I talked to Helen the other day. Helen is in grad school. She sees the numbers of articles published by scholars in her field. She thinks, “I’m so far behind that. I’ll never catch up.”
I said, “Be inspired, not intimidated.”
And then I wrote it down so that I would remember it. Not because it’s a cool phrase, but because I understand Helen’s heart. I have often looked at where I think I am and where other people are and felt intimidated. Not quite to the point of giving up, but certainly to the point of losing heart. We stop short of our best. We attempt smaller safer things. We become cynical about others and condemning of ourselves.
Some of us, anyway.
When the writer of Hebrews said, “fix your eyes on Jesus,” he or she was inviting us to stop being intimidated by other lives, other standards. In the words of Dallas Willard, we are invited to learn from Jesus how to live our lives as He would live our lives if he were us.
The letter to the Hebrews goes on to say, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Jesus endured real resistance, real pushback, real beating. He persevered in the face of actual intimidation. So when I am intimidated by my own heart, by my own assessment of the situation, I am falling way short of what I am invited to do.
And the invitation includes looking at Jesus, who is the starter and the finisher of our faith. Who is the hero and the equipper and the encourager.
You’ve got your list. I’ve got mine. List of what needs to be done. List of what is keeping us from thinking we can do it. List of what we think other people are thinking about us.
For the next few days, let’s try this: be inspired, not intimidated.