We've all taken a stand, or we've had those moments when we wish we would of. At some point life leaves each of us facing challenges of some sort. And at these points, life calls us out to take a stand. Some of us willingly step up, while others are a bit more tentative. Either way, if it hasn't already, life will set up circumstances that will challenge us to take a stand.
But taking a stand comes with a cost, and sometimes it can be a huge cost. And it's the cost that gives us pause and causes us to evaluate whether the cost is worth that for which we're being challenged to stand. And in the end, too many of us choose not to stand. This week's article challenges us to think through our fears and stand in face of life's challenges.
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Sincerely, Craig D. Lounsbrough, M.Div. Licensed Professional Counselor Certified Professional Life Coach
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Here's Where I Stand - Being Bold
It seems that the idea of taking a stand is perpetually taking a beating. The whole idea of taking a stand is driven by the conviction that at certain times the need to take a stand is unarguably undeniable and inescapably inescapable. Taking a stand is taking a risk, and sometimes a big one. Therefore, too often instead of taking a stand we try to take the shortest route directly out of wherever we've found ourselves standing. On the other side of that dilemma, we know full well that if we don't take a stand at those inescapable moments, and if we hightail it out of there, there's no other way to define our lack of action other than that of gross cowardice. And we're rather adverse to that because that label sticks for a long, long time. Not many people take a stand.
Calculating the Risk, Verses Living Out the Conviction
We seem to be a bit hesitant to center ourselves too firmly on one issue, or on some conviction, or on a belief system of some sort. It seems that we much prefer to loosely position ourselves so that we can sway in unison with the opinions and convictions of others. We like to leave ample to room to 'bob and weave' just in case our stance becomes a little too offensive or potentially alienating to those around us.
Yes, we want to take a stand, but we also want to be able to stay in the good graces of everyone who's watching us do it. We want to take a stand, but in doing so we don't want to look too antiquated, or too outlandish, or too different, or too controversial, or too anything that might estrange us from everyone else. There's an endearing degree of camaraderie that we want to maintain with the rest of the humanity. Too often, the need to exercise caution so that we don't place ourselves too far outside of everyone else's good graces overrides our core convictions. We opt to be seen as 'right' in the eyes of everyone else, rather than doing what's 'right' in light of the situation. No, not many people take a stand.
Calculated Stands are Fake Stands
Sure we take stands, but we take calculated stands. We take safe stands. We take stands that certainly look like stands, and we play the boldly rogue and rather chivalrous part of someone who's taking a stand, but we take stands that are reasonably palatable to those around us. We want to be praised for taking a stand, but we don't want to be persecuted for taking a stand. We want to be admired, but we don't want to be attacked. We want to be seen as gallant and terribly brave, but we don't want to be viewed stupid and wildly ignorant. Too often we want to take stands to elevate us rather than elevate a cause. A calculated stand is a fake stand where all we're standing for is our image. Nonetheless, we want to be able to raise high the standard and decisively plant our flags firmly in the ground and boldly declare that this is the hill that we're willing to die on. We want raise our heads high, fix our feet firmly, and adamantly refuse to retreat a single inch. But before we embark on such a bold endeavor, we'd better take stock of exactly how that's going to be received by those around us. And so we take calculated stands where we meticulously determine the cost of whatever the stand might be, and if in working out the math we discover that it's going to cost us too much, we stand down. No, not many people take a stand.
A Calculated Stand is Not a Stand
A calculated stand is not a stand, nor is it close to anything even remotely resembling a stand. A stand means that we have a belief that's so deep and so core to the entirety of our existence that the most infinitesimal compromise entirely and completely guts the belief. It means that we've got a conviction that is so thoroughly rooted in the very foundation of our existence that it simply can't be shaken by the culture regardless of how hard the culture shakes it. Taking a stand means that we've determined our values to be infinitely more precious and incalculably more valuable than any price we might even come close to paying in any kind of stand that we can take on their behalf. Taking a stand means that we hold to something and believe in something to the point that any cost that we might incur in standing for them will pale in comparison to the thing that we're standing for. Taking a stand means that not taking a stand simply cannot stand. That's what it means to take a stand, and sadly not many people take a stand.
Taking a Stand is Standing Against Something
Taking a stand means that we're standing against something, but conversely it means that something is standing against that which we are standing for. This can create a violently adversarial dynamic, and typically we're not all too fond of adversity. Yet, what makes a stand a stand in the truest sense of the word is that that which I'm standing for cannot occupy the same ground as that which I'm standing against. Therefore, if I chose not to stand, the very thing that I'm standing for risks being eliminated because of my cowardice, and wiped out because of my selfish concerns. No, not many people take a stand.
What Do I Want to Stand For?:
Taking a Stand
First, I want to stand for taking a stand. I want to believe that we are not just passive people floating through life on the sordid winds of culture and trends and all things vogue and comfortable. I want to stand on the belief that we can be game changers when the game is changing long-standing values and long-sustaining beliefs. I want to stand on the conviction that our convictions can drive us in and through whatever gale-force headwind the culture has unleashed against us. I stand for the fact that we can take a stand, and in the standing we become the embodiment of the very principles that we stand for.
One Human Being Taking a Stand is More Powerful than a Thousand Who Are Not
I want to stand for the belief that a single human being taking a stand possesses a collective power greater than a thousand people who don't. I stand for the belief that the world is altered, entire cultures are shifted, history is realigned, and innumerable lives are transformed as a result of the power that is unleashed when a single person takes a stand. A single person taking a stand proclaims a value or a conviction in a language that completely eclipses any language known to man. A solitary person taking a stand for all things true and right embodies a bravery that lends a potent credibility and an unassailable validity to whatever it is that they're standing for. And if we stand long enough and hard enough, it inspires those around us to thirst with an unquenchable thirst for that kind of conviction as well.
Ethics and Morals Stand Above all Else Even When they Stand Alone
I want to stand for the fact that absolute truths and core values stand even when everything else in all of existence leaves them standing utterly alone. I stand for the truth that too often the majority stands for that which is easy and convenient and globally acceptable, and that quite often it is the few who refuse to surrender to such superficial and toxic notions. I stand on the conviction that compromise is the rot of great things, and that attempting to negotiate timeless values is the product of thoughtless arrogance. I want to stand on the foundation of ethics and morals when the world around me would assault that foundation with all of its collective might, and in the standing I want to stand on the truth that that foundation will stand long after everything that has assailed it has itself has ceased to stand.
God Has Designed Us to Stand
Most importantly, I want to stand on the truth that God has designed us to stand, and that the opportunity to stand is the opportunity to live exuberantly and gloriously. That our very natures are hewn and shaped and honed to be raised up when everything around us is falling down. I want to stand on the belief that great things are the product of ordinary people who are made great when they stand. I want to stand because God designed me to stand, and I want to stand in and on His design. I want to stand because doing anything else is standing down. May we all stand, and may we all recognize that when we stand together nothing can stand against us.
© 2014 Craig Lounsbrough, M.Div., Licensed Professional Counselor