One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech titled “Citizenship in a Republic,” but better known as “The Man In The Arena” that he gave at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910.
I’m sure you have read it or heard it quoted, but in case you haven’t…
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
It’s hard for me to read the quote and not get stirred up! I want live daring greatly! I guess you could say reading the biography of Theodore Roosevelt in fifth grade made an impact on my life!
To live life IN THE ARENA. That’s my goal.
And you know what?
There are times when living in the arena means that you get beat up and are covered in dust and sweat and blood.
This is where I find myself professionally. I’m in a season of living in the arena and I’m coming up short over and over again.
In my picture below, I’m on my way to my most recent round in the arena.
And I lost again.
But you know what? I didn’t do anything wrong and I have nothing to be ashamed of.
And that is why I’m writing this post.
When we are in the midst of the dust and sweat and blood inside the arena, all we can see is that we are being trampled and that once again we have to pick ourselves up. And no one wants to share that. No one wants to put themselves out there for ridicule or worse.
But here is what I have to say.
I am PROUD that I am standing in the arena taking the hits. I could have easily given up. I could pretend that I didn’t try. I could pretend that it doesn’t hurt like hell to be passed over again and again. I could pretend that my self confidence hasn’t taken a huge hit.
But I’m not.
Because I’m determined to live an authentic life and I want my daughters to see that life is about “great enthusiasms,” “the great devotions,” and I truly believe that I’m spending my time and efforts on a “worthy cause.”
So for any of you out there that know me in real-life… if you notice the dust on my face, I wouldn’t mind it if you helped wash it off. The dust is pretty thick in this arena and its getting hard to see….