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The Saturday Stoke #2

The Saturday Stoke #2

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 he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
— Theodore Roosevelt

On April 23, 1909 Theodore Roosevelt, after spending a year post-presidency hunting in Africa, gave a speech at the Sorbonne in France at about 3 p.m.

In the preamble to the rousing string of words you just read above, Roosevelt called out the critic who loves to flaunt their intellectual aloofness and attack people for doing things he or she has never tried.

To criticize is not a show of superiority, but of weakness, said The Lion, which is one of many nicknames for Roosevelt.

What’s the message here?

It’s simple. Stop listening to the critics.

You can do it—whatever “it” is: parenting, college finals, grad school, or the project your boss said would never amount to anything.

When you and I dare greatly, we tell the world, “Hey, this is important to me and it’s valuable for others, and it is worth the fight.”

The world, however, wants you to give in, to fold, to go home and put your feet up and watch something stupid on Netflix. But you know better. You know there’s plenty out there worth fighting for.

And you know what? Maybe it’s not a project or college or parenting, maybe it’s just getting up in the morning, putting one foot in front of the other, and plowing through another day. That qualifies for “being in the arena.”

Daring greatly, is about overcoming. Every obstacle we face in life, every set-back, demands our resolve. We will not give in. We will stay in the fight.

But why?

Maybe this kind of grit that I’m getting at comes from our brother, the Apostle Paul who told the Roman Christians in the first century that we are more than conquerers. He wrote that because Christians faced persecution to the point of death.

But the reason for perseverance was due to the fact that God loves us. And nothing, especially a critic, can step in on God’s love.

The grit of the Christian does not come from a Tony Robbins speech, or from some philosophy about pulling up your boot straps and getting it done. No!

The grit of the Christian is rooted in the eternal God, and the assurance that he will never leave us nor forsake us, and that his love is stronger than the ocean tides.

God’s love pulls us through life. Not positive self-speak.

If you need a reason to stay in the game, my friend, or to weather the storm at work or to bear down and grind through some wilderness times in your marriage, don’t look to the world’s philosophy. Because the world will tell you to do what’s right for you.

But a heavenly perspective looks past the me-centered culture of our world, and looks to the love of the Father. Not because his love will give us what we want, but because his love will give us the strength to endure hardship, pain and suffering, and at long last, overcome.

Stop listening to the critics, my friends. They don’t know your plight. And don’t listen to the world’s version of git-r-done. That’s an invitation to self-centered success.

Rather, invite the love of God into your life, and let it give you the strength you need to overcome.

There’s no silver bullet for perseverance.

But there is a choice: look to your own strength, or lean into God’s love. One will show the world how great you are at overcoming, and one will show the world who you lean on for overcoming.

The choice is yours.

Stay stoked my friends.

Photo by Thanh Tran on Unsplash


Listen to The Saturday Stoke #2

Fighting for Our Minds

Fighting for Our Minds

Get Stoked

Get Stoked