Why Do We Condemn Success?

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So, I have a problem with something. Why is it that when people try to better their lives, and then encourage others to do the same and reap the same rewards, they get accused for doing something wrong?

Someone told me about the “No Excuses Mom” (Maria Kang) recently and how there was some big to-do about her. I didn’t get it. Then I read about her,  and I really didn’t get it. When I read about her busy life and ability to maintain an awesome body with HARD WORK, I was inspired. I thought, “Dang, if I’m ever a mom I want to be like her. Actually, I want to be like her now.

“Get It”

To use a phrase my boyfriend and I use excessively both in and outside of the gym, she has a get it mindset. Meaning, she has a goal and goes after it. No excuses. Just hard work and a tough mindset, especially in the face of opposition. No Excuse Mom

She has other moms thinking she’s putting them down and trying to make them feel bad. I see a woman who worked her butt off – literally – to get to a place she was happy with, and wants to let others know it’s possible. She’s trying to help, and she’s being demonized. Yet she’s the kind of woman I can look up to. She’s gettin’ it, and she makes me want to even more.

Shortly after I heard about her, a guy we’d met on the street during Broken Hearts Ministry gave his life to Jesus. Then he started gettin’ it, in his own way. In a way that said Jesus is Lord, and I’m going to pursue him, change my life, and tell others about how drastically Jesus changed and saved me. What he told me was that those friends don’t appreciate his trying to help, and basically want to drag him back down to where he was. He’s trying to help, all they see is condemnation or a crazy person.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

What’s wrong with us? Why is it that when we should be inspired to greatness, we get bitter and tear each other down instead? Could it be our own weakness and insecurity? That when we see a high standard or different way of living being set, rather than face our own lack of greatness and perseverance, we attack and bring down those who are doing what we only wish we could?

I’m reading Heaven Invades Earth, and Bill Johnson says it brilliantly:

“Those who strive for balance become anemic. The word balance has come to mean middle of the road – of no threat to people or the devil, with little risk, and above all…the best way to keep our nice image intact…while we huddle in groups of like-minded people, those with faith blaze a trail that threatens all of our comfort zones. Faith offends the stationary. People of great faith are hard to live with. Their reasoning is otherwordly…We either become like them or avoid them. We find their lifestyle either contagious or offensive…there’s something amazing about unbelief – it is able to fulfill its own expectations. Unbelief is safe because it takes no risk and almost always gets what it expects.”

If we expect average, we get average. If we assume all moms should be out of shape and tired, we’ll aspire no higher.  We partner in our anemic mindsets, so when a Maria Kang comes along, we’re offended when we should be inspired. Or when a Bill Johnson comes along, we call him a heretic instead of being encouraged to pursue a supernatural lifestyle.

No Excuses.

Entrepreneur, Chris Brogan, titled his last book, “The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth”. The description  says, “Do you ever wonder where you fit in? Do you sometimes get that feeling that you have something much bigger to offer the universe, but then it fills you with fear and anxiety, so you think maybe I’ll just pay it safe?”

Jesus did not fit in. Maria Kang does not fit in. My friend Robert does not fit in. Yet these are the “freaks” that are shaking us from the doldrums and saying, “Hey, there’s a better way to live, and it’s possible!” These are the freaks that shall inherit the earth, refusing to play it safe.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of average and safe. I’m ready for those people who challenge me to a higher standard, so I can live a life worth living. Stop seeing a threat and see an inspiration. There’s so much more waiting for us, we have only to reach out and grab a hold. Get it!

 

 

Little Flowers. Big Concrete: a lesson in breakthrough

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When I chose the flower image in broken concrete for my blog, it was to represent finding beauty and goodness in unexpected and seemingly hopeless places. I love those kind of stories.

After choosing it, however, God keeps speaking to me about its other attributes. Such as – how does a tiny little flower grow in concrete? I’m sure you’ve seen it in a sidewalk somewhere before.

I found two answers to the question. 1) Those plants that grow through are incredibly strong. and 2) It’s not so much the plant is breaking the ground, but that the concrete breaks around the plant. Plants grow where there’s water, and water collects in edges of concrete, so roots will grow there until the force causes the ground to lift.

Why am I talking about plants?

Well, over the last few days I’ve been reading the book of Matthew and notice over and over that Jesus responds to faith, and nothing less. In his hometown where they didn’t believe in his deity, he performed no miracles. Where people begged him for his scraps, or asked only to touch his garments, they were always healed. They were desperate for what Jesus had to offer, and they had the faith to push through obstacles to get it.

I think many of us are like the Pharisees, who can’t see all that Jesus has to offer us because we’re so focused on what’s always been done, or how things are supposed to work. We let the reality we see overshadow the power of another reality – the Kingdom of Heaven. The one where all things are possible.

I confess that I often come to Jesus in desperation, but almost more of a desperate worry, begging him to help me out of some situation. It’s not the kind of desperate that believes that Jesus will supply not only my needs, but give abundantly, regardless of how reality appears.

My expectations are for what I think I need – the least of what I can get – rather than chasing after Jesus with a heart to partner in greatness. It makes me wonder – are our low expectations a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I decided this morning I was tired of “realistic” hopes based on what my world says is normal and achievable. I want to be like a little flower, seemingly insignificant and weak, but so thirsty for life-giving water that as my roots grow deep and wide in Christ, the powerful ground above me can’t help but break around me to make a way to supernatural ways of living.

Where are you settling for average? Or scared to ask in faith because of past or future disappointments? What area of your life needs you to lift your eyes up from potential pitfalls and set them on Jesus?

Let’s ask God today for a life-changing kind of faith that defies expectations. Look in his eyes, take his hand, and say, “Let’s do this!”