What makes a successful person? What makes someone a good role model? Is it their age? Wealth? Fame? Is it living a picture perfect life? Never making mistakes? Well, maybe it’s their struggles. Maybe it’s the way that they pushed their way through the storms of life one step at a time, and came out stronger for it. Maybe it’s the way that their struggles were turned into something beautiful, not despair and ruins.
Today we’re going to be focusing on the life of Elisabeth Elliot. Elisabeth Elliot is quite well known among Christian circles. Up until her death in 2015 at the age of 88, she was a missionary, author, and public speaker. If ever there was a strong, inspirational Christian woman, it would be her! Countless Christian women have looked up to her as a role model. But what made her the strong Christian woman that she was? What made her that amazing role model? Was she just born that way?
I’m sure that most of you have probably heard the story of Elisabeth Elliot at one point or another. Elisabeth started out her life as your normal, average person…… But then one day, something changed. She wanted to do something that would make a difference in this world. She had a burden for missions and translating the bible into unknown languages. That burden took her to college where she studied classical Greek for translation. While in college, she met her future husband, Jim Elliot. The 2 of them traveled to Ecuador and began missions work with the native Indians there.
Fast forward a little bit….. Elisabeth is now 29 years old. She has been married for 3 years, has a 10 month old daughter, and their mission work is going great! Right? Well…… I’m pretty sure that having her husband speared to death did NOT fit into her plans anywhere.
Was her life perfect? Well, considering that her husband was speared to death and left her alone with a baby….. I’m just going to go out on a limb here and say, NO, her life was nowhere near perfect. In fact, she faced more hardships than most of us ever will. But here comes the important part….. What became of those struggles? Did they destroy her and leave her in ruins? No, not at all! She went on to live one of the most amazing, influential Christian lives that we have seen! In our eyes, she had every excuse to quit, give up, and go home. But she didn’t! Instead, she chose to keep walking through the storms one step at a time, and come out stronger!
I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless absndon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it. Elisabeth Elliot
Stop making excuses for why you aren’t the person that you should be. Your life isn’t going to be perfect. No matter how amazing it may be, it’s definitely not going to be perfect. Not even close! As much as we all wish that we could skip the hard times, there’s just no away around them! Life is filled with struggles. And that’s just a fact! But the question is, what are you going to about it? Will your valleys destroy you and ruin your life, or are you going to push your way through, one step at a time, and come out stronger?
A Good Role Model Is Courageous
Good role models don’t stay in their comfort zone. Did the Elliot’s have fear and uncertainty? Well since they were human beings just like the rest of us, the answer is, Yes! Of course! But did they let that fear stop them? No. They realized that their fear didn’t matter when God was in control.
Sometimes fear does not subside and one must choose to do it afraid. – Elisabeth Elliot
When you realize how important each and every person in this world is, you will realize that there’s no room for selfishness! You weren’t put in this world to live a picture perfect life inside of your comfort zone, you’re here to serve others. Letting fear and uncertainties take control is giving in to selfishness. In Elisabeth’s case, even after her husband was killed, she continued to disregard her fear and put the lives of the natives before her own. How many of us would do that? If your husband had just been speared to death, would you continue living in that same area, continuing the same mission work?
It took a lot of courage for Elisabeth to stay in Ecuador and continue the mission work after her husband’s death. I guarantee that she had fear. I guarantee that she had doubts. But she didn’t let those doubts and fears control her! She knew that God was greater, and he had everything under control. Even when she had no idea what would happen next, she knew that she had to keep trusting Him, and taking one step at a time.
You will never understand why God does what He does, but if you believe Him, that is all that is necessary. Let us learn to trust Him for who He is. – Elisabeth Elliot
A Good Role Model Is Humble
One of the most humbling moments is when you realize that you’re life isn’t in your hands. You can’t tell God what to do. You can’t tell Him what He’s doing wrong. You can’t demand that He does exactly what you want Him to do and follow all of your plans.
God is God. I dethrone Him in my heart if I demand that He act in ways that satisfy my idea of justice. – Elisabeth Elliot
Wow. Just read through that again….. God is God. God is God. The answer to every single problem in life can be summed up in that one simple (but profound) statement. God is God. We have no right to be questioning.
God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.
A Good Role Model Focuses On The Bigger Picture
Refuse self-pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you. – Elisabeth Elliot
What did Elisabeth do with the struggles and pain in her life? She gave it all to God. You see, when you realize that this life isn’t all about you, it’s impossible to be selfish. How can you complain, when you realize that you have no right to!
God will not protect you from anything that will make you more like Jesus. – Elisabeth Elliot
Think of the apostle Paul for a moment…. He was beaten, he was stoned, he was imprisoned, he was shipwrecked, and on and on that list could go. In our eyes, he had many reasons to ask “Why, God? Why is all of this happening to me when I’m just trying to serve you?” But instead of turning bitter at God for the hardships that came in his life, he stayed focused on the bigger picture. He endured so many hardships, but yet he simply called them “light afflictions” Wow!
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; – 2 Corinthian 4:17
Even through her struggles, Elisabeth stayed focused on the bigger picture, because she knew that God had a plan for her life. She knew that He wouldn’t just leave her destroyed and in ruins. She knew that even if she couldn’t see the sunshine through the storm, God was going to make something beautiful.
Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God’s story never ends with ‘ashes'” – Elisabeth Elliot
Even you, with all of your mistakes and failures, can’t mess up the will of God. You’re not that powerful! You can’t take things into your own hands and expect to never have struggles. Life is life. Life is messy. Life is hard. But your life can be beautiful.
Turn your struggles into triumphs.
Turn your valleys into mountaintops.
Turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Turn your discouragements into inspiration.
Turn your fear into courage.
Turn your pride into humbleness.
Turn your doubts into trusting.
Turn your uncertainties into joy.
Anything given to God can become a pathway to joy. – Elisabeth Elliot
What will be said of your life at 80 years old? Will you have a life filled with ruin? Or will you have a beautiful life, one that was made stronger through the struggles that came your way. It’s up to you!