Labels are a funny thing.
My son is an excellent student (label). Anything he tries to do academically, he does well. I’m amazed by the way he can open a book and tune out the world.
I have never been good at reading (label). I would try and try and I could never stay focused enough to finish a page. This meant I would constantly read and re-read the same paragraph multiple times. It was super frustrating.
On the other hand, I’ve always been really good at math (label). I remember being in 2nd grade, in the extended learning math group, with my friend Will doing double digit multiplication and taking timed tests. It was always a great time trying to see who could get further or get the test done faster. I loved it.
Unfortunately, I cultivated a destructive tendency. If I was good at something, I loved it and did more of it…if I wasn’t good at something, I hated it and chose to not do it unless I absolutely had to. Over time, I simply choose to “just get by.” I never challenged myself. I never did more than the bare minimum. For a long time I thought my “middle of the road,” “do enough to squeak by” approach was just my personality. It wasn’t. I had labeled myself as something and believed the lie that I was nothing more or less than that label.
A couple days ago, I was talking with a friend of mine about my role at The Gathering. We talked about our lives and tendencies and quickly realized how alike we truly are. Both of us struggled in school. Both of us did just enough to get by. Both of us chose to ignore things in our lives that didn’t come easily.
There was one glaring difference between us: He had moved beyond his label and I had made excuses.
A little while into our discussion, he said something I’ll probably never forget. “You are always cultivating something.” It was at that moment I realized I had cultivated apathy in every crop of my life. Apathy was my label. In my marriage. In my relationship with my children. In the ministry. In friendships. Everything was just good enough to get by.
I don’t want to cultivate apathy. I don’t want to just get by. If Jesus died so I can live and have abundant life…then why am I content with mediocrity?
I share this in order to say: I will no longer be apathetic about people, relationships, Jesus, and things that I see as difficult. It’s usually the difficult things that are worth doing well.
I encourage each of you to challenge yourself daily and allow God to move in your life even when it seems impossible to do so. Cultivate Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.
Love God, Share Jesus, Make Disciples.
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