Get in the arena…or be quiet

For those of you who like Brene Brown, or Teddy Roosevelt, the title of this post may remind you of one of their quotes.

It’s amazing to me how loudly the critics scream. It’s easy for those on the sidelines to scream what you should be doing. It’s easy for them to see everything you’re doing “wrong” and cowardly laugh at your inability to conquer. But at the end of the day YOU are the one IN the arena. The outsiders who cowardly sit on the sidelines don’t know everything, otherwise they’d be in the arena with you too.

The coward chooses to sit on the sidelines and make excuses for why he can’t be in the arena with you. The coward points fingers, mutters under their breath, and pokes fun at your failures while you continue to endure for the prize. Those sitting on the sidelines don’t understand your end goal – they can’t see the big picture. They see the here and now and no further, and that’s why they’ll never attain the reward.

Comfort doesn’t produce character. Laziness will never produce reward.

Many want to win the prize, but few want to run the race. Many want the accolades, but few are willing to suffer through the ridicule to get there. Many want their names to be known, but they aren’t willing to be misunderstood first.

It’s often said that it’s lonely at the top, and the more I grow, the more I understand why. When you grow, and others don’t, you’ll be misunderstood. People will think you’re arrogant for climbing higher or might feel like you’re greedy for chasing goals and dreams. They may say things that aren’t true and they’ll shout from the cheap seats. Know why?

They would rather criticize from the cheap seats of the sidelines, than recognize their own cowardice.

It’s less painful for them to deflect their own lack, by trying to point out yours. It’s easier for them to make excuses and remain lazy than dust themselves off and fight. Fight for more, fight the status quo, fight to break the cycle – FIGHT!

I’m done catering to the coward. I’m done minimizing myself to make others feel like more. It’s doing myself and them a disservice. Speak it like it is. If you’re not in the arena fighting alongside me, you don’t get a say in how I do things. If you’re not right next to me, bloody and bruised from enduring the fight when everyone else has left, you don’t get a say. If you’re not pursuing God’s best and have cowardly accepted mediocrity because it was easier: You. Don’t. Get. A. Say.

Enough is enough. It’s time to set healthy boundaries and politely tell people they don’t get a say. It’s okay to interrupt someone when their opinion is not merited or welcomed. If you’re not in the boat with me, if you’re not fighting alongside me, if you’re not on the battlefield WITH ME, I do not want your opinion.

Shouting from the cheap seats is easy. Fighting alongside for the prize is hard. But you know what, reader? When the victory is had, not everyone will share in it. You’ll find when you come out on the other side, those who once ridiculed you from the cheap seats will suddenly want to share in the glory or pretend they were a part of your victory. But they don’t get to, and don’t you dare allow them to either.

If you weren’t there for my lowest moments, you don’t get to celebrate my best ones either. Those who fought with you, prayed for you, cried with you, and walked with you through the valleys are the ones who should also get to enjoy the privilege of being with you on the mountaintop.

So when the battle comes, and it will, take note of who stuck it out with you. If they weren’t brave enough to fight alongside you in battle, they shouldn’t be given the privilege of enjoying the reward of victory. Victory is to be shared with the select few who proved themselves on the way to getting there. Likewise, don’t expect to share in someone’s reward, if you weren’t in the arena with them either.

Choose to link arms with those who are battle-ready and committed. The battles life throws at us aren’t for the faint of heart, so take heed, and choose your soldiers friends wisely.


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