Tag Archives: George Washington

Fearless.

Lydia Darragh

FEARLESS

   Most Americans have never heard the name Lydia Darragh but if not for her, the American Revolution might have ended very differently, and we might be paying taxes to the British royal family to this day.

   During the Revolution, Lydia Darragh operated as a member of Washington’s spy network in Philadelphia where she owned a home. Her spying career began when the British took over her house as a meeting place, a move which inspired Lydia to begin hiding in a closet and eavesdropping on their conversations. Afterward, she’d send her son to relay the enemy’s secret plans and strategies to the colonists. One such intel interception is said to have saved the life of General George Washington himself.* Lydia Darragh knew she was risking her home, her freedom, and even her life to spy for the Americans, but she didn’t care; liberty was infinitely more precious than safety.

   There’s power in not caring.

   History has demonstrated that, throughout the ages, there’s absolutely no limit to what a person can accomplish if they simply don’t care what other people think. Take, for example, Abraham Lincoln. Here was a man who had lost election after election—over a dozen at least—and yet still ran for president. He didn’t care that there were many who mocked him, called him a “loser”, and made him a national laughing stock. Then later, once in office, President Lincoln was apparently not obsessed with amassing power or being voted “most loveable” because he pulled the plug on slavery, knowing full well that millions would despise him for doing it. Moreover, he had to know that he was putting his very life at risk. But he didn’t care. He only cared about doing what he knew was right.

   The same is true of King David and Queen Esther in the Bible. David, scorned as a lowly shepherd boy, nevertheless faced down a giant because Goliath had dared to mock the living God. David was so horrified by Goliath’s blasphemy that he was willing to endure ridicule: the jeers of the whole Israeli army and the outrage of his own brothers who accused him of arrogance for having the audacity to believe he could do what seasoned warriors feared to do. Yet David didn’t care what they thought; he did what he had to do.

   Then there was Queen Esther who breached protocol and approached the Persian king uninvited to plead for the lives of the Jewish people (Esther 4:11). And while such an emergency might seem to be an extenuating circumstance and so trump the royal protocol, it wasn’t—one simply did not appear before the court without a royal summons. In fact, such insolence often ended badly for the poor, misguided reprobates who’d attempted it in the past. Still, Esther’s attitude was, “‘If I perish, I perish.’” She didn’t care enough about the consequences of her “presumption” to compromise her mission. And because of that attitude, she saved the entire Jewish race.

   That’s the power of not caring.

   Fear of man and his opinion is the death of many destinies.

   Who is willing to face down ridicule, rejection, ruin and even death to accomplish that thing they were born to do? On the other hand, how many people have caved to the pressure of another man or woman’s opinion and abandoned their destinies?

   We’ll never know because their names have been lost in the dark void of compromise and fear.

   Jesus never caved. Even when the Pharisees called him crazy, a fraud, a criminal, demon possessed—whatever they could conjure to destroy him—he never flinched. In fact, he struck back, exposing them as hypocrites, “white-washed tombs” and even murderers. Why? He simply didn’t care what they thought. As a result, he revealed corruption in the highest ranks of the Jewish leadership and shone a bright light for the poor, deceived people of Israel.

   But what if Jesus had cared about what people thought of him? He certainly would not have chosen to hang naked upon a cross to be spit upon, mocked and humiliated before throngs of people. Moreover, he knew that scripture pronounced a curse upon anyone “hung from a tree” and that that curse included the family of the condemned; therefore, he would never have consented, by hanging upon that wooden cross (tree), to bring shame upon his family—that is, if he cared about what man thought of him.

   Not that that decision was easy for him. Just imagine what his notoriety did to the reputation of his mother, his brothers and his sisters. Did they live in shame forever after? Did his sisters have a difficult time finding men who would marry them—daughters of a cursed family? Possibly. I don’t know for certain but the only one of Jesus’ siblings who is ever referenced by name is his brother, James. But even James was not present at the cross to comfort their mother. None of his siblings were (which is why Jesus entrusts his disciple John to care for Mary). So did the rest of his siblings desert him, renounce him, disown him? I have to wonder because only once are his brothers and sisters ever mentioned in the Gospels and none by name.

   Even so… Jesus could not afford to care about what people thought about him or even about his family; if he had, he would have quit. Thankfully, he did not.

   I daresay that behind every tale of success throughout history from the ancients to this very hour, there comes a moment when a person has to decide which he (she) cares more about: his reputation or his destiny. If he fears the opinion of man and caves to the detriment of what is right, then destiny is lost. But if he moves forward past the “group think,” not caring about his critics or their speculations, then history is made. Fear of man has never inspired anyone to set a new trend or to blaze a new trail but instead, sadly, only to follow behind—even if it’s over the cliff he goes. 

   There’s great power in not caring what others think—and freedom. It’s the freedom to express yourself, to explore all opportunities, and to be who you were created to be.

