Greatness verses Mediocrity: Determine to Go the Extra Mile!

woman-running-23 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 NLT

Our culture is in great need of heroes, stories with sacrificial endings, inspiring lives of those who strain after all that is good, beautiful and true. I consider my work of faithfulness a success when, in the hidden moments of life, I hear and see my children making hard choices--the choice to work hard to pay their bills, the choice to be moral and cultivate integrity in a world that gives permission to compromise, the decision to stay faithful in places the world or others would say "give up."

Some time ago, I was asked,

"Sally, I want your advice."

“I have a great son, who is responsive to me and loving—but he is spending 6 hours a day playing computer games! My friends told me that is normal and just to leave him alone and know it is just boy stuff. What do you think?”

This from a sweet and intentional mom that I met last summer.

We live in a pretty mediocre culture. The voices of our culture in this contemporary world will most always give you permission to compromise your ideals, give up on commitments, escape the hard work, go the easy route. “Oh, they will be just fine—don’t interfere too much.”

But, there are not many leaders you want to point your children to be able say,

“Look at that person—they have worked hard, sacrificed their lives, and accomplished something great in this world.

Then we can say to them, "I believe God has designed you to give something great to your generation in your lifetime.”

Yet, I am convinced that if we, as mothers, understood that we have a capacity to work a little harder, give a little more and cultivate more intentionally, we will indeed be able to see greatness of soul, and depth of faith arise out of our children’s lives. It is the best work we will ever do. 

Nothing truly great is ever accomplished without great effort. We are, after all, subduing a world that is in rebellion against God. By investing more time in our children, we are helping them mount up over inertia, over laziness, bad habits, self-centeredness and giving them practice at developing good habits, skills, abilities, all of which need to be intentionally nurtured, taught, modeled and trained into them by their parents!

However, it takes more work than I ever thoughts. If a mom doesn’t want her 13 year old son to be addicted to the computer, she will have to help him cultivate more captivating interests, and she will have to invest her personal time, money, sweat equity and energy to do it—excellence requires us to go the extra mile.

Several years ago, I was judging at a statewide speech and debate tournament. Children ages 12-18 competed in a variety of areas. Each child has had to invest hours and hours preparing, studying, practicing and if it is similar to our household, the whole family has been involved—listening to speeches, correcting scripts, giving ideas, researching quotes. The whole process has taken our family hours and hours, but it has benefitted us all and sharpened us all as we have been forced to think through ideas, philosophy, defenses, together.

Yet, I am quite amazed at the articulate, thoughtful speeches coming from the hearts of the young adults there, who had invested their own hours and hours in this venture. They had engaged their minds in great ideas, practiced thinking and saying them and are, I know, going to be more excellent communicators in their life- time, because of the hours their moms invested in them to make this competition a possibility.

Whether a sport, a musical skill, art, ministry, some kind of academic or creative work, our children will be blessed if we invest the time it takes to give them more of a foundation of confidence in their souls, as we help them find a way to practice productivity, excellence of character and the need to take every moment captive for Him.

What we sow we will reap, what we don't sow, we won't reap. Your children and you have the capacity to live into amazing abilities that God has created you to have. But you must exercise the muscle of your lives to become excellent and strong. The choice to work diligently is the key--is your heart willing to do what it takes to become excellent in character or skills in life?

To find that “fit” for our children’s creativity, that activity that engages their heart, passions and personality, will probably require us give up the rights to our own time, and invest in the future of our child’s productivity, by taking the time now to help them cultivate their skills and interests and good habits.

But it will require that we go that extra mile-but that extra mile will take them much further in their lives than can ever be measured.

This summer take time to access your goals, your life, your story.