What does it mean to be the first?
No matter what the situation or arena may be—whether you are the first in history or the first in your family, it all matters.
The very reason that it matters is the answer to the question, “What does it mean to be first?” It’s because the idea that there is a ‘first’ implies that there will be more. Once someone does it for the ‘first’ time, there will inevitably be a second, and sooner or later a ‘thirty-fifth’, at which point the marker won’t matter any longer because the barrier has been removed, the box broken, and it has now become the norm.
The call in our generation is a call to two different battlefronts. One, to break the boxes that need to be broken, and the second, to make a stand for standards that are based in truth, refusing to allow our line of truth to be moved.
This is a time that calls on us to engage in both simultaneously.
We must be ambidextrous—able to discern when it’s time to dig in our heels to stand for principles and what is right, and when it is time to push through and break into something brand new.
I believe this looks like living beyond the heated arguments of today, and asking ourselves, “What does the Bible say?” It looks like making scripture our standard for how we live, speak, love—even how we vote. After all, it is still the book that we live our lives by, and it still holds the answers for today’s complex issues. What I have come to understand about box breaking is that being the ‘first’ is not a reserved space.
Everyone that God calls has the power to do extraordinary things, and every time that we follow His lead, it has the power to inspire.
Let the stories of these box breakers inspire you in whatever ways you are called to break out of the box or push through the barriers to do what God has placed in your heart. Remember that you may be breaking through in a hidden way, not obvious to the masses, but what you are doing will make a difference for others. Though the moment may feel daunting, as long as it is God that is sending you, you’ve got what it takes to break into all He has for you.
A Few Inspiring Box Breakers:
Dr. Laurie Leshin (1966)
- -First Female President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the institution’s 150-year history
- -An accomplished geochemist and space scientist
James Worley Jones (1884)
- -First known African American FBI special agent
- -His expertise and undercover work were invaluable in fighting domestic terrorism in his generation
Eloise Page (1920)
- -First female CIA Chief of Station
- -A well-known expert on terrorism, nicknamed “the iron butterfly” for being a petite, genteel, Southern lady who was a fierce fighter in the workplace
John D. Rockefeller (1839)
- -Widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, the richest person in modern history, and a life-long tither
- -Broke the barrier of his con-artist father’s ways for making money
- -Created what is now known as targeted philanthropy, giving largely to Christian organizations and churches
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