This will start out about being about me…but give me a minute, it’s really not about me.
It’s about us.
I’m looking at 2013 in the rear view mirror, looking at what’s been done through my life, done to my life…done for my life…and there’s a fire that’s stoked lately that only God knows how to turn the smoldering spark into a fire.

I’ve been looking at the parable of talents and working through something in my mind. Most know the story where the master gives three of his servants some ‘talents’ and goes away. When he comes back he finds 2 have invested and show a return on the master’s investment. The third didn’t do anything…he buried his talents…fearful of loosing everything and having the master come down on him.

Here’s the thing that’s been smoldering in my heart. Consider for a moment what you’ve accomplished in life….consider the impact you’ve had on people, where you’ve built into people, the financial investments, the goals met and unmet, the trips you’ve taken or not….take all your goals and accomplishments in financial, physical, relational, and personal that have happened this year…how much of that was accomplished by your own power, your own control, within your comfort zone?
All of it?
Some of it?
Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, 75% of it? Sound about right?

Are you staying with me? Because here’s where it’s about us.
What if….what if that’s 75% burying your talents?

I mean we all do it…we want to work and stretch ourselves as long as it doesn’t hurt, doesn’t gamble too much, doesn’t make us have to change our habits, our comfort, our vision of ourselves. What is it that’s stops us from being great? What is it that prevents us from being what our creator calls “fearfully and wonderfully made”?

Galatians says to throw off all things that hinder you….so what is the fear that keeps you from changing, from tackling, from accomplishing? We live in a world that is set on sedating us into the grave, so what comfort would you have to give up to risk a goal of greatness? Who’s life needs your strength or time so that they can achieve their dream? What habit or addiction are you willing to conquer this year? What obstacle that’s become an idol that we are going to smash or tear down? The more you look at Scripture, the more you see where God doesn’t take you out of the trouble as much as he gives you what is necessary to overcome the trouble. Coming through the fire is done through you…you play a part in this.
Thus the old saying, God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.

Lately I’ve hated a very common phrase “I’m going to try to ___”
It automatically gives us an out…it’s a halfway commitment. We often say it knowing we’re not going to keep it. What happens in your mind when you say “I will ____” instead? Why is that such a hard thing to do? Because it’s a commitment…a dedication of the resources both at our power and BEYOND OUR POWER to a goal we may not be able to keep…

That’s where this all comes together about you and me.
(I told you to hang in there.)

What if we’re working within our own power, our own control, our own comfort zones…and that’s burying everything. What if THAT return is breaking even….or said another way, burying our talents? What if a return on God’s investment in us challenges us beyond our abilities on a more regular basis? What if we lived in that zone beyond us a little more? What would the return be?

I’m not saying we don’t all function at the best of our physical, financial, relational, and personal abilities….but what happens when you add the spiritual to those? What happens when you invite the God who created you into those areas of your life and stepped out to allow Him to press you, stretch you, refine you into the man or woman you were created to be?

What happens when you are faithful to turn off the tv, get off the couch, stop drinking, check your ego, put yourself out there, humble yourself and give a true confession or apology, cancel cable, cancel a debt, get up a half hour earlier to workout and pray, loose that weight, stop biting your nails, take that trip, ask out that girl, stop smoking, controlled your tongue, stop accepting the status quo? What if “someday I’m going to” was accomplished and you needed a new “I’m going to ___”? We are always afraid of failure…but is that a fear of failure…or fear of being great?

Some people are really not going to like my next statements, but what if we had to give up the victim mentality or the story that explains our brokenness or deficient parts of our life? What if you had to stop saying “that’s just the way I am” and kick out those demons that are whispering lies to you? What if you threw away your crutch, stopped playing “that” card? Why does that bristle you up? Maybe you ought to ask that question to yourself. Maybe you’re at the pool of Bethesda and Jesus doesn’t accept your excuse and commands you to get up?
God says there is a season for all things, but being permanently benched…no…I don’t buy that.

You’re created to be better than that.

There is a boundary line that we like to walk up to….it’s a boundary line that defines what we’re comfortable in the physical, the relational, the financial…and we walk up to it on a regular basis…and we peer at what’s beyond that we cannot see or control. We shrink back most times when we can, and some times life’s circumstances often push us beyond that line at times and we try to get back within that boundary…within the line of control and comfort as fast as we can.

What would your life be if you purposefully walked to the line, invited God into helping you step beyond that line on a regular basis? What is it you could accomplish that you hadn’t had the courage or the ability to before? What nagging “someday I’m going to ______” would you put into play? What deathbed regret would be euthanized? What person would speak at your eulogy in testament that you went beyond and their life was forever changed?
I’m looking at 2013 in the rear view mirror and I realize that there were a lot of things I could not control. But I’m also looking ahead at 2014 and realize there are things that I can control, that I can step up to the line….and I want God to unleash the courage, the power, and strength within me that He placed there where I’m to walk beyond the line. Matthew 11.12 says the Kingdom of God advances, and mighty men lay hold of it.

Let me be mighty. Let me lay hold of it.
This year I ask Him to show me what ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ means.
This year I will step out
This year I will conquer strongholds
This year I will not accept “that’s just how I am”
This year I will change the temperature around me
This year I will raise the bar
This year I will be The Light in dark places

God says that we have not because we ask not….so this year I AM asking.

This year
….let us be mighty.