We all remember the little engine that could. In the recesses of our minds, we hear, "I think I can, I think I can." However, somewhere in the first grade, the story was lost and forgotten. Then, we have children, read the story to them and tell them they can do anything if they think they can.
Every once in a while we need to re-evaluate and revisit the little engine, and realize that nothing lies outside of our potential that lies within the will of God. He has a unique and amazing plan for each person reading this today. You may feel you have no special ability. Think again. You were born with talents, dreams and longings. Then, you met God and he gave you gifts. Those were put there within you for purpose, fulfillment and service to mankind.
Sounds lofty, huh? Think about this: You may feel you cannot do something because you are not smart enough. Did you know that Daniel Webster (Webster's dictionary) was thought to be slow in learning and not smart? Isaac Newton was never a leader of his class. Albert Einstein, with one of the greatest intellects of all time, had a lot of trouble in school. Thomas Edison, Time Life's selection as the greatest contributor to humanity in the last 100 years, flunked out of school because of his inability to pay attention in class. Edison's parents were told to take him home because he didn't belong in school.
You may be thinking, "I'm too poor." Gifford, the great mathematician, wrote his first book on scraps of leather while working as a shop apprentice. Rittenhouse calculated eclipses on a plow handle. Emerson said of the great Galileo, "Galileo discovered more splendid signs of celestial phenomenon with an opera glass than anyone since with a great telescope."
Sadly, many think they cannot do anything special because someone else told them they couldn't. The words of parents, teachers and cruel classmates echo in the minds of many for years to come. Take heart, my friend, you can because of Christ. Grab a verse such as, "I can do all things through Christ" and quote it every time someone's cruel words echo in your mind. You can do absolutely anything by the grace of God. With this in mind, we need to remember the power of words. Words have power to build up and encourage, and words have power to defeat and discourage. "You can do this," "You've got this" or "Go for it" goes a long way to instilling fortitude and determination in a child, a friend, co-workers or family members.
Some may not know what their gifts, talents or abilities are. I love to share with people what is clearly seen in their life as gifts and talents. Even with a few questions we can find out what ignites your soul. What is your passion? What do you feel most alive when doing? I certainly do not know everyone's gifts, but when you are around folks a lot, it is obvious they have certain gifts and talents. So if you seriously do not know, ask someone else who knows you.
Here is one way to jog your memory of your aspirations and dreams. What did you play when you were a child? Hey, I'm not talkin' cowboys and Indians here, but what did you pretend to be?
One of my sons pretended to be a clown all the time and juggled. His goal, he said, was to be a clown and make mommy laugh. Actually he lives up to that dream every day in many ways, but I think of other interests and talents he has, and I know God has an amazing plan for his life.
I remember my daughter playing Barbie. It was hilarious to watch her Barbies play church. "Ken" was the preacher and missionary. Her Barbie and Ken won many to Christ, and many Barbie lives were changed. Barbie and Ken were missionaries also and came to report on their work in the jungles. I smile just thinking about that memory as I see her preparing to do the very thing she desired as a child.
I see my other son and his interests at play at an early age. I have a feeling I know what God's plan might be for my kiddos, but I never say. We never want a "Momma Called, Papa Sent" anything. It is between them and God as it is between you and him.
When I was 10 years old, I looked at my pastor's wife and I wanted to be just like her. She set a wonderful example of godliness. I have never achieved being like her, but I've never stopped trying either. I remember in high school writing the "Locker Snooper" for the local paper. It was a fun year writing the high school column, and I never dreamed that almost 30 years later I would still be writing. I never knew writing was in my soul, I just kept doing it as it made me feel alive and content.
What is your passion? What is it that you wanted to do, but was afraid to tell anyone? I know you can do it. Go for it! It's no accident you read this when you did. Reach for the stars, and know that nothing lies outside your grasp except that which lies outside his will.
(Kimberly Short-Wolfe, MA, is a homeschool mom and the grief counselor and a chaplain for Mountain Hospice. To contact her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 304-823-3925, ext. 136.)