The Man in the Arena

I have had a burning, conflicting, paradox within me,  it's plagued me my entire life.

As a small child my Father would always say, “Do it right or don’t do it at all” well, the “don’t do it at all” part meant a spanking, so what choice did I have really? Those words spoke to me that I should always do my best. There was never an option for “that’s good enough”. I have often felt paralyzed in trying new things or sharing my skills with others because I couldn't do things perfectly.

strive |strīv|verb (past strove |strōv| or strived; past participle striven|strivən| or strived) [ no obj. ]make great efforts to achieve or obtain something

In the Christian faith, we are instructed not to strive. We are taught that because of Christ coming to earth, (God in the form of man) we are set free from striving, by this grace that God has sent to us. We are loved and accepted just as we are. We as humans have a rough time with this, we’re always striving to keep up with the Jones’, striving to earn Gods love, have more, do more, be more, be perfect, be accepted…We think that if we can’t do something perfectly that it’s "not good enough” to share with others. I stand guilty on ALL counts. 

When I began teaching about creative worship years ago in my home church, and later in Hawaii to students from other parts of the world, I saw that these feelings of inadequacy reign universal throughout the human race, and I became an advocate for “YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH, YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH”. I felt it was Gods word to me to share with the students that were placed in my care.

In my life since those years, I have slowly but surely, drifted back, back into the dark hole of “Not good enough”. It happens. I think that's part of what this name “TOWANDATUDE” meant to me. An attitude, that  we are enough, strong, beautiful, glorious human beings, LOVED by God, created in HIS image.

I read something yesterday that struck me about “Not being good enough” It’s called “MAN IN THE ARENA” by Theodore Roosevelt.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

I have struggled with this website and blog. I’ve had a hard time with self criticism, not having a writing degree, with beating my head against the wall because of my lack of technology skills. I'm no scholar and I know that my grammar and punctuation are not always correct. It’s been difficult at times to pour out my deepest thoughts, memories, prayers and know that it’s not perfect. But it brings me great joy to encourage others to try. I love to share my stories, my epiphanies, our projects around here and my photo's with you, hoping to be a bright spot in your day and an encouragement. Yesterday when I heard this talk about the quote from Theodore Roosevelt, I got to thinking at least I’m trying. I want you to think about that too.

What are you withholding because you might fail? What are you holding back because you might not do it perfectly?

DOING IT RIGHT means DOING IT with all you’ve got! But just DO IT. Share your gifts of love. Share your expression of love. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize, critique others, to be "those cold timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat"  but what are you doing? It takes a whole lot of courage for each of us to step out and share ourselves with the world. BE SOMEONES CHAMPION, BE AN ENCOURAGER. 

Be the “Man in the Arena” in your own life. Share your gifts, lavish them on your loved ones. You are beautiful, and “accepted in the beloved”. You are GOOD ENOUGH right now, just as you are.

P.S.I’m in the stands, rooting for you, in the arena as you "DARE GREATLY"

*EPHESIANS 1:6  King James version/ To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.