There are two ways you can experience the arena, one as a spectator and one as a participator. The perspectives are totally different. As you know by now, God talks to me with pictures, this morning in church I had a picture of an arena and felt and saw each perspective. If 2017 is to be your best year yet you will need to engage. Engagement requires you to jump in, take risks and do some stuff.
Back to the arena…. The view from the seats is scary and fearful, it smacks of risk, uncertainty and danger. So the seat give a sense of security. There is a sense of involvement, but without the risk. We have all sat on our armchairs watching a game, from that perspective we may have some expert opinions how the game or players should play the game and we may even be quite vocal about it, but that is as far as the involvement goes. In reality we are not really “in the game”. When the spectator’s looked on they are excited to cheer or boo from the safety of their seat, having a sense of being involved, but not engaged. It is easy to be a critic when you sit in the seats.
When you are standing in the middle of the arena there is a very different perspective, you don’t have the luxury of far sightedness, often you can’t see the move that can blindside you. But this morning the picture I had and it has often been my experience, this is where the miracles happen, this is where you see situations go from hopeless to glorious in a moment. This is where if your eyes had to be opened you would see the many angles ready and waiting for instruction, ready and posed to fight. We are not in this alone, this is where you feel alive. This is where you learn how to trust your God, this is where you learn to artfully use that “bow of bronze” He has been so skilfully teaching you with every little fight you leaned into.
The realisation for me is that the better choice is to be engaged because this is where I get to see incredible things, to experience what every soul wants, evidence of His presence, goodness and power. This is actually a place of peace in the midst of chaos.
It is rarely seen from the spectators viewpoint, from that point of view it looks like chaos and luck in play. Why do we stay in the seats:
Fear and Distrust – we are afraid that we will lose something or everything, if we leave the safety of our seats, we are afraid of who we think God is, we are afraid that we will lose our life. We will, but we lose the half life that always leaves us wanting and when we truly take that leap of faith and jump in we get to really experience life as we were designed to enjoy it. It is in the midst of the arena that you truly get to know your God, and those who know (intimately know) their God will do mighty exploits. Don’t trust what you have heard about Him no matter the source, He is a relational God, lean in and get close. He is waiting, He is longing.
I am not enough – we each have a deep sense in the core of our being that we are not enough and in a sense we are not. Until, that is, we surrender to who we were originally created to be, mask off, beautifully incomplete. As we jump in we are covered by armour that has been handmade just for us, a breastplate of righteousness, we are enough because of what Jesus did, a belt of truth, a helmet of salvation and a sword that makes it’s way through the chaos and leads and guides us like a light. We are born to be more than conquerors, we are born to step into the arena, not because we are great, but because when we partner with the God who is more than enough, we are designed to shine and light up the world. This is why he created us in His image, we are to reflect Him. We have to take off the clay mask of our own sufficiency and be who we really are, plugged into Him we are a blinding light that drives out the darkness. We become beacons of hope and love, but we have to stop hiding behind the mask of “I pretend am good enough” or “I am better than you”.
What if – When we “dare greatly” and leap into that arena we will be facing a torrent of “what if” arrows, what if I fail? What if I can’t? What if I die? What if… Well, check your quiver, and fire back some arrows of your own. What if you succeed? What if you can? What if you make a difference to one person and that has a ripple effect?
One of my favourite quotes from Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly says it all, it is a
quote from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech Citizenship In A Republic.
The Man in the Arena
“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 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.”
The whole point of being in the arena is not whether we win or lose, whether we are great or not, the point is that life is about living and living is about being engaged, it is about risk and standing for something, life is about Daring Greatly. It is scary, of course it is, but we don’t have to do it alone. Join us…
What does “jumping in” look like for you today?