“It is inbred in us that we have to exceptional things for God: but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in the mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes.”
– Oswald Chambers
As we’ve begun this year this is one of the challenges my spiritual father has given our community – challenge yourself.
It’s struck a chord with me because 2019 hasn’t heralded any uppity new year excitement for me. There’s just a quiet resolve to get things done. Perhaps it’s the season of life I’m in where execution matters more than merely being enthralled by things.
So this month, I want to extend the challenge to you as you go about your work, business or both.
Challenge yourself to be kinder. To everyone. From the watchman and the tea lady in your office to the client who may be micromanaging your every move. Be the reason someone has an easier day. You’d be surprised how much you can make this world a better place simply by being kind to everyone you meet.
Challenge yourself to be faithful. Not just in the big things that everyone can see, but especially in the small things that are easy to overlook. In a world that thrives on the bare minimum, work as unto God not as unto men. When the tally is eventually done, it’ll be between you and Him not everyone else.
Challenge yourself to grow. In your core profession and in the secondary skills that support it. In an area of passion that may not even be related to your profession but fills you with joy. Stretch yourself to try what you’re not good at. We don’t start at excellence we learn our way to it. There are a ton of free and affordable online resources for everything under the sun.
Find someone who can teach you what you need to know. It’s easy to complain that no one is willing to go out of their way to mentor you; but why not try a different approach? Go out of your way to help them do what they need to do and in so doing learn what they do. Anyone who’s truly hungry for something will never be found seated just waiting for someone to bring it to them.
Challenge yourself not to make excuses. This world owes you nothing. NOTHING. If anything, as a believer, you owe the world your manifestation as a child of God. Take responsibility for your work ethic and career/business. When you look at your life, and have someone or something to blame for whatever isn’t working, realize that the common denominator for everything is you. Your life isn’t theirs, it’s yours. Live like it.
Challenge yourself to see things through. For some people, starting something isn’t the issue; getting to the finish line is. Whatever you start to do this year, commit to getting to the end regardless of what barriers you find along the way. Rather than being quick to find a way out, look to God for a way through. Discipline is what will keep you going when the rush of excitement has long died down. And the truth that’s hardly ever spoken about achieving dreams, is that they’re built on discipline not feelings.
Challenge yourself to make time for what matters by cutting down on what doesn’t. The biggest culprit for time wasted is our phones. Here’s a challenge for you. Use the screen time/digital wellbeing function on your phone to track how much cumulative time you spend on different things like social media. A few minutes spent scrolling here and there doesn’t seem like much until you see a weekly tally of the hours that flew by. Then consider all the more productive things you could have done in that time but didn’t because “you didn’t have time”.
Challenge yourself to be yourself. The value of who God created you to be is not in question or in contention. He knew what He was doing when He made you everything you are and everything you’re not. Trust God to give you a revelation of that value because you can only express that which you’re aware of. Give the people in your work and business circles, the gift of you.
Challenges mean moving away from business as usual and doing things differently. What are the things you are committing to doing differently in the first quarter of the year?