by Matt Schroeder
I’m a quitter. There, I said it. It’s out there. I am a quitter.
When things get tough and life gets hard, my knee-jerk reaction is to quit and throw in the towel. By nature I do not have a warrior mentality. I am a guy who is slow to make decisions and is very calculated before I make moves. I do not jump into something before I feel confident I will get the outcome I want. And if I examine the situation and feel the outcome is not attainable at all, then I often will not even try.
I’ve wrestled with fear all my life, and it is something by God’s grace is being put to death daily. Lately, I have felt the Lord calling me and challenging me to be a bigger risk taker. Push myself beyond what I think I can accomplish. Trust Him to work through me. And give 100% effort to EVERYTHING I do.
If you read that and feel you identify with me, know that I do think there are redeeming qualities to our personality types. If the world was full of knee jerk reactionaries and impulse decision makers, we might all be dead from crazy adventures and decisions. And if the world was full of slow, methodical, calculating quitters like me, we might all be dead from boredom.
I think it’s really awesome when you see spouses who are complete opposites in this way. One is the adventurer and one is the safer thinker. It’s a huge reason why we need community. You reflect aspects of God’s character and nature that I do not, and I reflect aspects of God’s character and nature that you do not. We need each other.
But having said that, I don’t think we are licensed to stay in our personality bents and never push ourselves in the opposite direction. I believe pursuing a more well rounded balanced person is actually more of what Jesus looked like.
There’s much a could say about all the different personality types out there, but I want to share something specifically with those who have my personality type and struggle with fear. God has shown himself tremendously faithful as I’ve prayed and fasted over this area of my life.
A while back I was reading through 2 Samuel and was struck by the final chapters. Specifically, chapter 23 hit my heart like a hammer. This chapter talks about the mighty men of David and all the things they accomplished. If you’ve never read this, you need to do it as soon as you can. Here are a couple high points from that chapter and the things those men did:
- vs. 8 – “Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite, he was chief of the three. He wield his spear against eight hundred men whom he killed at one time.”
- Vs. 9 – “Eleazar, stayed and fought the Philistines when all Israel withdrew and he struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword.”
- Vs. 11 – “Shammah, when all Israel fled the Philistines, he stayed and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory.”
- Vs. 18 – “Abishai, wielded his spear against three hundred men.”
- Vs. 20 – “Benaiah, struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. And he struck down an Egyptian. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but Benaiah went down to him and snatched the spear from his hand and killed him with his own spear.
This is truly a fascinating passage of Scripture. These men were on a completely different level then most of us today. I suppose that is why they were referred to as “the mighty men of David.”
The more I’ve thought about these men and things they did, the more I feel the Lord has spoken to me about their great accomplishments. These men did not accomplish what they did because they were the biggest, fastest, strongest men to ever live. Surely in today’s world of steroids and bodybuilding there are stronger men then these. Surely none of these men were faster than Usain Bolt.
These men did what they did because of two things: they knew who their God was, and they didn’t run in fear. They knew anything was possible through God, and they didn’t quit when it seemed impossible.
You want to talk about an easy decision for a calculating person like me? You’re standing in a field with 800 men from the opposite army ready to mow you over. Solution? RUN THE OTHER WAY AS FAST AS YOU CAN!
But he doesn’t do that. He doesn’t look at the circumstance and tell himself, “I can’t do this. I’m going to die. What’s the point of even trying?” NO! He charges into the battle and slays 800 men! Seriously! Let that sink into your mind. 800 men!!!
He doesn’t let the odds being stacked against him keep him from going 100% at whatever is before him. I don’t know this to be true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if what was actually going through his mind in that moment was, “I very well may die, but I will not let fear keep me from attacking this like the most confident man in the world. If I’m going down, then I’m going down swinging.”
This is going to come across as a rather strong stance, but I hope you receive it as love coming from a brother who struggles with the same thing, but I think we need to ask the question, are we robbing God of glory by our fear and insecurities? Are we restricting God moving in our lives because we won’t trust Him and go at something that seems impossible? If all we ever do is make predictable calculated moves, then was there truly ever a need for God’s Spirit to move in power?
Those men literally NEEDED God to move in powerful ways. From the world’s standpoint, every one of those men were in unfortunate situations. But to God, they were exactly where He wanted them to be. They trusted he could do anything, and God moved in power.
A quote that has meant so much to me over the last year is from a sermon Jimmy Seibert gave. He said, “everybody wants miracles, but not many are willing to put themselves in a position to need one.”
I truly believe Jesus is calling each one of us to greater depths of trust and faith in him. For most of us it probably will not involve jumping into a pit with a lion and slaying it. But perhaps whatever He is asking you to do will feel that crazy.
None of us are promised to slay giants, kill lions, and defeats armies. In fact, Scripture would tell us “by faith, some were stoned, sawn in two, and killed by the sword” (Hebrews 11:37). God is not our genie to give us power so that we can build a great name for ourselves. He works in power and miraculous ways for His glory, not ours.
But I’m convinced trusting God and taking huge leaps of faith for His glory is a tremendously satisfying life well spent.
Be a risk taker, not because it’s the cool thing to do, but because you love God and want to see his glory on display!