Missions is…toughening up (buttercup)

One summer before coming to SVG, I spent a week speaking at a local christian camp. Like most camps the experiences there are built to not only build camaraderie, but challenge teens to push their comfort zones.

I believe it was during one of the challenging games that one girl started to lag behind, so another turned around to her and shouted “suck it up buttercup!“

This phrase was her way of exhorting or “challenging” the other camper the step up in the face of a challenge. It was done in a joking manner, but I remember the young lady who lagged behind immediately pushing herself harder after her friends challenging words.

I actually found the phrase kind of funny, and use it myself as a form of exhortation today, thought I prefer to the better sounding “toughen up buttercup.” Bible College students have heard me use it often this year during a challenging theology class, and they have shouted that mantra back at me more than once.

I personally believe that phrase stuck in my head because in a deeper way, we all need to hear that sometimes. We all know that challenges should be faced with courage and determination, but it’s very easy to become passive or back down instead.

The problem with this is we are created to flourish in challenging situations

Dr. Jordan Peterson in his book “twelve rules for life” explains that facing challenges with confidence is what men in particular are created to do fn. This is true for males and females of course, but especially with males since they are created to find their identity in accomplishing tasks, and protecting others.

the problem with that is today we see fewer and fewer men, as well as women, facing challenges with confidence. There are many different reasons why this is true, but one of the most basic is they don’t have that voice exhorting them to “toughen up.”

Between my ministries in Australia and Saint Vincent, I got serious about running. It eventually became a form of relaxation and enjoyment, mostly because I got involved with a running group. At least twice a week, we would get together for either a long run on Saturday, and speed training on Tuesday.

The truth is I could have endured speed training on my own. But there is absolutely no possibility of surviving the long runs that were part of my marathon training without running partners.

There were many Saturday mornings when I’d have simply turned around and gone home after a few painful miles, or not showed up at all! But my partners were always there to encourage, challenge, and give a push if needed.

The picture at the top of this post was from the most painful and miserable run in my life, don’t let the smile fool you. It was a few weeks before our marathon, and we trained in the cold rain for about twenty miles. Honestly the marathon itself was NOTHING compared to the misery of that morning! But I was able to stand at the end with a smile on my face because of the friends who wouldn’t let me quit.

Life is filled with challenges that will weaken anybody’s confidence. Which is why we need friends who will comfort, encourage, and on occasion tell us to “toughen up”.

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