It took me several attempts (eight to be exact), but today I found out I placed first in a weekly writing contest. In previous entries I’ve had a 2nd place win and an honorable mention. I was determined to get the top prize for two reasons: I’m a little competitive( the good kind, I’m my own main competition) and I strive for excellence in the things that are important to me and writing is my love. The best part of this achievement isn’t about “bragging rights” or checking off another goal, it’s that I didn’t give up. I could have settled for 2nd place, but I knew I had a 1st place in me. So, “I kept my eyes on the prize” until the prize was in my hand.
This past Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent. For those who may not already know, Lent is a 40 day period prior to Easter, in which Christians and others choose something to sacrifice and focus on drawing closer to God. This something can be a food or drink such as sweets, sodas, or alcohol and/or television, electronics, or social media. Whatever equates to a sacrifice for you personally.
I believe we can learn a lot from this Lenten spirit of sacrifice. In a society that “wants it all” It is important to make note of and remember that reward does not come without sacrifice.
We have to be willing to give up something(s) for our greater good. It may be time, a hindering habit, wrong attitude(towards others or self), or it may very well be a somebody rather than a something that we have to release.
What are you willing to sacrifice during this season and afterwards? Remember: no sacrifice, no reward.
We’re cautioned to refrain from dwelling on the past. For the most part this is sound advice. Focusing on the past can be a hindrance in moving forward. I have learned though, that it is sometimes helpful, even necessary to look back.
When we are facing a road block in our life, recalling past obstacles that we have faced and overcome can give us the fuel that we need to keep moving forward.
Life is a series of battles- some won some lost. Sometimes it seems like we are fighting a never-ending losing battle. In these times, remembering previous victories and/or lost battles that we thought would be the death of us, but that we bounced back from, can resurrect our hope and strength.
Sometimes it feels like we’re moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to achieving our goals. A quick look back can reveal to us just how far we’ve come from our starting point.
When you’re running on empty, feeling discouraged, or having doubts, look back then keep driving forward.
Normally I am not a Falcons fan, but since my team wasn’t in it, I pulled for the South. I have never been a Patriot’s supporter, but I must give honor where honor is due.
Tom Brady and team were the epitome of “keeping their eyes on the prize” and “fighting until the bitter end.” The Patriots trailed most of the Super Bowl game and many began to count them out. They didn’t let the doubts of others make them doubt themselves however. The team stayed in the game both physically and mentally. Just when we thought they were down for the count, they made a comeback.
Not only did they win the Super Bowl, but they made history thrice: this was the first time a Super Bowl game went into overtime, their 25 point deficit was the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, and Tom Brady became the 1st quarterback to win 5 Super Bowl titles.
Lessons learned: Don’t doubt yourself, doubt your doubters, Don’t give up no matter what it looks like right now, and it’s not over until it’s OVER.
The first week of 2017 is ending. Resolution makers are you still resolved? Goal setters are you still striving? Hopefully you were able to start strong and are happily on your way.
Normally it’s not the start of something that is problematic, nor the end of it, but it’s the middle part that is difficult. We start strong, we know what our desired end is, and we have a plan on how to get there, but……….
- Naysayers say this
- Negative thoughts take over
- What Ifs pop up
- Obstacles try to block us
- Time seems short
How do I get past the ‘middle stuff’ to make it to the finish line?
- Tune those naysayers out or politely tell them to shut up
- Conquer those negative thoughts with positive thoughts, prayer, and affirmations
- Ignore the What Ifs; You know that there are not many guarantees in life, but if you do nothing, you are guaranteed not to succeed
- Lean on your defense (God) when the obstacles try to block you; He will get you around them, over them, or through them
- Any productive time applied towards your goal is better than no time, so prioritize and manage your time wisely
Remember “the race is not given to the swift nor the strong, but to the one who endures to the end”(Ecclesiastes 9:11). Stay in the race!
Peter locked his eyes on Jesus and began walking towards him; now these weren’t any ordinary steps he was taking. Peter was walking on water (Matthew 14:27-29). Can you imagine the awe he must have felt, to be walking not in, but on water? This laws of nature defying moment was short-lived however. The wind began to pick up and fear and doubt overtook Peter. These co conspirators caused him to take his eyes/his focus off of Jesus and he began to sink.
There are times in our lives when we are charging full steam ahead towards a goal, fully focused on its achievement, only to look around at the faces of doubters and hear the voices of naysayers. Then that dynamic duo fear and doubt gain a chokehold on us, paralyzing us.
In the case of Peter, Jesus didn’t let him sink. He stretched out his hand and caught him. Likewise, He will not allow us, his children, to sink either. Keep your eyes on Him.