“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up
Your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” ― Luke 21:28
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.
― Proverbs 4:2
He who is silent and bows his head dies every time he does so. He who
speaks aloud and walks with his head held high dies only once.
― Giovanni Falcone
To everyone battling a difficulty or under attack right now: smile, keep
your head up, keep moving and stay positive, you’ll get through it.
― Germany Kent
It’s so easy to get discouraged in life. We run into so many losses, setbacks, disappointments, and failures that it’s really easy to throw in the towel and walk away defeated.
In this, my final chapter of advice, I want to encourage you to keep your head held high and keep moving with confidence into the life that God laid out for you before you were even born.
There are five major things that I want to encourage you about, five things that ought to lead to your head being held high while you live out your life.
First, God made you in His image. Be encouraged as you go through life that you were “fearfully and wonderfully” made by God and are imbued with worth while you’re here. Don’t ever tell yourself or let others tell you you’re worthless because it just ain’t so.
Second, God has your back. God is constantly looking out for you and protects you in ways that you will never fully understand on this side of heaven. Proverbs 2:7-8 says, “He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”
Third, God has a plan for you that is uniquely tailored to the way He knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). One of Pop’s favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God will never force His plan for your life on you because He has too much respect for our freedom to make our own choices. But, rest assured, He has a plan for you that can lead to a wonderfully joyful and fulfilling life.
Fourth, God’s love for you is broader, deeper, and higher than you will ever know and never goes up or down. Ephesians 3: 17-19 says, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” We experience conditional love from others while we’re here because human beings are incapable of unconditional love. Only the love of God is full, complete, and unconditional.
Fifth, God is always ready to empower your efforts to avoid doing things that bring about your own demise. In other words, you don’t have to fight temptation in your own power but can actually tap the power of God to run from things that would lead to your ruin in life.
God is clear about this, saying “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
All of these attributes of God are the primary not to hang your head in life. It’s why the Bible says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). If God, who is unconditionally loving and all-powerful (and so many other wonderful things), is for us, we never have a legitimate reason to drop our head as we go through life.
As Marvin Ashton put it, “As children of God we are somebody. He will build us, mold us, and magnify us if we will but hold our heads up, our arms out, and walk with him.”
Even though all this is true, let me speak out of the other side of my mouth for a minute.
While it’s important to keep our head up in life, we don’t ever want to do so in an arrogant or prideful manner.
Max Forman said, “Always hold your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.”
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld observed, “Keep your head up in failure and your head down in success.”
We aren’t to let failure get the best of us such that we drop our head, but we aren’t to let success go to our head such that we walk around with our nose up in the air.
Munchkins, one of the reasons I’m talking about keeping your head up is that every piece of advice we’ve covered in this book is in the “easier said than done” category of life, and you’re going to be tempted to throw in the towel and stop trying grow as a human being.
Be encouraged – with God’s help and trustworthy people alongside, you have every reason to be encouraged that your life can as fulfilling and meaningful as you care to make it.
I close this chapter with one of my favorite verses in the Bible. I hope you are encouraged by it and that it will help you to keep your head up:
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:30-31)