When records started being kept for athletic events, one of the first to draw lots of attention was the high jump. The high jump probably originated as a piece of military training but soon became a sport in athletic competition. In the mid 1800′s, using a regular type of hurdle actin, the world-record was set at 5 feet, 7 inches. However, in 1895, a slight variation to the old technique was added and the record moved from 5′ 7″ to 6′, 5″ and people were amazed.
Then in the early 1900′s, the technique called the “Western Roll” was introduced, a maneuver in which the jumper would leap, head first, while twisting his body and landing on his belly. The bar was raised another two inches as the record bumped up to 6′, 7″. Then in 1957, another change was made, this one called the “Straddle Method”. With the new technique, came a new world record and the bar was raised to 7′
It remained at seven feet for about a decade when Dick Fosbury introduced yet another method. Aptly named, the “Fosbury Flop” remains the technique most jumpers use today and the new world record, set in 1993, remains at 8′, 1/2″. Every time the bar needed to be raised, a new technique was required.
Too often in this life, I think I’m guilty of settling for what I’m good at. I get comfortable with my style and technique, so I rest in that confidence. Nothing wrong with being good at something and nothing wrong with being confident (not arrogant!). But if I don’t try to reach for something beyond what I’ve already mastered, I’ll never grow! If I settle for where I am at, I can expect nothing more than what I’ve already attained.
Like the high jump, I want to raise the bar and that demands that I apply myself differently to the problem. To push the limits, I am going to have to implement new ways to reach my goals.
I think the Apostle Paul was constantly pushing the bar higher. He said, “I press on toward the prize” and “I beat my body [into discipline]” and he was willing to change his techniques to achieve those goals. He would “become all things to all men” in order to clearly present the Gospel. He would keep a healthy and strict Jewish diet if that’s what it took to reach a Jew, and he would philosophize with the great thinkers of Greece if that’s what it took to reach the Gentiles. Every obstacle he faced was another opportunity, with God’s help, to overcome with a new technique or method.
As God continues to challenge me to raise the bar at Lake Ann Camp, or with Overboard Ministries, He is also challenging me to rethink how I do, what I do. The message never changes, but it the method must always fit the context.
What barriers do you need to push through in your life? How might you take a new approach? Who could you enroll to help you see things from a different angle, to approach things from a new perspective? What is preventing you from taking a new approach?
Go after a new record and push the bar higher. It’s going to force you to grow and force you to approach things differently, but it’s worth it. Don’t compromise who you are or the message God has given you to deliver, but don’t settle for less because you’re comfortable. Reach for new heights!
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!