The Brotherhood – Part 132

The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.

It’s not easy to stay on top.

This basketball season, I’ve watched from a 200-mile distance as my hometown college basketball team has done the unexpected and made it to the final game of their regular season without a loss. Thirty wins in a row! What an amazing run, and I hope it can continue all the way to the end of the post season.

But, I’m not writing you today to brag on my team. Instead, I want to show you that while it can be an arduous climb to get to the top, staying there can be even harder.

Every night, my team wears a larger-than-ever target on their back. The team that can end their streak will live in headlines, so every team brings their best into our gym. There’s pressure mounting too as more and more people file into the media seats, and the formerly disinterested now check every box score to see if the streak remains alive. Attention can be fun, but it can also bring extra stresses.

If you’re at the top of your game or even if you’re just having a particularly good week, the experience can be much the same. Expectations rise and those who would bring you down become more determined. And if you’re going to stay on top, there’s some things you have to do.

1. Keep working hard – The natural response to scaling the mountain is to take a deep breath, and maybe a nap. Rarified air has a way of going to your head and you can quickly forget just how hard it’s been to get where you are. So casual effort and carelessness can sneak in as you assume that life will be easier now that you’re dancing on the mountain peak.

2. Expect your enemy’s best – Those on top make easier targets. It’s easier to topple someone from a peak than from a plateau, and your enemy (God’s enemy too) has a vested interest in bringing you down. Here’s why many who reach the pinnacle of their careers find the stumbling easier. The enemy is now focused like never before and he’s coming with both barrels loaded.

3. Remember who strengthened you for the climb – Too many success stories end with the winner abandoning those he once held close. Spouses, children, colleagues, and God are all sacrificed for the revelry at the top of the ladder. But when you abandon your strength, well, you won’t have what you need to remain victorious. How sad to reach the winner’s circle alone.

Yes, we should give our best to the life before us, straining with great effort to maximize the gifts God has given us. But remember that winning has a way of making us careless. Giving your best may get you to the top, but you’ll need your best when you get there too.

By the way…GO SHOX!!

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