In Others’ Words: Challenges

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”
T.S. Eliot (188-1965), poet

My son Josh isn’t afraid of a challenge.

On Sunday, May 6, Josh ran the Spartan Race, a 5 mile race, complete with some crazy obstacles. Imagine climbing wooden walls slicked with mud and soap. Yeah, that’s ironic, isn’t it? And throwing javelins. And flipping huge tires. Doing a low-crawl barbed-wire obstacle course through water. Oh, yeah. And jumping over a line of fire before running past some guys with pugil sticks.

Fun, eh? Crazy fun.

Five miles of challenging himself. To conquer obstacles. To finish the race. To do what he set out to do: be victorious.

Before my son even began the course, I was proud of him. He’d already stepped up and won just by choosing to take on the challenge. He’d looked at something he’d never done before and, instead of backing down, he said, “I’m all in.”

All of my kiddos are like that. They don’t back down from challenges. I love their “Bring it on” attitudes. And when one of their siblings takes on a solo challenge, they stand on the sidelines (literally or figuratively) and cheer each other on.



In Your Words: Life: Are you in over your head or are you playing it safe? When you’re facing a challenge, who stands on the sidelines and cheers for you?


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  1. May 7, 2012, 12:28 am   /  Reply

    Kuddos to Josh! I’ve felt a bit challenged recently, because I didn’t play it safe on a few issues. I’ll get to sleep later. Hubby, kiddo and family are always on the sidelines. I’m very blessed that way.

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 6:20 am   /  Reply

      Good for you for going after challenges, Stacey — and I’m not surprised that you would. 🙂

  2. May 7, 2012, 6:10 am   /  Reply

    You sound like you have great kids! My daughter is my biggest cheerleader. Like your children, she rarely turns down a challenge. So when I’m up against one, she reminds me to keep on getting through it:)

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 6:20 am   /  Reply

      Isn’t great when our children become our cheerleaders?

  3. May 7, 2012, 6:23 am   /  Reply

    Beth, I don’t know whether I’ve said this before, but I have your blog listed on my own blog as a Favorite so every time I log into it I catch a glimpse of what you post about… which usually leads me to your blog. Must tell you: your quote today on being over your head provided a commiserative chuckle and just the perfect amount of encouragement I needed! Thanks so much for posting this. There will surely be a prize for each of us at the end of our own individuals marathons.

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 7:18 am   /  Reply

      Thank you for the Monday morning encouragement! And you are so right: we are each running our own marathons. (Hebrews 12:1)

  4. May 7, 2012, 7:00 am   /  Reply

    Oh, I’m definitely in over my head!

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 7:18 am   /  Reply

      Katie: In over your head and doing beautifully, friend. Doing beautifully.

  5. Jeanne T
    May 7, 2012, 7:08 am   /  Reply

    Playing it safe is often my MO. But, I’m learning to embrace challenges that put me in over my head. Writing a book has been the biggest one so far. I guess I don’t look for challenges, but when I am faced with one, I don’t back down. 🙂

    Your kids are amazing! I’m sure it has a lot to do with the environment you and Rob created in your home in your growing up years. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 7:19 am   /  Reply

      You’ve entered the challenge of writing and never looked back, Jeanne. 🙂

  6. May 7, 2012, 7:27 am   /  Reply

    I’m definitely becoming a more “I’m all in, bring it on” person. It’s not always my gut instinct, but I have so many people cheering me on…so why wouldn’t I dive in, over my head? My family, friends, the MBT team and the Ponderers…I am amazingly blessed by the support-people around me. 🙂

  7. May 7, 2012, 7:36 am   /  Reply

    That event sounds like fun (in a warped sort of way LOL!) Someone else I know was doing a similar sort of event this weekend too. Must be the time of year!

    More times then not I play it safe, but I’m also finding the older I get the more I get pushed out of my safe zone. I don’t know if that’s how it is for people generally, but that sure seems to be how it’s working out for me. But I’ll survive–and get better!

