Today at The Gathering we continued in our current series, “The Power To Prevail: Turning Adversities Into Advantages.”
Today we talked about taking stress, something we all experience as long as we’re alive, and turning it into strength; something few us seem able to do because we don’t know how.
There is one odd thing about Christianity that needs to be corrected. And that is the view that, what Christianity is about is salvation and the next life. The truth of the matter is, the redemption that Jesus died to achieve is an eternal redemption of this life and the life to come, no matter what it may be.
No matter how much we try to focus on heaven, none of us can comprehend what eternity will be, or how it could possibly be better than the best life we have in the here and now, with all of our friends and familiar things around us. But the truth of the matter is, we’re not called to focus on that, or to completely understand something that we have no way of comparing or experiencing in the present. Our calling is to live.
I’ve discovered my job as an agent of change, as someone who fosters hope and inspires action, is to remind people not that they are going to die, but that they are not dead yet.
So we looked at the greatest Christian who ever lived, the great missionary Paul, and his analogy of life with God as a race. We learned some specific things: one, that we’re all in a race and that there is a goal. Though there will be rewards at the end of the race (that is, in heaven) not everyone will be treated the same way. Some people in heaven will lose their rewards while other people will gain them. There will be recognition for those rewards. How this all works itself out is a topic for another day.
We also learned that the race is specific to us. It is a particular race. We have to define what our own win is. My win is being a speaker for God, fostering hope, leading change, and inspiring action. But using my gifts to write, to speak, to motivate, to lead, to organize, to gather, and to move people forward is my win. This may not be and probably isn’t yours. But you need to find one and define what that is.
All of us want to live a great life and turn stress into strength but we just don’t know how. So what I did today was gave a learning tool called STP.
1. The “S” stands for self-discipline, which means we make ourselves do what we’ll be glad we did in the future; not just what we want to do in the present.
2. The “T” stands for training, which isn’t just showing up and trying, but it’s preparing ahead of time. Remember that the will to win must always be preceded by the will to prepare to win. Preparation is everything. Even though a hundred-yard dash lasts only 9 seconds or so, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours are put into the preparation for that nine seconds.
3. The “P” stands for perseverance. Perseverance is pushing through in the quitting moments when all the odds seem to be going against you. It’s getting up one more day; getting up, suiting up, showing up, doing the next right thing, and doing that thing with everything we have as though its success all depends on us, while at the same time knowing that all the success we achieve will depend upon God.
Next week we’ll continue with number seven in our series, “Turning Risk Into Reward.”