Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Take the Step; Get into 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 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 and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming..." John Leach

How many of us hold onto the criticism of others so tightly that it hinders us from continuing forward into what God has called us to do? Or possibly worse yet, how many have shared their dream, their vision, and developing passion to be shot down before ever taking that first step?

"The credit belongs to the man (or woman) who is actually in the arena..." There will always be critics. Those who would rather tear down and point out fault than allow someone else to succeed. We cannot allow them to be the ones who determine our value (or lack there of.) We can however, look at their words through the light of the Truth and ask God to reveal if He is asking us to change anything. If He is; may we follow His lead. If we find no truth to be in the criticism; we MUST LET THE WORDS GO.

It is amazing how we can receive so many words of affirmation and praise; but the one critical comment has the lasting sting.

This is one of those posts that I have begun to write several times but the timing just didn't seem right. God has released me to post it now.

Today I pray that God will use this post as the person who is waiting off to the side. The one with the water and the rag to wipe your brow. "Press on! Keep your gaze up! But also remember to keep your guard up."

"There is no effort without error or shortcoming..." It is o.k. if your human state has made an appearance. Accept God's love and grace toward you. Humbly make things right if there has been wrong done. Stand strong in who God pronounces you to be and get back into the arena.

If you have not yet stepped into the arena; don't let the idea of one "whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." deter you. Those same things that have brought the dust sweat and blood; bring peace, a sense of purpose, and fullness of joy.

Time is up. Take one last drink; you can do this.

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11 (NIV)

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 (NIV)

"But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Mark 8:33 (NIV)

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21

"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

I am praying for your strength to be renewed.



Kristen said...

A very timely post, Shanda! I enjoy your thoughts and writings; so true how the one stinging comment stays in the heart longer than all the praise. Right on about getting in the arena! I hope you are enjoying your time with family! love, Kristen

Sue said...

We were just discussing this very topic last night with my nephew who at 24 yrs old is struggling to figure out his life, after years of being put down and criticized by his parents. My hubby & I tried to encourage him but how sad the damage that has been done by those critical words. We pray Jesus will touch his heart and allow him to see who he is through Jesus' eyes so he can move forward in confidence.

Again, thanks for such incredible insight and teaching! I love reading your blog :-D

Anonymous said...

Loving this post ~ Good word ~

Anonymous said...

I love that John Leach quote.
Such wisdom here, Shanda, in how to deal with criticism. Thank you.

Warren Baldwin said...

Good post! If we are following Christ in this world we are definitely in the arena! And we will have our share of sweat and bruises. If we are on the sideline, we need to make a decision lest by default we make one we will wish later we didn't. Good admonition.

Gretchen said...

Oh...there is so much to learn each day, isn't there? Well done. Lurve the scriptures and the quote. Happy July, Shanda.

cheryl said...

please pray for myself and my spouse. Cheryl and Les. Pray for marriage reconciliation. Pray for him to come home to his family who love him.

Shanda said...

I will be praying for you & Les. Thank you for posting your request. God is a God of restoration. Rest in Him and His truth.

Blessings to you sweet sister.


cheryl said...

Thank you God is leading me to keep my faith strong and to keep focused on God. Sometimes the waves get too strong for me. But God is always faithful to be there for me.

Shanda said...

I wanted you to know that I am praying daily for you & Les. Blessings to you as you look to the Lord. Isaiah 43:2-3a

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

3 For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;