What even is “ability”?
I’ve been a pretty big sports fan my entire life. As a kid, I looked up to the incredible Michael Jordan, and watched his games at my grandma’s house. She would tell me, “That man is generational. No one can top him, ever. What ability.” As I would move up in age, my fascination with sports would evolve, too. Junior high it was Peyton Manning and my hometown Indianapolis Colts—I remember first seeing his patented “no huddle offense”, and his games against New England. In high school, I fervently watched the greatest collegiate and Olympic wrestlers—I too was a wrestler for my school—I watched replays of Rulon Gardner’s historic defeat of Alexander Karelin in the 2000 Olympics; 2004’s Cael Sanderson cementing himself as one of the greatest; Ben Askren of University of Missouri beating opponents with his unique “funk style” of wrestling.
Now, it’s LeBron James; I remember hearing about his high school escapades, watched him enter the league, and now watch him destroy the league with a big smile on my face. Ps, the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Woops.
The thread in all of this: I was inspired by all of their astounding abilities.
I was motivated to achieve goals in my own life because I watched them achieve theirs. What’s more, it wasn’t just the fact that they could do what they set out to do that peaked my interest. It was the fact that they did it with a fire burning. They showcased abilities beyond just the ability in their sports. When I watched—and when I still watch today—I could care less about the “style” or “flair” in which spectacular athletes succeed.
I see pieces that have all fit together within to power a beast of a doer. I see a spirit that goes beyond just want of winning.
What is even more awesome about all this though, is that everyone has “abilities”! Everyone has passion and fervor to succeed deep down. We are all born from God’s creation with, as I wrote previously, passion for something. And whatever that something is—I can guarantee that each and every one of us have the tools to propel us forward in those endeavors.
We may all have different “abilities”, but there are some that I’ve noticed that I hope can spark us into utilizing the tools God has given us for our own lives.
Funny story, when looking up the definition for this word, I noticed this graph:
And it makes me happy. That’s simply because, as the days have moved forward and the years have changed, more people are recognizing this ability in their lives! When we take account of things, we not only consider it—we find it worth acting on a personal level for. That spurs us to honesty, which then leads us to breaking down barriers and being real—when we’re real, we gain real respect. Having that yearning to be respected is, I think, deeply rooted in all of us. Be honest, you want to have your peers believe you at your first word; you want to stand tall and have even strangers say, “Yeah, that guy/girl is legit. They’re worth doing X for.”
Once we adopt the ability to be accountable and take account for our individual actions, things get a little bit easier. Impulsivity of being false, or of shying away from blatant responsibilities only makes every action we take even more cumbersome. It’s like attaching weights to our limbs every time we dodge a responsibility; it makes us slower, makes us clumsy, and gives people a reason to stare at as us funnily.
If dodging responsibility is putting up a smokescreen and running, the account-ability is opening the window and taking a selfie for Instagram.
“to endure bravely or quietly : to provide a basis for the existence or subsistence of”
Taking this ability isn’t just a means to “be there” for someone. It goes, in my mind, much deeper than that. Having the support-ability is a show of courage—it’s a show of our inner strength. The moment we decide to put ourselves on the line for our friends, loved ones, or beliefs, is the moment we forget about our own selfish desires and make ourselves vulnerable. Showcasing this ability allows us to prove that we’re not the center of our own world, and that we’re not ashamed of that as fact.
Just as important, we shouldn’t forget what our contributions do when we support a cause or others. We’re helping feed other’s belief in themselves—we’re providing a foundation for them to do what they do, and act as they act. Our support-ability gives birth to ideas, and ambitions; it gives the chance for others to not only achieve for themselves, but to “pay it forward” and give to someone else’s dreams! The best thing about it is that when we help give birth to someone’s ideas or actions, those actions might be even greater God-given things than what we originally set out to do. Their destiny might be more awe-inspiring than our own!
Team work makes the dream work, right?
“to direct the growth of (a plant) usually by bending, pruning, and tying”
Everyone knows the normal definition of “train”. We need to train to sharpen our skills. We need to practice something over and over repeatedly to get better at something. I know all about the importance of “normal” training, because I do it pretty much every day in dance. To increase our abilities to do certain things is not only good, it’s great and warranted in life.
The definition listed here though, that we should take a look at and consider, is…for plants.
Often times biblically we are described with garden terms—we’re seeds; we sow; we bear fruit; we are branches and God is the vine. Not coincidentally, all of those terms comparing us with vegetation are explicit when we look at them: we grow and attempt not to stay stagnant. We want to rise and reach up towards God, like the plant that erupts from the seed and ground. With that then, we need to embrace training. We need to embrace life and God directing our growth with a purpose.
Naturally, we will be bent into uncomfortable positions. We will occasionally be pruned—be dried a bit and need to be refreshed. Sometimes we will even be tied to others to help facilitate growth. All of which though, are good things—all of which have an ends to an even more positive and powerful means. Coming to grips with the ability to train, and taking it fully, gives God the opportunity to direct us and have us really reach higher than we could in our own power.
“incapable of being subdued : unconquerable”
The power to win is okay. But we lose quite a bit in life, and we will never always be successful. We will get pushed, kicked, and tumble down the stairs—yet, we still get up. That’s being indomitable. That’s taking to heart our ability to refuse to be subdued; being unconquerable.
The greats do not let circumstances force them to cower. Similarly, we shouldn’t either. The drive to succeed and withstand any and all comers steels our hearts—it gives us a mentality of, “If I can do this, then I can do that” for our future endeavors. There’s a reason why every one of our heroes’ origin stories are the same—fail, fail, fail, then overcome. That reason is simple: the more they endured, the more invincible their spirits became; the more tested and reliable their armor became inside.
It all builds. Every single bruising defeat we sustain toughens our nerves. Every time something cuts into our emotions is a time when our skin heals and becomes even more resilient.
Don’t be shaken because of what you stand for. Find the ability of being indomitable.