"There comes a moment when we all have to take a stand." Edwin H. Friedman, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix
Sometimes we can be part of a situation with our family, at work or in our community that opens an unexpected door for us. Maybe your child failed a class and Summer School becomes the proving ground for a potential young leader to learn about humility. A colleague shares her desire to leave the company and start her own business which vacates the corporate position you've always wanted. A cause which you are passionate about is suddenly in the media and you feel an overwhelming desire to join a public protest.
Success can be far more demanding and complex than mediocrity.
One of the great temptations is to play it safe. We have far more to lose and there is far more on the line as we become invested in love, careers and community. That's why it can become easy to lose our edge once we're emotionally invested. We can over-identify with the perceived needs of a family member, sacrifice progress for position or become blinded to the negative social effects of a cause. Eventually, I think we can avoid what God calls us to do and never imagine how our avoidance can inhibit life for others.
Successful people become acquainted with grief.
I once heard, risk-taking is for the young. Maybe it's because the recovery is so much easier or we just don't take the time to evaluate the effects of our actions. Wisdom's revelation is often painful. You may recognize a theme that occurs throughout the bible: something often has to die in order for something else to live. Followers of Christ become acquainted with such death-defining moments when our heart must measure our personal capacity for understanding resurrection.
Never underestimate the courage of one.
Esther's story began when a queen did the unthinkable. Sometimes God works behind the scenes to open doors for us. He doesn't always look for perfect people but for those who are available. It's easy to underestimate the danger Esther faced. Be aware of responses that try to minimize someone else's threats or danger. Esther's act of courage affected 9 million others plus future generations. Few of us will ever have that kind of influence. Your most important act of courage may be just around the corner. It may take you in a direction you never dreamed or imagined and may only affect one other person. But, remember every act of courage - large or small - matters to God and that makes a difference.
"Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 'Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.'" Esther 4:15-16 NIV