Have you ever been excited to start something, only to find yourself giving up a short while later?
We start working out only to stop.
We start eating healthy only to find ourselves in the McDonald’s drive-thru.
We start the month with a budget only to get off track.
We start and fail so many times that it would seem easier to just not start at in all.
Is it really worth all the effort of starting, failing, and then starting over again?
Way back in the 1500′s, when plundering other countries was the cool thing to do, a guy by the name of Hernando Cortes heard about the Aztec gold.
The Aztecs of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico were known for their massive amounts of gold. It was thought to be the greatest treasure the world had ever known.
The same army had protected the treasure for over 600 years, and though many had tried, no one had ever successfully taken it.
Cortes assembled 500 carefully selected soldiers, and they made their way to Mexico.
Upon arrival, Cortez did not attack right away. He spent several days on the beach essentially giving motivational speeches to rally the troops. On the day they were to invade he realized that his troops were still not focused enough.
He assembled everyone together for what the soldiers expected to be the final pep talk. However, Cortez had only three words for them. He simply said, “Burn the boats.”
He said that in order to be victorious there must be no option of retreat. If they were to go home, they were taking their boats. It was all or nothing. Win or die.
Cortez was fully committed to taking home the treasure, and he did.
Commitment is a difficult thing. It is not committing to something that is the trouble; it is sticking with that commitment where difficulty arises.
Sometimes we need to burn our boats. Without the option of retreat, our mindset changes. We view the outcomes differently because we have nowhere to go if we fail.
Burning our boats could involve ending a friendship that only pulls you down. Maybe it’s quitting a job to pursue something you are truly passionate about. It could be removing something that has become a stumbling block for you in your Christian walk.
Burning your boats is about sending a message. It is telling yourself and others that you are serious.
Can you imagine what kind of message this sent the Aztecs in this story. Time and time again they had been attacked, and the opposing armies retreated to their boats. This time as they saw the soldiers coming, they notice something in the background. They had set their boats on fire. Talk about striking fear in your opponent!
It may not be that dramatic for you. It may not even be something other people notice.
For me, it was announcing to everyone that I didn’t just write, but that I am a writer; I burnt the boat of being able to quit without anyone noticing.
What boats do you need to burn?