“What I’ve dared I’ve willed; and what I’ve willed, I’ll do!” –Melville
I don’t know how many “motivational” type devotional books I have read through the years. Most of them have been pretty good. Only one stands out!
I DARE YOU is a small book by William H. Danforth (1960) I received when I graduated from high school. I was given this book by Rev. Robert E. Meanor, the Assistant pastor of my church in Aurora Colorado. I don’t know when this book was first written. The copy I was given in 1971 was the 23rd privately printed edition. I have used his formula for in my life/ministry for over forty years.
In my TOOL BOX for ministry I place this little book and this simple idea: I DARE YOU! I DARE YOU TO LIVE A BALANCED LIFE! This little book has challenged me to create a mental picture of a checker (Danforth’s term)—a box with four sides:
Through the years I have tried to use these four pillars (my term) in living my life centered in Jesus Christ. I have tried to write about these on a regular basis in my personal journal and now my blog. For example, every Wednesday I address my thoughts on my “Physical self”; Thursdays on my “Mental health”; Fridays on my “Social life”; Saturdays on my “Spiritual growth”. I then try to establish goals that I can carry with me through the week.
Living a balanced life will mean different things to different people. For me it has been important to try to be intentional in reflecting and setting goals. Some of the questions I ask myself:
- Physical: What can I do to be in better shape? How can I improve my diet in losing weight? What can I do to promote being/becoming healthier?
- Mentally: What am I reading? Listening to? What is stimulating mental health? What about puzzles and games that help me “exercise” my mind? I have gone to the web page www.luminosity.com to help with some neat mental exercises! I created this BLOG to exercise my mind. I am also listening to a variety of on-line speakers/preachers to stimulating thinking about who I am in relation to what I believe.
- Socially: I am ISTJ on the ‘Myers-Briggs’ scale—note I am a strong introvert. This is unusual for a minister. It is therefore important for me to work at engaging with others in a variety of contexts. I need to be intentional in creating social experiences. I also ask: Who do I trust who can engage with in-depth conversation? Personally and professionally? Who is in my personal network of colleagues and friends? Now that I am retired, I am trying to re-establish contact with people from my past….some of whom I have not seen for years!
- Spiritual: Some would say as a pastor, I don’t need to devote a lot of time to this area. What is God calling me to do and be in living my life as a Christian? Am I living what I preach? Now that I am retired, what can I do to continue living my life as ‘prophet, priest and king’ (see blog Jan. 16). Am I living as ‘complete’ Christian every day and with every breath I take?
This text from Galatians comes to mind as I write about the need for balance in my life. “Clearly, all of you who were baptized in Christ’s name have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3: 27
In what ways, each and every day, will I put on Christ physically, mentally, socially and spiritually?
For those who read this blog, join with me in accepting the DARE to lived tall, stand tall, think tall – and perhaps more important than anything else: SMILE TALL!
 Bob Meanor was the Assistant Pastor who guided me through the decision to contemplate entering ministry. He still lives in Omaha, Nebraska.