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 7:54 am   /  Reply

      I think it is the time of year, BK — and my family has already registered for next year. Not me. I’ll be taking the photos and cheering them on. But I do plan to train with my husband. 🙂

  8. May 7, 2012, 7:40 am   /  Reply

    Well, I tend to play it safe, but writing fiction is a whole new ballgame for me, and I feel in over my head. There is so much to learn, and putting myself out there is hard. But it’s worth it. So worth it.

    My husband and dad are my biggest fans, but my friends and the rest of my family have been super supportive as well. I’m very blessed.

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 7:55 am   /  Reply

      I so, so remember the “in over my head feeling” when I started writing fiction. Stick with us, friend. It’s worth it.

  9. May 7, 2012, 7:48 am   /  Reply

    Right up my alley! Yah for your son! I play it safe whenever I begin to feel defeated or discouraged, but when I remember (really remember) why I’m here I love and live like everything is on fire. Dancing through it all.
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 7:55 am   /  Reply

      Agreed, Wendy. Agreed. Which is why we need others cheering us on.

  10. May 7, 2012, 8:25 am   /  Reply

    Great post. I’m probably too adventurous, but it usually all works out. We went to the farm yesterday for the first time w/ it in our possession. We’ve had drenching rains so found more water/marsh than discovered before, but there’s so much peace–my older son keeps calling it a haven (from root word heaven). And harvested abundant rhubarb–from my own place–wonderful!

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 8:27 am   /  Reply

      I don’t think you’re too adventurous, Dee. You are being you — and it’s wonderful to see!

  11. May 7, 2012, 10:42 am   /  Reply

    In February, when my twins were just turning two, I decided to start working on my writing career – I finished the first draft of my current WIP and then I began digging into the publishing industry. I had no idea that this blogging world existed, I’d never read a single writing craft book and I didn’t know about MBT or ACFW – I feel like I’m in the middle of a crash course and just coming up to take my first breath. It’s been amazing and so exciting finding a whole community of fellow Christian writers and discovering James Scott Bell! But, it’s also very overwhelming and time consuming (as you know!). Sometimes I wonder if I’m crazy trying to do all of this with my children so little, but then I remember that my times are in God’s hands and He will guide each step – so far I believe He’s telling me to keep going. As for support & sideline cheerleaders – I am abundantly blessed.

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 11:41 am   /  Reply

      James Scott Bell — I have a “JSB” moment. He is such a kind, kind man — and wonderful writer/mentor. I’ll have to share the story with you sometime, Gabrielle.
      And yes, you are wise to pursue writing even while your kiddos are little. You may move at a slower pace … but just keep moving.

  12. May 7, 2012, 11:31 am   /  Reply

    Kudos to your son on participating in that race, Beth. And kudos to you and your husband for raising kids who aren’t afraid to face a challenge. Well done!

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 11:41 am   /  Reply

      My kiddos (and husband) have taught me so much about facing challenges, Keli.

  13. May 7, 2012, 1:42 pm   /  Reply

    Oh wow, that’s awesome! Several of my friends ran a mini-marathon this weekend. While I don’t think I’ll ever join them, I enjoy challenging myself in other ways, like kickboxing and Zumba class. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 4:11 pm   /  Reply

      Zumba class — one day, Sarah. One day.

  14. May 7, 2012, 1:59 pm   /  Reply

    WOW! Kudos to your son, Beth. That’s amazing! I think when we challenge ourselves, it puts the stakes much higher. We have to look at ourself in the mirror each morning. Thanks for this great food for thought to chew on the rest of the week.

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 4:12 pm   /  Reply

      Next year there’s gonna be a Vogt team doing this race — my husband and son-in-love and daughter-in-law included. I think have someone facing the same challenge with you is so, so helpful.

  15. May 7, 2012, 3:17 pm   /  Reply

    I’ve been known to jump into something before counting the cost, but don’t ever remember quitting. Congratulation to Josh and to you and your husband. You’ve reared courageous children!

    • Beth Vogt
      May 7, 2012, 4:12 pm   /  Reply

      As I mentioned before, my children are tremendous examples to me of courage and bravery. I’ve learned a lot from them.

  16. May 7, 2012, 6:59 pm   /  Reply

    An inspiring post, Beth! I often feel like I’m in over my head. It’s good to be reminded that that’s how we grow.

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