BEYOND YOUR BREAKING POINT
Categories: Life Enrichment
How are you doing in life? Are you aiming on point, looking on fleek, living the good life? Or are you living in a chaos, swirling out of control, ricocheting towards some unknown mark? Or maybe you’re smack in the middle? Whether you are on track or making more of a “fall” towards the finish line, I have a good thought for you.
Just Don’t Stop!
Let me tell you about a toothless, 61-year-old, sheep farmer who ran the toughest race in the world. His name was Cliff Young. Since childhood, he would put on his rubber boots and round up his family’s sheep on their 2,000 acres property because his family could not afford horses or trucks. Cliff Young showed up to the race in his first set of running shoes. Smiling with his gums he explained he could not run with his false teeth because “they rattled.” He was twice the age of the average runner, had arthritis in his knees, with no athletic training, but he was ready to go! This ultra-marathon stretches from Sydney to Melbourne and is 543.7 miles (875 kilo meters) long. Reporters laughed, and officials panicked thinking he would have a heart attack. When asked if he could do it, he replied, “Yes, I can.”
The race began and Cliff made slow progress behind the athletes. He did not know the rules of the race and that it was customary to stop after 18 hours of running and sleep 6 hours a night. So when other runners took their break Cliff just kept running. He ran for two days and on the second night, he stopped for only 1 hour to sleep. After that, he did not stop. No one had ever run the race nearly straight through! The world watched as this shuffling farmer maintained his 10-hour lead.
Cliff broke the previous record by more than 2 days! He crossed the line in 5 days, 14 hours and 35 minutes—the equivalent of running four marathons a day. Everyone was awestruck at this back of the woods farmer who broke all paradigms. The media asked him, “What is your secret?” Cliff Young answered with a simple, “I just did not stop.”
What I love about his story is that he did not win because of a Masters in “the art of awesome,” he did not win because people cheered for him, he did not win because he was on a paleo diet, he crossed the line because he could handle the pain. He endured under heavy pressure.
You’re in a crazy race right now. Hebrews 12 talks about it. And the great thing is that you can win. You can overcome every complication if you just don’t stop.
1. Run Reckless
Let me ask you a question. What would you do if you were 10x bolder? Now grab that thought tight because we will come back to it again. Almost every culture is risk adverse, equating the safe life with the blessed life. But crossing to the next level is not free and the currency required is action. Action is risky, Action is unstable. We want to download tenacity like an app without going through anything hard. We believe that if something is painful, then it is from the devil. If something takes effort then we panic thinking we stepped out of the will of God. Let’s crack this theory wide open. God is interested in growing you. Growth means muscles, but muscles mean that growing pains will come. You can’t build strength without weight. You cannot thrive without risk. God uses something called resistance to build your endurance. That means that you forgive passionately, keep hope burning when pain tries to switch it off, and stay even when you feel like skipping out. When you do something hard and wake up sore the next day, guess what, you earned that pain. You built endurance. Nothing good happens by accident. Endurance means you have the strength to bear up under terrible pressure. And the reward of endurance is getting what you worked for. (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-4; Galatians 6:9)
Let me be clear that I am not saying that God causes tragedy or sickness, or that He “allows” it because it will make us stronger. God is good people! (James 1:17; John 10:10)
He cannot give things away that are not good because He does not have anything evil to give. True words! But I am saying that we collapse too easily when things get hard. God has a solution which will forge us into something durable if we do not give up at the first sign of heat.
2. Break Your Breaking Point
I live in a small city in India. I am probably the only American here. Isolation is real. I cannot count the thoughts I have had in my head saying I don’t belong, I’m an outsider, I should hide in my house, or that the loneliness would leave if I just went back to the US. But the truth is that defeating thoughts don’t go away by giving in. Fear will adapt to fit any situation. Nothing good will ever come from giving up. I am choosing to toughen up and get outside to love on some souls. It is uncomfortable. But Jesus did not ask us to be comfortable, He asked us to go. I am breaking past my breaking point.
Progress is not pretty – it’s real. It looks sweaty, it smells, and it can be scary, but it is worth it. People often tell us we are being foolish to step out of our safe cage into the unknown where our destiny lives. It is actually pretty easy to block out these outside voices casting doubt. The harder voice to silence is the one in your own head. It is not about outrunning the man next to you, it is about outrunning the second man inside of you. Real success is beating the division on the inside. Character is forged by breaking past your breaking point. The place where most dreams die is when the dreamer stopped believing. Too many dreams end at their very point of advancement. Don’t sell your success for a cheap ticket out because things got tough. What breaks some people can become your breakthrough point. What if your edge is actually your finish line bringing you into your next level? Maturity stays, outruns the pain, endures the pressure, and keeps going. You will break past your breaking point when you outrun the second man inside of you telling you to take the easy road out.
3. Look Again
We think that God gives us His Presence to fix our problems. But what if God’s Presence is more about fixing your perspective so that you have a new way to see your problems. Some of the greatest things you will see God do in your situations will happen because you went back and looked again. Your house won’t clean itself by accident, your marriage won’t be happy by accident, your friendships won’t stay sweet by accident, your dreams won’t come alive by accident. Nothing ever happens without putting the effort into it. So when things get tough, the answer is not to leave, the answer is to look again from a fresh pair of eyes. Endurance is a choice to have faith under pressure. And the reward of endurance is receiving what you worked for.
Remember that picture you got of yourself being 10x braver? Well, that is you right now. No, really. You may not feel brave, but you have Someone more powerful than your feelings to lean on. You have the dynamite power of Jesus living inside of you to create unbelievable things for God today. As a believer, you have the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead giving life to you! (Romans 8:11) When God supports you and breathes life into you, you can do great things for Him. When you run recklessly towards fear the things restricting you will tear like paper. And when you look again at your issues through God’s eyes, you will see Him rearrange chaos into a story that will bring hope to your world. You can cross that finish line, just keep running!
I’m cheering you on! Love, Laurel