True Grit by Mike Breaux

This is the first of four guest posts written by Mike Breaux. Mike teaches at Heartland Community Church in Rockford, Illinois and is one of the best guys we know (the best guy I know). Also, at one point in his life, he changed my diapers. Enjoy.


Alright, I have confession to make. Most of my life I felt inadequate, you know “less-than”, mainly, because I was. How many of you, like me were always the shortest kid in the class?  You know, front row for class pictures, and having 6th grade girls tower over you.  How many of you got so stoked to get to go to an amusement park only to encounter that stupid sign that said, “You must be this tall to ride this ride.”  I would think, “Dang, I’ll be like 16 before I’m that tall!”


Growing up I played all kinds of sports. I had a blast, and have a lot of great memories around athletics. I always felt like I was an integral part of the team, but I was never the big stud superstar kid. Always played second base or point guard and never wore a number like #44. Those double digit jerseys were for the big guys with muscles.


My freshman year of college I played basketball at a small school and when I donned my white uniform, with tall white tube socks (anyone remember those?), and white ace bandages wrapping my sore my knees, with my skinny frame and a huge mop of hair, I looked like a Q-tip! No kidding. I really did.


Long before the Avengers movie came out, I would watch him on Friday night TV and dream of the day that I would turn into the Incredible Hulk. One day, I too, would have rippling biceps and triceps, and pecs and lats and a screaming six pack.  But the reality was, I was looking more and more like Urkel on the other channel.


I wanted to be a tough guy. I wanted to be rugged. I wanted to be a man of courage. I wanted to be like the weathered cowboys of my childhood, Marshall Dillon, Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter, the Earp boys of Tombstone, and Marshall Rooster Cogburn, who had something they called ‘True Grit.’


I guess that’s what it really was. More than just idolizing tough guys and cowboys, I’ve just always been a fan of GRIT.


I like getting dirty. I love manual labor. I really enjoy all things construction (excluding drywall) and it’s a good day when I can end it covered in sweat, concrete, mud, or saw dust.


I like GRIT. Grit is what sandpaper has. Grit is what makes the saw dust. You know what I’m talking about? It’s what enables it to cut through the rough stuff. And the more I think about it, that’s the kind of man I’ve always wanted to be. More than a tough guy, more than a rugged manly man, I want to become the kind of man who can cut through the tough stuff. I want to be the kind of guy who is able to make life a little smoother for other people, the kind of guy who chases after God, the kind of man who won’t give up and along the way is determined to make an eternal difference with his life.  That’s TRUE GRIT.

Let me give you a little formula that has helped me…

G+R= I.T.


As you can see the formula uses the letters for GRIT… (and you’re thinking, ‘wow, dude you are a communication genius!’) I know, I know, but I need simple stuff to help me remember things and you may be a little slow like me.


Let me give you the result side of the equation first…

G + R = I nternal T oughness


So if you want to develop internal toughness…not talking about that external weathered Cowboy, Incredible Hulk, Dirty Jobs,  kind of toughness. I’m talking about TRUE GRIT. Internal toughness. Character. The stuff that counts…here’s how you get it.


The G on the left side of the equation stands for GRACE.  I’m learning that a firm grasp of the grace of God, the radical, relentless love of God for you, is where it all starts.

There was this gritty guy named Paul, who wrote a bunch of the New Testament of the Bible. He was talking about how he would pray to God for some painful stuff he was struggling with and then he wrote this about God’s response to his prayers…

2 Corinthians 12:9(NLT) Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”

God is saying, “You want to develop internal toughness? My grace is all you need. When you know that you are deeply loved and treasured your Creator, when you know that you have been given enormous potential for greatness, and nothing you could ever do will change the way He feels about you… it changes everything!

Oh, you may have those times where you feel inadequate, but you will always live in the confident truth that you are a much loved man, that you are a treasured child of the Most High God.

I look around and see a lot of guys striving to be something they already are… ACCEPTED.  Maybe they never lived up to the expectations of an unrealistic dad or a demanding mom and as a result they’ve been chasing that illusive ‘atta boy’ all of their life.  Running after approval and significance, longing to belong, to be accepted. If that’s you, then know this, you are already accepted by the One who matters most.


Your past does not define you. Your failures do not define you. What the culture says about what men ought to be, doesn’t define you. Your success doesn’t define you. Your position, title, size of your office or paycheck doesn’t define you. Your looks, your bench press reps, your handyman, fishing, or fire-building skills, none of that defines who you are. You are a man with God-given potential for greatness. You are a treasured child of the Most High God, created in His image to live for His purposes.


True GRIT begins by embracing the amazing grace, the radical love of God for you.


So the formula looks like this…G race + R = I nternal T oughness


The R stands for…R ELIANCE


I’ve learned from my friends in 12 step programs, that to feel inadequate is one thing, to admit that you are is quite another. I’m learning that there is power in powerlessness. Any recovering addict will tell you that. When you acknowledge that you need a power beyond yourself, that’s when healing, and recovery, and freedom, and real strength begins to flow.


I don’t know who originally said it, but it’s been scribbled in the margin of my Bible for a long time.


“The greatness of a man is in direct proportion to the measure of his surrender.”


When we come to God and say, “I need your help to be a good man. I need your help to be a good dad, a good husband, a good friend, a good leader…” When we humble ourselves and say, “God I can’t kick this habit on my own. I can’t manage this with my own my own feeble strength. I need your help.” That’s when God starts developing true grit within us.


Tim Tebow is a tough guy. Love him or hate him, the guy has grit. To absorb some of the shots he takes on the football field and then to endure all the public scrutiny and do it with a smile and a positive, kind, humble demeanor is pretty amazing. I’m a fan. Externally, the guy is ripped. Internally, he is tough. One of the scripture verses he wore on the black tape under his eyes through out his college career, was this one written by that same gritty guy named Paul.


Philippians 4:13(NLT) For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.


Paul’s saying, “Want to know the secret of my life? Want to know the secret of my internal toughness?  I’ve learned that His grace works best in weakness, so I stopped relying on my own strength and I now rely on the power of Jesus in me. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”  That the stuff of TRUE GRIT.


G race + R eliance= I nternal T oughness


Okay, here’s the deal. I may never rope or ride. I may never have a shootout at the OK coral. I may never look like the Incredible Hulk or have a chiseled P90X body. I may never be the arm wrestling champ at my local bar, or step into an MMA ring. I may never ride a Harley, more likely a scooter like in Dumb and Dumber. I will never risk my life fishing for crab in the Northern Atlantic. And even though I finally am tall enough, I don’t even like roller coasters!


But God through his grace and power is developing something deep inside of me. It’s a different kind of strength, an internal toughness. Make no mistake about it, I’m still a big time project, but he’s been doing some cool character stuff inside of me, giving me GRIT.  He wants to do it in you, too.  He wants to mold you into a gritty guy who can cut through the tough stuff with endurance, peace, joy, gentleness, compassion, and self control. He wants to give you resolve and courage and passion and power that you just can’t manufacture on your own.


The greatness of a man is in direct proportion to the measure of his surrender. So give it a shot. Surrender daily to God’s grace and power and let him turn you into a tough guy…one with TRUE GRIT.


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Categories: A First Faint Gleam

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4 Comments on “True Grit by Mike Breaux”

  1. sue
    June 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Love it, thank you Mike… Now you need to write one for the ‘rib’ or maybe ‘True Grit to the second power!!’ lol
    Thankful to have just started following you!!
    (Your smoothie maker at atrium cap bar @ wccc 2003-2007)


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