You Can't Win if You Don't Play
Sunday as we dove into our "Double Dare" series, we spent our time laying the foundation for the challenges coming up in this series. Our goal is for everyone in our church and in our "listener-ship" to take one of the dares we are about to lay out over the coming weeks. There's only one problem:
There's going to be conflict.
The reason I say this is a problem is because, by and large, we are conflict avoidant and conflict averse. We are slowly being conditioned as humans to avoid conflict at all costs. Whether it be the ever growing list of NFL concussion protocols to protect players, or the rampant divorce rate bolstered by the assumption that if there is conflict in marriage something is wrong; we have never learned how to cope with conflict, much less embrace it and grow from it. So it may surprise you to hear what I am about to say:
Growth can't happen without conflict.
The very nature of growth carries within it the idea of being stretched, pushed, or challenged. It is the fight against that conflict that leads to growth. Conflict can come from a lot of places – family – friends – false accusations – bad situations and bad circumstances – but how you handle them makes all the difference in the world. And yet a common temptation in challenging times is to simply feel like a victim of circumstances. We can lose all sense of having choices, and simply decide to give up. America has shifted from a culture of opportunity to a culture of victimization… from potential… to passivity.
But if you avoid all conflict, you never grow.
In our constant effort to avoid conflict and trials and to blame everyone else for all of our problems, we are unwittingly the authors of our own suffering. Because the greatest suffering comes not from conflict, but from lacking the ability to deal with the inevitable conflicts that arise in life.
Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite presidents to read about. He was far from perfect and far from put together. But if this man could do anything, it was endure conflict.
In 1832, he was defeated for State LegislatureIn 1833, he failed in a business endeavorIn 1835, the girl he loved diedIn 1836, he basically had a nervous breakdownIn 1838, he was defeated for Speaker of the HouseIn 1843, he was defeated for CongressIn 1846, he was elected to Congress, but in 1848, he lost renominationIn 1854, he was defeated for SenateIn 1856, he was defeated for Vice Presidential nominationIn 1858, he was defeated for Senate...againIn 1860 he was elected President of the United States
Abraham Lincoln faced conflict, and every challenge made him stronger. I love this quote attributed to Lincoln that sums up my point:
"Success is not letting dead ends kill you." (Abraham Lincoln)
So here's my point. You can't win if you don't play. And when you play to win, sometimes you lose. But if you don't play, you never win. God has plans for your life, like it or not. He wants to use you to do great things. But those plans will involve challenges, setbacks and conflict.
God's best for you will not always feel the best, but it will always be the best.
Are you willing to fight for God's best? Are you willing to face conflict? It's time to get in the game. Because you can't win if you don't play.