To My Dearest Daughters,
“Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut that held its ground.” – David Icke, athlete and author
Today we can look back at some of the “Mighty Oaks” in the areas of equality and civil rights, such as William Wilberforce, Abraham Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, Susan B. Anthony, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Nelson Mandela, and unintentionally gloss over the slow and steady battles they fought, skipping to the glory of their various forms of victory. We often use these folks as examples of how the vision and character of a single leader can call a people to action, empower a movement, and overcome injustice, but in doing so, we often fail to appreciate the opposition they met and the rejection they felt, yet they continued on until the end.
Once we decide to take up a cause or a challenge, we can be left dazed and confused when the opposition smacks us in the face, and then we wonder whether or not we should carry on.
“Everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the face.” – Mike Tyson, great philosopher and athlete
- EXPECT OPPOSITION: If what you’re doing has any sort of positive impact on yourself or others (from a single person to an entire social or political system), prepare to get laughed at, ignored, worn out, and possibly beat down to some extent.
“First they laugh at you. Then they ignore you. Then you win.” – Seth Godin, marketing genius and author
- REMEMBER YOUR WHY: There was a reason you signed up for this. There was an injustice that needed to be corrected, a person who needed your help, or a challenge you needed to face. Remembering your WHY will help you stay the course and keep you moving forward.
- BE TENACIOUS & LOVING: Tenacity is about persevering,
evenespecially when things get hard. Bull riders are Tenacious when it comes to keeping a firm grip on that rope and staying on top until the eight-second bell sounds. My Girls, you need to go the full eight seconds, but to be truly successful, your Tenacity has to be rooted in Love, which takes the form of Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-23). With Tenacious Love, you can change hearts and minds (beginning with your own). Without it, you can only enforce physical compliance that falls by the wayside once you remove your foot from their necks. I wrote more in-depth about this and respect for the opposition in a previous post: Hate Can’t Drive Out Hate (I recommend you read it again).
- BE GRACIOUS WHEN YOU WIN: In victory, it’s important to help people on all sides heal because there is strength in unity that cannot be matched in division. After the Civil War, when many Northerners wanted to shame and punish the South, Abraham Lincoln extended Grace and Forgiveness. Although he was assassinated shortly thereafter, his murder was not a result of his Graciousness but the dark hatred of his enemies.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” – Abraham Lincoln, at his Second Presidential Inauguration
My Girls, plant yourself firmly in good ground and hang on, and as the rocks and weeds of opposition come at you, I Hope and Pray that you won’t be surprised, but that you’ll remember your WHY (Your dreams… your God-given unique purpose), show Tenacious Love, and be Gracious to all when you win, for this is The Jesus Way.
What can you do to strengthen your roots TODAY?