There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. I John 4:18
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was inspired to write a post on challenge, from a new blogger friend that has a great blog that challenges women for twenty weeks to move forward in their lives and overcome whatever may be holding them back. Here is the URL to her site:http://vision20project.com/. I looked up challenge in my 1828 Webster’s dictionary app and found a great definition. Challenge: Literally, a calling, or crying out, the primary sense of many words expressing a demand, as claim. The above quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an awesome thought. He is talking about stepping out of our comfort zone to do something maybe significant in our lives, and then significant in others’ lives. Challenge is what brings spice to life and if we allow it, we can build our faith stronger when we challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zone. Dr. King stepped so far out of his comfort zone he lost his life, but what an impact he made on his world around him and at such an important time in history. He never backed down and he was peaceful in all his demonstrations and never used violence to make a point. It’s always the fleshly way that seems to be the easiest to make an impact, but it’s met with negative consequences. There are three things that keep us from challenging ourselves and there are three things we can use to motivate to challenge ourselves, it’s your choice.
Fear is the first hang-up that keeps us from trying something new or making a change in our lives. Fear is the lies the enemy uses against us to make us think something bad will happen if we follow the calling God has given us. One of my fears that enemy tried to use against me is the idea of how foolish I would look with an oxygen tank next to me when I was working out. I rejected that thought, moved forward, and decided that I would rather continue to live than to die not being embarrassed. In retrospective I can see now, I was not embarrassing myself, but inspiring many people who witnessed my weight loss week in and week out. The calling on my life was to lose the weight and find significance by that weight loss. Following our calling is the answer to moving past your fears. The hang-up is your fear, the motivation to move forward is your calling or dream that God has given you. Step out of that comfort zone.
The next hang-up is that of comfort. When we are comfortable the enemy wants us to stay put in that comfort. Down here in the south we have what’s called comfort food and we enjoy it when we are dealing with difficulties. In general, there is nothing wrong with comfort as long as that is not your only motivation and that you don’t make it a lifestyle. For me I would always eat comfort food to feel comfortable when I had to deal with issues in life. The interesting thing is when you stay comfortable for so long you will get uncomfortable. That’s what happened to me, I gained a bunch of weight and my heart was having difficulty dealing with that massive size. My body was crying out to me to take care of it, feed it properly, and exercise it. Crying out moments are those motivating moments when you know you have to do something to change or there will be dire consequences. Comfort is the hang-up that will leave us in place, crying out is the motivation to get us to change or else.
The last hang- up is convenience. We don’t like to be inconvenience and we love convenience. Fast food is a great convenience I would take advantage of, but it aided in making my fear and my comfort, in keeping me in place. I find that these same three hang-ups can still have a great effect on my life today. Convenience is another thing we seek after and when we find it, we want to stay with it. The danger is that we can’t allow ourselves to be inconvenienced which is heading outside of our comfort zone. Claiming our calling and dream is the motivation to move us past inconvenience. I claimed I wanted to be healthy and stay healthy, so I made the decisions to make that happen. One of those things was the convenience of fast food. Now I still will eat it on occasion, but for the most part it’s not an everyday occurrence and when I do, I choose healthier items. I clamed I wanted to be athletic, so I made choices as in walking to start for one step, then elliptical machine for the next step and finally running long distance. I like to quote my Associate Pastor Dan; he said that if you allow yourself to be inconvenienced for 15 minutes for someone, you could be that person’s angel. Convenience is a hang-up, claiming is the motivation to see yourself past the hang-up.
Fear, comfort, and convenience are hang-ups and de-motivators that slow our progress toward the challenging and fulfilling the life God wants us to have. Motivate and challenge yourself by allowing your calling, crying out and claiming to spring you forward. The verse above states that love is the key to moving yourself forward. Using love in each of these motivators will get you to where you need to go. Love God and His calling on your life. Love yourself and listen to your crying out, whether it’s your body, mind or spirit. Finally love yourself and others by claiming the calling on your life by passing on the wisdom you learned to get to the next level.
[David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.