the same excuses for not making progress towards your goals… get off the carousel.
If you have been in the same dead-end job, doing nothing meaningful with your unique skills… get off the carousel.
There will come a day when I’m old and grey.
My back will be sore and my gait will be slower.
I’ll be less capable and my mind won’t be as sharp as it once was.
On that day, I’ll have a few moments up my sleeve to sit and ponder my life.
Will I be proud of my achievements?
Was I the best husband and father I could be?
Entrepreneur and prominent environmentalist, Sir Richard Branson, recently shared a story on his site about Gumption, a local businessman and turtle advocate from the British Virgin Islands.
One day, when he was coming in from a tour, Gumption noticed that a fisherman had caught a beautiful hawksbill sea turtle.
Without hesitating, Gumption purchased the turtle (which was otherwise destined for someone’s soup bowl) for $50 and released it back into the sea.
It may only be one turtle that he was saving, but Gumption had reckoned that this one turtle has the opportunity to lay hundreds of eggs over the course of its life, possibly making it a key contributor to the saving of this critically endangered and remarkable species.
You’re an army of one.
It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s enough.
You have more power than you thought possible.
You can make a massive difference in the world.
You can fight the good fight.
You’re responsible for your own actions.
When solving a crime, police look for suspects with the motive, means and opportunity to carry out the offence.
Hopefully, there aren’t too many career criminals reading this blog, but I know that there are a lot of people who are looking to maximise their lives, so what does motive, means and opportunity mean for you?
Motive – If you can find the right motive or reason for doing something, you will gain the passion that you need to do the work, push through your obstacles and stay disciplined when you don’t seem to be making any progress. Read the rest of this entry »
Spanish poet, Antonio Machado once wrote:
Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more;
Wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road– Only wakes upon the sea.
I’ve met many people who are waiting for a clear indication of what they are to do next with their lives, and to be honest, I’ve been that person myself.
That time is over.