Peyton Manning is a beast.
Let me rephrase that: Peyton Manning is a force to be reckoned with in life. Now before you stop reading and think you’ve landed on the wrong website. Stick with me here.
You see, he is in his late thirties, competing at the highest level of professional football, and still setting records in his profession. For all intents and purposes, he should be staring down the very short track to retirement and easing into a rather comfortable retirement.
But he’s not.
In 2013, he was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. He has set both the passing record and the touchdown record over the course of this NFL season. He keeps at this dream and he calls his career with tenacity and passion, while knowing he has a short span to make the largest impact.
So what does this have to do with you, as you read this from your office, living room sofa, or at the coffee shop? What could you and Peyton Manning have in common?
He’s pursuing a dream of his, one that many young men have and few go on to realize. He’s not alone, though, as many start out this year pursuing a dream unrealized, a dream left dormant or a passion left unpursued. We all have made those lists and then regrettably pulled them out around the last few weeks of a year to find we didn’t really go after them with fervor.
I know for me, I have had a heart yearning to fulfill a passion but I have pursued the wrong resolutions. They weren’t directed toward the right path. I would pursue this resolution or that one for about six weeks, then fall away as the busyness of life began once more. Over this last year, as I yearned to live into my passion rather than simply resolving to do something, I found something wonderful.
I found encouragement from an unlikely place.
Once I voiced my passion, I had others come alongside me and affirm that dream. It began to grow, and soon I had a team of supporters who were cheering me on as I started to lead my own pursuits. You know what happened? I then began to cheer on their sidelines wanting to continue the encouragement and support for them in their dreams.
Soon I realized something: You cannot pursue your passion alone. You cannot hope for one moment to do something on your own without giving it a voice and without encouragement. For example, recently, when a friend opened for a long-time mentor at a concert, I was responsible for deadlines—much like the ones Jessica gives us for our articles here—but also for celebrating. My friend needed me.
While it is work to pursue a passion, even as singles we cannot do it alone. We have to be willing to share what it is we desire and not be afraid to go after it. Doubt will surely begin screaming loudly as you step out for the first time, the ninth time, and the fortieth time. But comfort comes from the apostle Paul who said, “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NIV)
So how exactly are you and Peyton Manning similar? Well, in countless speeches and interviews, he’s crediting his teammates (whether past or present) with his accolades and accomplishments. He’s said if he had no one to throw to, then he wouldn’t be much of a quarterback. He points to his linemen, the guys who protect him in every play, and congratulates them on their hard work in their jobs. They make him push harder and press on toward his passion simply by doing what is expected of them.
So as 2014 begins, what can you pursue passionately this year that you haven’t before? How will you press on for the mark of the high calling that you have in Christ? Who will you have encouraging you and, in turn, who can you be encouraging right now in their pursuits?
Photo credit: Nicholas Gianoutsos