Why do you suppose Olympians often crush their “personal best” under the most intense competition of their life?
Not to mention their personal best was probably the world’s best before diving into the pool or settling into the starting blocks.
They are pushed to perform.
The competitor in the next lane is critical to their success. The cheering crowd plays a role too. Like it or not, we need a little push. And maybe an energy boost from the onlookers.
Wise King Solomon in Proverbs tells us, “Iron sharpens iron.” And those who sharpen us push us to seize God’s best.
Who is your iron pushing you to seize God’s best?
Five years ago, I didn’t know my iron. My husband was iron-ish in my life, but I needed a woman in a lane next to me to push me to greatness. Whether I wanted it or not, I truly needed the grit and grind, iron on iron, of a positive, challenging relationship. I was fortunate to find my iron at the Igniting Souls Conference. I didn’t need hundreds of irons, I just needed a couple, and God gave me several.
But first, flashback, I was scared to go to Igniting Souls. I doubted if I had what it took to be an author, a leader, a coach. Guess what? I didn’t. I didn’t have what I needed until I challenged myself to get what God told me I needed.
Have you ever made a challenging decision?
A choice you know will challenge you beyond what you think is possible? Yeah, me too. It seemed impossible, or scary, or like something other people did, but not me. And now when I look back, when you look back, you’re thankful you made that decision. Thankful you put yourself in the starting blocks.
However, once you clear the tape from that race, the temptation is to coast.
You’ve changed. You’ve accomplished and grown so much; the stretch marks still smart. You’d like to give yourself time to heal, to catch your breath, to relax. You’re tired of “stress.”
But what is stress?
Merriam-Webster describes stress this way:
A constraining force or influence: such as a state resulting from a stress especially: one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium
“Factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.” I like that.
Complacency gets you nowhere.
However, as humans, this is the state we desire. We choose comfort over stress every time. I know I do. But where does convenience get you?
What if, instead of viewing stress negatively, we flip our beliefs on their ear and use it to move us forward toward God’s best?
Start to welcome the splashes from the competitor in the next lane. I think it’s time to alter the existing equilibrium.
If you’ve followed my blog, you know a bit of my story. I’ve had my existing equilibrium challenged. When my husband revealed his pornography addiction, that altered my current stability BIG time. And I hated it. BUT, looking back, it was the impetus for health in our personal lives and marriage. The challenge, the push for health and honesty is a painful race, but one that’s made us stronger, healthier, happier, and able to help others training in this race called life. Our strength, our iron sharpens both of us.
How do you strengthen your ability to seize God’s best for your life?
Choose your friends wisely.
It matters who you surround yourself with. You need people who hold themselves to a higher standard and willingly do the same for you. They don’t accept your excuses but challenge you to see how your words and actions don’t correlate. I knew the decision I made to join a business mastermind group would push me into a new level of growth. These people are world-changers, not content with the status quo.
While many of them are kicking my butt, they inspire me to push beyond what I believe is possible. Who does this for you?
Identify your passion.
My coach asked me, “If money were no object, what would you do every day for the sheer joy of doing it?” Another way to think about this is, what makes you get out of bed every day? I’m an introvert, so I don’t get jazzed by being with people all the time.
But, allow me to meet with someone one-on-one, listen to their story, and encourage them to seize God’s best, I’m energized! Three years ago, I wouldn’t have said I loved coaching. Today, it’s what gets me up each day, eager to do life with my clients.
Stop chasing money.
As Chet Scott, my coach’s coach, says, “Meaning trumps all.” Listen to those who inspire you. Rarely will they talk about the money. Instead, they tell you about the meaning, purpose, or passion behind what they do each day.
I know you need money to survive. I get that. But, if you chase money, people smell it. Chasing money doesn’t inspire authenticity. And that’s a race you won’t ever win (or finish). If your desire is first to serve, to make a difference in someone’s life for their good, you’ll have everything you need to survive. Here’s what Paul of Tarsus said,
Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.
Where’s the iron in your life? Who’s pushing you to seize God’s best in your life?
If you can’t list off one or two heart-pumping, fist-bumping friends or colleagues who push you to be your best, here’s your permission slip to find one. It will make all the difference in your every day and all your tomorrows.
If you need help, please reach out. I promise to listen without judgment and help you take the next step.