The election is over. While much of the election didn’t go as I had hoped and voted, part of me is thankful to be moving on. After months and months of political ads, water cooler debates and facebook posts that almost lured me into foolish online debating, I’m ready to let the winners gloat, the losers forecast doom and for the impact of this election to take effect. Not one of us really knew the outcomes of these various elections, and truthfully none of us really knows the impact they’ll have on today. Or tomorrow. Or next week...
I’m usually a pretty good sleeper, but for some odd reasons, on Tuesday night after the election, I woke up at 4:15am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I took a few minutes to browse facebook. (I think I do this as a test to my self-control -- to see if I can withstand the temptation to add my own foolish comments to the countless foolish comments flying across my iPad screen.) After catching up with the insomniac crowd, I watched a recording of presidential hopeful Mit Romney give his farewell speech.
He was classy. I’m sure he was hurting, and he had to be exhausted. Unlike his opponent, Romney didn’t have the thrill of election day victory to revive his spirits. His speech was short, and he had one line it that really stuck out to me. There are just two words I want to pull from it: “Inspire others.”
The Overboard Life is meant to be lived in such a way that others are inspired to discover their own God-designed greatness. This isn’t me focused self-help mumbo-jumbo or name it/claim it feel good theology. Instead, it’s about living in the culture around us in such a way, that others are truly inspired by our words and actions. And more importantly, inspired to seek the One by whose grace our inspired living flows.
My second, and most recent book, is on the life of Nehemiah. And I realize that one of the reasons I’m so drawn to that story is that Nehemiah’s Overboard living inspired others to live the same way. He lived in dark political times (no, I’m not comparing our times to his!). He was taken as a prisoner from his homeland to go and live in a foreign land, and he was stripped of everything he had once possessed -- including living in proximity with his closest friends and family.
Despite the climate of oppression under which he lived, Nehemiah chose to live an inspiring life. With God fueling his passion, Nehemiah took on a task of utmost importance and others were eager to jump in and follow. Probably thousands of people could have stepped up to lead the project Nehemiah tackled, but none of them did. None of them were willing to take the risks, to ask for help or possibly to cross the social/political barriers that Nehemiah did. None of them were willing to inspire others to live the extraordinary life of grace.
As the wall-rebuiling project neared completion, Nehemiah’s commitment to finish was pressed to the limit. He was given ample reason and opportunity to stop but he finished the task well. The results speak for themselves, as the massive project was completed in 52 days, the identity of a nation was restored and the fear of God was a reality for those nations that opposed Israel.
Nehemiah’s inspired leadership ultimately led people back to God -- those who worshipped God, and those who didn’t.
Whatever side of the political spectrum you land on, one truth remains: your freedom to live an inspiring life hasn’t changed. If Nehemiah could do it within a context of political tyranny, how much more should we do it if we live in a relatively free country? So I choose to follow Nehmiah on this one, and I want to inspire others. I want to handle political victory and defeat in a way that inspires people to seek my God. I want to blog and write in a way that challenges people to live remarkably in close relationship with their Creator God. I want to be a husband and father that inspires my wife and kids to take risks and to chase their God-given dreams all the way to the finish line.
Will you choose to inspire someone else today? Will you choose to set a course for your life that is bathed in grace, and not rooted in a social or political context? I have strong opinions and feelings about this year’s voting here in America. But I have stronger feelings and opinions about how my life should be lived out regardless of who lives in the White House. Neither Obama nor Mit can add one quality to my life that God hasn’t already blessed me with. And with what God has given me, I choose to inspire others, that they too might be led back to God.
So go ahead and take the plunge -- life is always better on the water!