I spend quite a bit of time talking about the power of MARCHING forward (I like using all caps because clearly that gets the message across). I have written a book about it (you can find the book here), I have a weekly podcast about it (you can find the podcast here), and I even have the opportunity several times a year to speak about it. I truly believe that the ability to put one foot in front of the other when life becomes difficult is the key to a lifetime of progress in spite of life’s obstacles. When we don’t know what to do, we must keep moving forward!
What has been interesting to me as I write, podcast and speak on this topic is that no one disagrees! At a time when people are willing to disagree on just about anything, when it comes to marching forward as a way to overcome trials and difficulties there is almost universal agreement. Talk about HOW to march forward though, and there will definitely be some disagreement! Most people know that they should march when things get difficult but are often so overwhelmed that the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other seems impossible. So how do we get to the point where we can do what we know we should? It begins with having the right mindset.
What we do always begins with what we think. That’s the reason we find this statement in Proverbs 23: 7: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” That is King James Bible talk for, “You are what you think.” Everything begins in the mind. And so it is when faced with something difficult. Whether or not we march forward begins in our mind and most often begins before we know there is a problem.
We need to think right now so that we will act right later.
A great example of this is found in the letter to the church at Philippi written by Paul the Apostle. Paul was a guy that understood where he came from, what God had done in his life and what he was called to do. While sitting in a prison cell toward the end of his life he writes the following words a local church that he had once served:
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Everything about these two verses is great! He begins by calling his intended audience, “Brothers”. This is a personal letter written to people that Paul considers very close friends. Brothers in Christ and in the Christian mission. From there he explains his mindset for life. In essence he says this: “I have not arrived in my life, but I will continue to press forward. Whether things are good or bad, easy or not so easy, I will move toward the purpose for which God created me.” Keep in mind that he is writing this toward the end of a very turbulent life awaiting an almost sure martyrdom. What made Paul so effective? He had the right mindset which allowed him to push past the obstacles, trials and persecutions, one deliberate faith filled step at a time. He didn’t quit because he had decided that he would not quit. His mindset and faith in God carried him forward. There are some great lessons to be learned here but three things regarding the “March or Die” mindset jump out to me when thinking about Paul. Three things that all of us must understand and implement if we are going to have the mindset that carries us forward.
We need a Clear Purpose.
This is something else that I have written on and talked about but having a clear purpose is the starting point for the right mindset. So many stop moving forward because they have simply never settled on their purpose. Others have a vague idea about purpose but not a clear, articulable reason that they are alive. God has a purpose for each of us and we need to settle that in our hearts and minds before we will ever find the will to keep going when things get hard. Paul said, “This one thing I do.” His purpose was clear.
We need a Clear View.
We should be positive, hopeful people but we must also maintain a realistic view of the fallen world that we live in. The best of relationships with have times that are tough, jobs will come and go, and our health will eventually fade. This is life. To pretend that we can go through life and never struggle is to set ourselves up for a fall when the realities of this world take hold. Don’t be negative. Maintain hope and positivity. Prepare now for the inevitable challenges that we will all face. As my dad used to say, “If you know something is going to happen, don’t be surprised when it does!”
We must make a Clear Decision.
This is really simple: Decide now that you will continue to put one foot in front of the other in spite of circumstances, the influences of others, unforeseen health or financial issues or anything else that stands in the way of forward progress. Don’t wait until those things come to decide what you are going to do. If you wait to decide you will decide to quit. Make a clear, non-negotiable decision to KEEP MOVING FORWARD!
In life, when the difficulties come, we only have two choices: We can stay where we are and die or we can choose to put one foot in front of the other and March. Decide today that you will keep moving forward toward the purpose for which you were created.