I love to see people dream, to recognize….their God-given talents and risk losing to win. Granted, the first thing I will say is winning is overrated…..meaning right after you win…it can be about the next win.
I have experienced this firsthand with our children when they have won a golf tournament. There is always another tournament. More or less, it is not about what you did yesterday, it is more about what you are doing today. I feel you always have to work to maximize your gifts whether it be in a sport, a career, or a special gift like a musical ability.
We all have different gifts. I love seeing others have the desire to develop their gifts and work ethic and have a willingness to risk in order to maximize that ability or gift. To keep reaching for the stars and setting goals, realizing “talent isn’t enough!” There are plenty of people who have gifts and talents and either don’t realize them or keep them hidden or underdeveloped. This, to me, is a tragedy. One way I want to spend the Back 9 is in ENCOURAGING others to “mine” their God-given talents and abilities and work hard to develop and aspire to be more and do more.
Too often I see people experience failure or allow others to rob them of their dreams, listening to the “negative” talk of how they can’t do this or that, how hard it is, or that very few people make it. While I acknowledge some dreams and goals are lofty….the reason very few people realize their “gifts” or reach their “goals” is that they allow too many “negative” voices or naysayers to surround them and breathe the same air they are breathing.
I have read and heard it said that many people quit just before the success comes. Being tenuous is a great thing, only the strong of heart…..stay the course. I have often told our kids when pursuing their dreams and setting goals, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.”
If you asked me what I would recommend when setting goals and chasing dreams, I would tell you three areas are vital.
First, realize that God is the giver of all things that are good. His desire is to bring us good and not harm, to give us a hope, but we are accountable to seek Him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Acknowledging Him first and foremost in our lives allows Him to guide and direct us because He created us with a specific plan for our lives. His desire is for that plan to be fulfilled. Apart from Him, our plans may seem to succeed by the world’s standards but not with an eternal perspective.
God has an earthly plan for all of us that has eternal rewards. Seeking Him daily with an “open hand with our abilities” can lead to many good things happening. This open hand comes with a fully surrendered life, giving up our control to Him. Ironically, we find we are really “gaining control” because…giving God control allows you to “go with the flow” instead of trying to “swim upstream.”
Second, pay attention to and control who you allow to speak into your life. After over 30 years of experience, I have found more people enjoy telling you that you can’t rather than you can! Find the people who will encourage you in your walk with Christ. People who will hold you accountable to a high standard of excellence in all areas of your life:
your personal relationship with Christ,
guarding your own heart, Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it”,
your relationship with family and friends, and
your work ethic.
Accountability is so key. Pray God leads you to people who will speak truth to you and into your life. True friends tell each other the truth. We are all human and often find ourselves living the verse in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do, For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” We all need help to see our blind spots and our own shortcomings…accountability with the RIGHT people helps us to DO THE RIGHT THINGS and stay the course.
Third, work hard. A strong work ethic beats talent all day long…..experts upon experts agree with this statement…only relying on talent and gifts will not get you where you want to go. It takes work…in scripture it says “all hard work brings a profit.” Look at any successful individual from Billy Graham to USA goalie Tim Howard who recently was quoted as saying,”The most important thing in my life is Christ. He’s more important than winning or losing, whether I’m playing or not. Everything else is just a bonus.”
Howard has figured out that you must develop your talent and work your fannie off. You sacrifice. You overcome, with God’s help (he has Tourette Syndrome). You separate yourself from the negative. You seek Christ with all your heart, soul, strength and mind…it leaves you full…regardless of the wins and losses. Your work is about valuing your God-given talents and abilities and glorifying God with them.
I find it to be very true and something I want to pass on to everyone who will listen or read, “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” ~Leo Buscaglia
Seek God. DREAM. Work hard. Success has no secrets!