Adam lived in a perfect world, yet he was incomplete. So God created “a helper suitable for him.” And since God made you with a core need for companionship, He can introduce you to the right person. But you must be willing to consult Him, follow His guidance, and wait for His timing.
That’s not always easy. Some of us find it easier to be unhappy than to be alone. Driven by unfulfilled longings, we make rash decisions that end up hurting us. It’s impossible to make a good decision when you’re motivated by the fear of being alone or of being rejected. There’s nothing wrong with feeling the need to be needed by another person, or to share your life with someone. Don’t let anyone convince you that your need to love and be loved is a weakness. God created man to “multiply,” and it takes two to do that.
We are incomplete without one another. However, our fear of vulnerability, of exposing our inner self to another person, makes us act as if we don’t need anyone. But God’s word says we do. Not only that, throughout Scripture, He introduced people to one another. So pray and believe that God has someone “suitable” for you; someone who fits where you are and will fit where you’re going. When you find the person God has in mind for you, you’ll discover strengths and gifts in yourself you never knew existed.
HOW TO BOUNCE BACK
One of the best ways to bounce back from grief and loss is taking your memories and turning them into motivators, then reaching out in love to others who are hurting. “But I’m busy,” you say. Jesus was never too busy to show compassion to hurting people.
After Ray and Judy Williamson’s son David was killed in a fall, Ray said: “I used to wonder if I should go to the funeral home when somebody had a tragedy, because I always feel so awkward and don’t know what to say. But I’ll never ask again. I’ll always go. It’s not what you say, but your presence that makes the difference.”
When two teenagers died in a car accident, their parents decided to have a joint wake. Over a thousand people attended, some waiting up to three hours to comfort the bereaved families. When one man who’d stood by himself in line finally reached the front, he said, “I don’t know your children and I’ve never met you. But I came here tonight because I had a son who died two years ago. I know how it feels. In the days ahead you’ll go through every emotion you can imagine. I just want you to know that I’m here for you if you ever need to talk.” Then he pressed his card into their hand and walked away.
Think about that. A stranger gave three hours of his time to people he didn’t know, because he wanted to help them through the most tragic experience of their lives.
Understand this: it’s in reaching out to others that (a) we become more like Jesus; (b) we ourselves are made whole.
BE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE
Success usually comes at the end of the struggle; if it came easily, everybody would be experiencing it. When it comes to success, there are no shortcuts, reduced prices, or “special deals”. The value of anything is determined by the price you’re willing to pay for it. And when you truly value something, you won’t easily jeopardise it because you remember what it cost you. What are you afraid of today? Failing? Your concern should be the opposite—regret that you didn’t try.
Are you afraid of criticism? Face it, as you move upward in life certain people will resent your success; that’s true whether you’re arrogant or not. We all want to be liked, but at some point you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘How much am I willing to forfeit in order to be liked and accepted?’ Nehemiah, the builder of Jerusalem’s walls, said, “I am doing great work, so…I cannot come down.” Any time you defer to the opinion of people instead of the will of God, you are “coming down.” Stay up on the wall! Keep laying bricks—or whatever God has called you to do.
Advancement often brings isolation and criticism, and God may be grooming you right now for a new level of blessing by exposing you to both. Can you handle it? Not everybody can. But if you’re the kind of person who can’t sit on the sidelines and watch while others play the game—go for it! God will reward every step of faith you take and every sacrifice you make.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SUCCESS (1)
Here are some common misconceptions about Success: 1. We think success is impossible, so we criticize it. We want to believe life should be easy, so we assume anything difficult must be impossible. Then when success eludes us we throw in the towel and say, “Who needs it anyway?” And if someone we consider less deserving than ourselves is successful, we get really upset. 2. We think success is mystical, so we search for it. Author/entrepreneur Seth Godin says: “We need to stop shopping for lightning bolts. You don’t win an Olympic medal with a few weeks of intensive training. There’s no such thing as an overnight opera sensation. Great companies [and great churches] don’t spring up overnight… every great thing has been built in exactly the same way: bit by bit, step by step, little by little.” There are no shortcuts; you must be willing to pay the price. 3. We think success comes by chance, so we hope for it. We say, “Oh, he or she just happened to be in the right place at the right time.” The chances of that happening are about as good as the chances of winning Lotto—over eight million to one. If you’re serious about succeeding, you’ll concur with the small-business owner who posted this sign in his store: “The 57 Rules of Success: Rule one: Deliver the goods. Rule two: The other 56 don’t matter!”
Paul shared his formula for Success with Timothy, and it’s one that works in all areas of life: “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.”
