I’m not much of a downhill skier (sorry to bring up snow…as if it were winter). But when I do hit the slopes, I’m never content with staying upright. If I don’t end up in a heap at some point on the hill, it means that I’m not pushing myself. I hop back up and jump up to the next degree of difficulty. If I’m not falling, I’m not getting better (and it’s not as fun).
Of course, most failures in life have much higher stakes and can cause deeper hurt. But I believe that when we make decisions that require faith and sacrifice on behalf of the Kingdom of God, Jesus will meet us in them. In fact even when we “fail” by human standards, he can use that failure to multiply the fruit of your life. Jesus says essentially this in John 12, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.”
The things God has called you to sacrifice for are worth it. In fact, if you are living a Kingdom life, there’s a good chance that you have been wounded by people. But don’t let those wounds keep you from taking risks again. They are your battle wounds. By them, we know who the heroes are.
I discovered the following quote in a book I highly recommend by Brene Brown called Daring Greatly, but it’s actually from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but [the one who deserves the credit is the one] who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
So keep it up! Dare greatly! And together, let’s live lives that require faith, risk, and sacrifice.