Here are six words that I needed to remind myself of today, that are giving me strength. I want to share them with you in hopes that perhaps they'd give you strength as well.
You are dignified. You deserve dignity. There is a sovereignty to this, being human, that no one can take away from you. You do a great job, hold your head high. Set-backs? Everyone’s had them. We don’t measure the distance we've traveled by the number of bumps in the road. You’re well-traveled, you’ve put in the time. Your voice matters.
Don’t lose sight of your mission. Don’t compromise your deeply-held convictions. Don’t undermine your highest goals by your lower deeds. Voice your purpose and others will join you. Everyone, at one point or another, looks for a purpose. Your sense of mission is contagious and your mission-mindset raises the level of ‘mission’ around you; When you’re on your mission, people around you will be inspired to pick their own missions back up. Before long, you’re part of a community of purpose and change.
Are you there yet?—at the finish line? Are you standing on that podium, medal about your neck? Are you holding the trophy? Are you wearing the ring? No?—then keep running. Keep fighting. Keep digging deep, keep bursting off the line. Wars are won battle-by-battle. Every masterpiece started as a series of brushstrokes. The job is not to build a house, the job is to lay each brick according to blueprint. Peek at the blueprint often, lay each brick with intention and care.
If it isn’t within your control, why fret over it? Can you fill your lungs and blow away the hurricane? You can’t. You can board your windows, you can gather and store food, you can lay down sandbags, you could get out of town; Do what you can to protect your domain, but don’t think for one second you could stop the storm. Rest in the thought that you have no control over what’s coming, let tomorrow worry about itself, enjoy the ride.
This is one thing you share with every human on earth: we all face chaos and uncertainty. None of us knows what the future holds. Let that fuel your compassion and empathy for others. The hurricane that hit Puerto Rico could as easily have been a tornado through your home in East Tennessee. Further, you have no control over the actions or intentions of others. Why worry about what someone’s thinking? Or what they might do to you? Or how they’re perceiving your words? What will worrying do to change any of that?
Stay humble, hustle hard. Put in the time, do the work. Roll up your sleeves. Get into it. Get your hands dirty. Pull the proverbial trigger, make the decision. Own it. Act according to your conscience, listen to your guide. Listen to friends, listen to elders, listen to enemies even—but then act. You must take action. And always do what’s necessary, do what’s right as often as you can, seldom do what’s expected. Effect change. Work toward the highest good.
The word of God speaks countless promises over your life. I'm encouraged by the promise that, "God will be your battle-fighter. You need only to be still" (Exodus 14:14), echoed in the Psalms, "Be still and know that I am God." The Hebrew word for 'be still' is the same word they use to mean, "Loosen your grip," or "Just let go."