Are You in 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 them 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, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

I first read this quote in Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. And it struck me so deeply. It convicted my heart to step back and check myself and also gave me a good excuse to ignore the critics.

The critics can feel crippling sometimes.

You know the critics: people who have a whole lot to say about what others are saying and doing but they’re not doing much of any of it themselves. These are the self-proclaimed judges. The ones who think they know it all. And maybe they know a whole lot, but when it comes to putting “it all” into practice they don’t have hardly any experience.

So, what does this have to do with being healthy?

Well, a whole lot actually. It touches deeply on mental and spiritual health which actually affects physical health more than we realize. Knowing that God is the only one true judge can take the pressure off from the critics. They’re not going to go away, but that doesn’t mean we have to listen to them. Jesus Christ died for me and you so we don’t have to fear judgement. We don’t have to fear the critics.

Because their opinion doesn’t matter.

Often we have judgements crowd our thoughts as if they are on repeat. And they can pull us down just as much as the critics.

I might invite for you to ask this question:

Who told you that?

And if the answer isn’t God, then drop it because it doesn’t matter.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says,

“We pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.” (GNT)

God’s opinion of you is what matters. And actually, He thinks you’re pretty awesome. He made you perfectly you know. We don’t have to strive to be perfect, do all the perfect things, and have our life together like the Jones’s. That is us trying to please the world and our own selfish desires. We just need to please God! That’s it!

And if we focus on that, all the things will fall into place. Not that it’ll be perfect, but we’ll be honoring Him in our messiness. And that’s what is truly important.

So, are you in the arena? Or, are you a critic on the sideline?

What’s holding you back from living? Life is short and the time to live is now. Step into the arena my friend!

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