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SUCCESS (2)
Here are three more misconceptions about success:
(1) We think success comes from having the right connections, so we strive to make them. People who endorse this philosophy believe they’d “have it made” if only they’d been born into the right family, or met the right person. Knowing good people has its rewards, but connections alone won’t improve your life if you’re off track. “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”
(2) We think success comes from having leverage, so we work for it. This notion is reinforced by people like industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who said, “Success is the power with which to acquire whatever one demands of life.” Then we take it a step further by assuming all successful people have taken advantage of others in order to get where they are, and we look for ways to manipulate people too. We think we can “muscle” our way to success, but it doesn’t work—usually it backfires on us.
(3) We think success is the result of opportunity, so we wait for it. People who work hard and don’t seem to get anywhere sometimes believe the only thing they need is “a break.” Their motto is “If only.” If only my boss would cut me some slack; if only our church was in a better area of town; if only I had start-up capital; if only I’d married someone different. The door of opportunity is marked, “Push!” The truth is, people who do nothing more than wait for success are neither able to see it—nor seize it—when it comes.
BEWARE OF PRIDE!
Think about the things we become proud over: the home we live in, the car we drive, the diploma hanging on our wall, the people we mingle with, and the position we hold. When you’ve worked hard to get to where you are, look out for pride! Paul asks, “Who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 NKJV).
SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
(1) Examine your belief system about who you are, what you have, and what you can do. Jesus said, “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NKJV). Remind yourself: “I’m just the glove; God’s the hand that fills it.” That’ll help you to keep your perspective right!
(2) Focus more on others than on yourself. The saying—”When a person is all wrapped up in themselves, they make a pretty small package”—is true. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4 NKJV).
(3) Respect and value everyone you meet regardless of their social status, race, gender, or other distinguishing factors. When you walk in humility, people respect you and receive your input, and they don’t suspect you of having selfish motives. The Bible says: “These… things the Lord hates… a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (–Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV). Today, beware of pride.
In his book, Thinking for a Change, Dr. John Maxwell gives us 11 different types of Thinking; to each we’ve added a Scripture: 1. Big picture thinking. The ability to think beyond yourself is required in order to process ideas from a ‘faith’ perspective (Ephesians 3:20).
(2) Focused thinking. The ability to think with clarity on issues by removing distractions and mental clutter (–Philippians 3:13-14).
(3) Creative thinking. The ability to break out of the box and explore ideas and options in order to experience a breakthrough (–Isaiah 54:2-3).
(4) Realistic thinking. The ability to build a solid foundation on facts, to think with certainty (Luke 14:28).
(5) Strategic thinking. The ability to implement plans that give direction for today, and increase your potential for tomorrow (Proverbs 19:21).
(6) Possibility thinking. The ability to unleash your enthusiasm and hope, to find solutions for even seemingly impossible situations (Matthew 19:26).
(7) Reflective thinking. The ability to revisit the past in order to think with understanding (–Psalm 1:1-3).
8. Questioning popular thinking. The ability to reject common thinking and accomplish uncommon results (––Isaiah 55:89).
9. Shared thinking. The ability to include others who can help you think ‘over your head’ and achieve greater results (–Psalm 133:1-3).
(10) Unselfish thinking. The ability to consider others and their journey, to think with collaboration (Romans 12:10).
(11) Bottom-line thinking. The ability to focus on results, in order to reap the full potential of your thinking (–Matthew 25:14-30).
(12) Spiritual thinking. “We have the mind of Christ.” One God-given thought can change your life!
At 92, Jenny never missed a chance to recall how her sister refused to buy her a pair of shoes fifty years ago! All those years marinating “in the gall of bitterness” (Acts 8:23 KJV). Anne Peterson says: “An offence burrows into our hearts. We replay it…creating ruts that’ll be hard to rebuild later…we enlist support, which pushes us further into resentment. We decipher the offence as intentional, and our offender as full of spite. As we find reasons, real or imagined, to dislike them… we form another layer of bitterness… Then like a beach ball we try to submerge… it pops up… splashing everyone.”
The Bible says, “Make sure… bitterness doesn’t take root and grow up to cause trouble that corrupts many” (Hebrews 12:15 GWT). So remember: 1. Forgiveness isn’t optional. “If… possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18 NIV). It may not be possible to live in harmony with everyone, but God still requires you to forgive those who’ve hurt you. 2. As you forgive, you’re forgiven. The Bible says when you’re “full of bitterness” you’re “captive to sin” (Acts 8:23 NIV). Don’t forget that Jesus didn’t just die for you, He died for those who offend you. Do they deserve forgiveness? No. But then again, do you. 3. Pray for your enemies. Ask God to bring to mind the people you need to forgive and melt the bitterness in your heart towards them. It’s impossible to harbour resentment towards somebody you’re praying for. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to forgive; but you “can do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13 KJV).