Are you living from the sidelines? So many people are doing just that – without even realizing it.

When I was a child, my piano lessons were very important to me. And as each year drew to a close, the Piano Recital was the grand finale. So we gathered in the large auditorium with our families and friends assembled to cheer us on.

Decked out in my formal best, I waited for my name to come up on the program. I would sit, supposedly listening to the others, but totally distracted from the music being presented. I was waiting for my time to come. That’s what I was there for. My performance.

When we got closer to our moment and our group finally went back stage, it would have taken the National Guard to keep us from running and playing as we waited. We definitely weren’t listening to the others, we were waiting for our moment.

I’m sure that if you played sports, you would have similar recollections. When the game was on, you were there to do your part. Of course, you pulled for the team, but you wanted to be in the game.

Why do we as adults develop a bleachers mentality?

So what happened to us? As children we longed to be in the game. Why do we as adults develop a bleachers mentality? Maybe put-downs or discouragements, maybe setting goals so high that only supermen could have accomplished them. For whatever reason, as adults we are different.

This bleachers mentality causes us to sit on the sidelines and watch. No longer do we want to be in the game, but we live from the sidelines. As a result, we cheer for our football team, and if they win, we think we have won. If they lose, it’s as though we personally have failed.

Then we turn on TV and watch our favorite news program or some reality show. Later we pick up the latest magazine and discover who is in crisis, but also, who is buying the most expensive cars, or having the most elegant wedding, or which business mogul is making the most money.

We are watching from the sidelines. We are not really in the game.

Even in the church this mentality exists. We watch celebrity teachers, and love the big accomplishments of big ministries. We often sit on the sidelines and think that’s what it is all about. We were there or we heard the teaching on TV, so that was our part. But do we do what we learned?

Or as writers, speakers, and entrepreneurs, we listen to the latest webinar, and somehow we think that listening was enough. We trick ourselves into thinking that we have accomplished great things by our learning. We are living from the sidelines.

I say, No longer!

I know that God gave me this life, and I want to live it in an active, robust way. 

I don’t want to live from the sidelines. I know that God gave me this life, and I want to live it in an active, robust way. I want to fulfill all that He has for me.

Of course, I have received lots of inspiration and understanding from big ministries and successful instructors. But the important thing is not what I heard, it’s what I did with what I heard. How has the instruction impacted what I do with my life?

We have an uncanny way of tricking ourselves.

Bill Phillips, the famous Body For Life fitness expert, has an interesting take on this phenomenon. He became amazed at the numbers of out-of-shape people who would approach him and thank him for his books. They didn’t seem to realize that he would notice that they weren’t implementing what he advised. So he came up with a challenge to toss to his students.

Now he tells them to Face the Abyss

And what is the abyss? It’s that infinite chasm between knowing and doing. It’s a great gulley that is hard to cross.

As Mr. Phillips explains it, when he instructs them, people are motivated. They begin to envision glamorous pictures of their new bodies and their incredible energy. So they learn some more…Then they learn some more…They may purchase some gym equipment and even a new jogging outfit.

They may try a little, but many people never benefit from his program, even though it could be the most successful one they have ever tried.

They won’t face the abyss – that great chasm – which requires that we take action when we know what to do. They listen and learn, but they never follow through with action.

So what abyss are you facing? And why don’t you just leap over it? Or at least build a bridge across it one step at a time?

There are many reasons that we as adults fail to be doers. Sometimes it’s fear of failure. Sometimes it’s not recognizing our potential. Sometimes it’s just procrastination or laziness. Or lack of vision – that burning desire.

Are You doing what you know to do?

In the next few weeks, I am going to be elaborating on some of these hindrances.

In the meantime, take some time to think about your personal mission. Are you doing what you know to do? Are you following through with your plans for action?

Be honest with yourself. How much are you implementing?

I have done some soul-searching and I have made a decision. I refuse to sit in the bleachers of my life. No longer will I just be on the sidelines watching others perform. I am determined to get into the game and fulfill the purpose God has for me.

I will face the abyss and take action. I will do what I know to do. I will take those necessary steps to make it happen.

I refuse to live from the sidelines.

I hope you’ll join me. We can do this.

Blessings, and May Your Journey Be Forever Upward.

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P.S. James 1:22-25 Don’t merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word and does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently at the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. (NIV)