This week at #TheLoft we are discussing Best Practical Tips that we have received or have given others, and I feel like I have been given good and practical advice from so many people over the years that it is hard to just pick one to discuss!
As I think of the practical advice I have been given, I remember the words of wisdom bestowed upon me as I embarked on my ‘voyage of discovery’ at Plymouth University in 2010. I was given household tips such as financial advice (which I still struggle with!), cleaning tips, cookery ideas, all primarily from my immediate family! They wanted to ensure that I always had my phone charged in case of an emergency, kept my key in a safe place, checked my online banking regularly to keep an eye on what I was spending and so on and so forth. At the time, I am sure I thought it came under the banner of ‘nagging’, but I appreciate the wisdom and advice given by so many as I started my university education so far away from home.
Yesterday was my graduation ceremony which marked the end of my formal education so far. We were given encouraging and inspiring words of ‘seizing the opportunity’ and taking risks as we stepped into the world. I love motivational speeches and often feel moved towards a cause when there is an effective speaker delivering moving words. Closing the chapter of university, and turning to a new chapter of life comes with fresh advice and practical tips on getting started. Many have told me to apply for anything and everything as any job is better than no job. Others have sought to tell me about where to find work e.g. through agencies, job sections in websites etc. Many just say ‘Something will come up. Keep trying.’ Many remind me that I am not the only one going through this process of job-seeking. There are several of us all competing for the same jobs and that this is a tough economic climate in which we are living. I guess it is fair to say everyone has a practical tip to offer based on their personal experiences. Some are very helpful. Others are more difficult to accept.
As the graduation ceremony finished, the inspiration ‘Hall of Fame’ by The Script and Will. I. Am song came on as we were to depart from the hall.
Some of the lyrics are:
“You can be the greatest, You can be the best
You can be the King Kong banging on your chest
You can beat the world
You can beat the war
You can talk to God, go banging on his door
You can throw your hands up, You can beat the clock, You can move a mountain
You can break rocks, You can be a master, Don’t wait for luck. Dedicate yourself…
You can go the distance
You can run the mile
You can walk straight through hell with a smile
You can be the hero
You can get the gold
Breaking all the records they thought never could be broke
Yeah, do it for your people
Do it for your pride
How are you ever gonna know if you never even try?
Do it for your country
Do it for your name…”
This sounds like a great song of practical tips and motivational advice, and I have to admit, I like the song and it does give me a boost and drive to do better. It talks of possibilities if we dedicate ourselves such as beating records, being a hero, running the mile, beating war, beating the world, being the greatest and the best. It puts us very firmly in the drivers seat. We can make this happen. What are the reasons for doing it? In the song, some of the ‘practical tips’ of why we should aspire to so all these wonderful things include doing it for our people, our pride, our country, our name… This is all inspiring stuff indeed.
However, I would challenge the lyrics and dig a little deeper. The song says we can talk to God and go ‘banging on His door’. The Lord’s door is always open. He wants you to come and seek Him, but the door is never closed unless you are the one to close it. We tend to close the door when we do everything our own way and choose to go it alone without God. This happens when we make ourselves number one: the ‘master’, the ‘hero’, the ‘greatest’, the ‘best’ and so forth. We are putting ourselves in a position that is meant for God alone. We all do it. But that is why we need to step down from the pedestal and accept God being the highest and greatest of all. It is because of His greatness and His love for us that He has ‘beat the world’ with its love of self and sin. When we walk with Him through life, He can give us more than everything that looks so tempting and desirable in the song ‘Hall of Fame’. He gives us Himself.
My practical tip for you is to deny yourself and take up Jesus. If you already follow Jesus, I encourage you to continue to deny yourself – to do everything for the glory of the Lord, and not for your own gain and desires. He gives us opportunities, gifts and the motivation to go through life and give thanks in all that we have in Him. That far outweighs being the King Kong of this world.
Furthermore, the lyric ‘you can walk straight through hell with a smile’… I would argue if ‘hell’ is meant to describe a difficult situation, you can smile when you know that the Lord is in control and has the plan for the rainy and stormy seasons of life. However, I would strongly oppose the idea that you would be smiling in hell.
Having no access to the Lord for eternity
is not a place for a smiling face.
With all the sin and destruction on earth today,
there is a comfort not far away.
Call on Him, ask of Him
He loves you, He made you.
My friend do not ignore,
The longing that you have, more and more.
So deny yourself, follow the Lord, and place Him in the highest place of your heart.