   It’s the end of fear.

 

  • Kyla Cathey (“9 Women Who Helped Win the American Revolution”)
Advertisements

Rise From the Ashes.

chess-pieces

What do George Washington, Susan Boyle, Mark Cuban, Michael Jordan, M&M, Helen Keller, Nick Vujicic, Abe Lincoln, and Cinderella all have in common? True – they’re all famous but that’s not it. Before they were famous, they were all “nobodies” or “failures” or “losers”.

They were all underdogs.

Let’s break it down. Take George Washington, for example. In the 1700’s, he had the gall to take on the best-trained and equipped, most powerful army in the world – the British – with the most ragtag bunch of men who ever had the nerve to call themselves an army. None in his small Continental Army had sufficient food or weapons, and many had only rags for shoes and tents for shelter in the bitter cold of a Valley Forge winter. And as if that weren’t enough, a large portion of the colonists weren’t even standing with Washington; they were supporting the British.

 George Washington was not supposed to win that war – but he did. He led that scrappy little Continental Army to an astounding victory over the British. (And the whole civilized world was scandalized!)

Susan Boyle is the woman with Asperger’s Syndrome (a type of autism) who had the courage to audition for Britain’s Got Talent (similar to American Idol). If you’ve never seen the video of her debut appearance on the show, U-Tube it. The best part is Simon Cowell’s face when she appeared on stage as a timid, socially-awkward woman who looked like she’d probably never sung anywhere but the shower. But when she opened her mouth, magic happened. Since then, Susan Boyle has become world-famous, having sold millions of CD’s.

Susan Boyle wasn’t just a low-odds’ gamble; she was a no-odds’ guarantee. And there are more:

Mark Cuban, the multi-billionaire from Shark Tank, dropped out of high school before his senior year and then survived as a bartender, DJ, and party producer. That was before making his billions as a technology tycoon.

M&M is the wrong color and shouldn’t have been able to do what he did: become a rap artist. Everyone knows white men can’t rap. Apparently, M&M didn’t know it. Or – maybe he did – and he did it anyway.

And then there was Michael Jordan – cut from his high school basketball team. (How would you love to be that coach?) Nevertheless, Michael Jordan became one of the most successful, highly paid basketball stars the NBA has ever seen. Even twelve years after his last NBA game, Jordan has made more money in endorsements and sponsorships than he ever made as a BB player: a cool billion, in fact.

Not bad for an underdog.

Helen Keller, as we might remember, became blind, deaf and mute at 19 months old as a result of an unknown illness. Despite all odds, Keller grew up to be the first deaf-blind person ever to earn a bachelor of arts degree, in addition to becoming an American author, political activist, and lecturer.

Nick Vujicic has no arms and no legs. Still, he travels the world speaking, many times in schools, where his message is “you are loved”. It’s not, Vujicic says, about what you look like – or don’t look like; it’s about who you are. Who would have believed that anyone would receive Nick’s message? Nick did.

 And then there was Abraham Lincoln. Few people have ever been defeated more times in life then he was and yet come so far back. To say that he was an underdog when running for president would be a really amusing understatement. Here’s why:

  • 1816 – Family lost their home; he had to go to work.
  • 1818 – Mother died.
  • 1831 – Business failed.
  • 1832 – Ran for state legislature – lost; lost his job; applied to law school – denied.
  • 1833 – Borrowed money for business, went bankrupt. Spent 17 years repaying debt.
  • 1834 – Ran for state legislature again – won.
  • 1835 – Engaged to be married, fiancé died.
  • 1836 – Had total nervous breakdown; in bed for six months.
  • 1838 – Sought speakership of the state legislature – defeated.
  • 1840 – Sought elector-ship – defeated.
  • 1843 – Ran for Congress – lost.
  • 1846 – Ran for Congress again and won.
  • 1848 – Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
  • 1849 – Sought position of land officer in Illinois – rejected.
  • 1854 – Ran for Senate – lost.
  • 1856 – Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination – got less than 100 votes.
  • 1858 – Ran for U.S. Senate again – lost.
  • 1860 – Elected President of the United States.

Has there ever been a bigger underdog than Honest Abe? (Not counting, of course, dozens of Bible underdogs who shouldn’t have been able to do what they did either: David, Joseph, Rahab, Esther, Gideon, Noah, Mary Magdalene, Peter, John the Baptist – that list continues ad infinitum.)

And . . . Cinderella. Why a fairy-tale princess? Cinderella represents all of the dozens of characters in literature who are underdogs in the face of impossible odds and who, despite that, press on to overcome and achieve their goals, dreams, visions, and destinies. Cinderella rose from the ashes to find, not only true love, but her place as royalty.

If you’re feeling like the “least likely to succeed,” that’s a really good place to be. Why? Because God loves an underdog.

Now rise.