Here is an older but great piece I wrote that we all need to read every now and again just to remind us that God is bigger than our fears…
Are you facing any giants in your life? My family and I just returned from the movie, Facing The Giants, and it brought to the front for me and highlighted with big, bold yellow ink some of my giants. But first about the movie because it is noteworthy.
It was written by two brothers, Alex and Stephen Kendrick, who are associate pastors at a Baptist church in Albany, Georgia. It deals with the fears of a high school football coach and how he turns them all over to God. Its is Rocky, Rudy and Remember The Titans all rolled together in one package, but this package is sealed by faith and God’s glory. Facing The Giants was made on a $100,000.00 budget that the men raised through the church and the entire cast is composed of church members and other locals. The film was shot in six weeks and the Kendrick brothers produced and edited to come up with the final version. There was no Hollywood influence in the movie at all. Distribution of the movie was targeted local to the Albany area, but when the Kendrick’s began dealing with a couple of Christian bands for permission to use their songs in the movie, things went electric. The music company who represented the bands, Third Day and Casting Crowns was owned by a movie company who happened to be in a partnership with Sony. See how things are moving here? Well, in order to give permission to use the songs, the big heads at the studio watched the film and were impressed and the rest is history. This film which was made for only a hundred grand has taken in to date over $10 million. Not a bad return. Have any of Tom Cruise’s movies delivered a better return on investment? You do the research and let me know.
I bet Hollywood is taking notice. The tag line for the movie is, “All things are possible with God” and this movie is proving God right again. The movie is coming to DVD on January 30, but see it on the big screen if you get a chance. And ignore the bad reviews you might find online. One review that I read mentioned that the coach’s life was a wreck. His car was toast, his house in disrepair, his wife couldn’t conceive and his job in jeopardy, but then he turns to God and magically everything gets better. The reviewer complained that it was all too melodramatic and unrealistic. Well, duh! That was the point. All things are possible with God! The movie is overtly, unashamedly all about God. I’d expect nothing else from movie critics. Do they complain, however, about how Jack Bauer has defied death in 120 episodes of 24? That is much more a miracle than anything you will see in Facing The Giants.
Now on to my giants and maybe yours. I don’t have to tell you that men especially do not like admitting their fears, but we’ve gotten to know each other for a while now and I feel comfortable with you. So here goes. After the movie we went to Barnes and Nobles to spend the gift card that my wonderful mother-in-law gave me for Christmas and smack! my giants began pounding me as soon as we walked in the door of the store. And you wonder, how can a trip to the bookstore be so volatile? Well, this is the part that is hard to say. Gulp…there goes my pride. Here goes. I wrote a manuscript to a novel. I actually began it almost exactly three years ago between the Christmas and New Year’s break and finished it a year and a half ago. My dream, of course, is to get it published and I currently have 24 rejection letters from literary agents for my efforts. My giant fear is that the novel’s not good enough, I’m not good enough and that there are too many other better writers in the world for me to ever get published. That’s the giant that smacked me in the bookstore the other day. I walked in and saw the thousands of square feet of prime real estate littered with hundreds of shelves holding tens of thousands of books written by tens of thousands of authors. And my giant screamed at me, “How do you ever expect to get published when there are so many published writers already and millions of other wannabes like you?!!!” These types of thoughts are paralyzing. These types of thoughts kill dreams. And I’ll be honest. I struggle with them terribly. To be more transparent, I’ll put forth some effort to make a show about pursuing my dream and when the rejection letters come in, at least I can say that I tried. It’s just enough effort to grow old and bitter on. I rationalize my dreams away. I sweep them away and try to find solace in the kind words said by the few people who I have allowed to read the manuscript. You sell your dreams at a discount and grow comfortably numb with the notion that having them is silly and youthful idealism. Because it is hard, hard, hard to “just go for it” as the Nike commercials say when you don’t believe in yourself. You think that you are wasting your time and who wants to do that? And forget about believing those people who tell you that you are a wonderful writer and that your book needs to be published. Even if one of those people is the most brutally honest person you know and Sandra(my wife), I am talking about you. She has been my biggest cheerleader and quite frankly, I think she is getting sick of waving the pom-poms for me. Well, maybe that was overstated. But my point is that until I believe these things about myself for myself, other people can encourage me until they are blue in the face and it will not matter. And that is really the point here. I don’t know if I will ever believe in myself enough to really go for the gusto.
But the movie, Facing The Giants, did remind me again that all things are possible with God! I believe Him 100, 200, 300, well the percentile is incalculable. My oldest daughter is a miracle child, so I have no problem believing God. And that is where my focus and your focus should be. You can do all things through God who strengthens you. (Philippians 4:13) When you dwell on your own inadequacies you’ll find enough material to detain you on those thoughts all day and that is exactly where the Father of Lies, Satan wants you hanging out. Because there’s always someone smarter, more creative, more personable, more attractive, more charismatic, more charming, more entrepreneurial. The important issue is not how you rank against the rest of the world, but who you are in Jesus Christ and what He can do through you. Shift your focus from you, to Him. He is the Creator of the universe, the Maker of all things. He owns it all, knows it all and can bless however He pleases. He can defy all odds on your behalf. It reminds me of that famous giant killer in the Bible, David. He was a scrawny nothing of a boy compared to that great giant, Goliath. When he said that he’d go fight the giant, people laughed at him. His own family laughed. When King Saul tried to talk some sense into David, you know what David said? “37The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37). So little ol’ David goes off to fight the giant and don’t you know that Goliath got a good laugh? But David shakes off the tongue lashing and replies, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty…. 46This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. 47All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 abbreviated). David went on to kick the giants tail. Where was David’s focus? On his own limitations? On his own inadequacies? On other people’s opinion? No. God, that’s where his confidence was and ours should be.
There are some people who believe in themselves with such confidence that they will be wildly successful with or without God. I’m not one of those people. But God is saying to you and to me, “Stop thinking about what you can do or can’t do, but believe in what I can do through you if you let me!” Actions follow beliefs and when we begin believing God for what He can do through us, we will get off the couch at our own pity parties and start working our tails off. And that is when, I believe God comes in with his divine push. One of the most misquoted statements in history is, “God helps those who help themselves.” A lot of people try to attach that to the Bible, however, it is actually Ben Franklin. Ben spoke some truth, though. Is God going to miraculously lay my book proposal letters in the laps of literary agents? I believe He’ll leave the letter writing, envelope addressing and stamp licking to me. I’ve got to prepare for the battle against my giants, suit up, march to the battle field and then believe God for the victory. God made David, small as he was, a warrior and later a king. He made me a writer. What did He make you? What dreams do you have? Believe God for them. The battle is His.