Change your focus, change your life
I recently watched a YouTube video of a young man skateboarding, golfing, swimming, playing an instrument, and holding his baby son. You may be wondering why I would waste my time watching a guy do such ordinary, everyday activities. I did it for the same reason that 4 million other people watched the video.
Nick Vujicic has no arms. And he has no legs. So when he zips around on his skateboard with no legs, and uses a driver to hit a golf ball or play an instrument or hold his baby son with no arms–well, I sit up and take notice.
An interviewer asked Nick, ““Why do you think so many millions of people like watching that video?”
“I believe people are drawn to it because despite my physical limitations, I’m living as though I have no limits,” Nick replied. “People often expect someone with a severe disability to be inactive, maybe even angry and withdrawn. I like to surprise them by showing that I lead a very adventurous and fulfilling existence.”
Are you leading an adventurous and fulfilling existence, like Nick? Or have you let limitations hold you back from envisioning the possibilities and stepping out of your comfort zone to pursue a dream? If you have been holding back, these tips will help get you started.
1) Stop focusing on your limitations
Nick Vujicic had far more reasons than most of us to focus on what he didn’t have, rather than what he could become through his faith in Jesus Christ. If anyone had reason to think of himself as a victim, it was Nick.
“There was a time in my life when I said I can’t do this, and I can’t do that,” Nick says. “And you get to a point when all you are concentrating on is what you don’t have rather than what you do have.”
He reached a point where he decided to stop focusing on his disabilities and start focusing on what God had given him. He chose to see himself as created with exactly the body that God designed for him. And if God made him that way, then having no arms or legs couldn’t stand in the way of living a full and purposeful life.
What about you? How do you see yourself? Do you see your strengths, talents and abilities? Or do you find yourself constantly belittle yourself about your weaknesses and flaws?
Do you wish God made you differently? Do you wish you had a different personality, a different body, a different spouse, a different family background? Do you feel ripped off by the past or present circumstances in your life?
If so, it’s time to let go. As long as you focus on limitations, as long as you keep looking backward, you will remain stuck. As Paul the apostle said, “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14)
2) Start Dreaming
The Bible says we were created in God’s image. That means we were created to dream. All we need to do is look around us to see that is a creative visionary.
Nature itself sings of the majestic creativity of our heavenly Father. Our own bodies testify to divine creativity. “The most incredible creation in the universe is you—with your fantastic senses and strengths, your ingenious defense systems, and mental capabilities so great you can never use them to the fullest,” wrote the editors of ABC’s of the Human Body. “Your body is a structural masterpiece more amazing than science fiction.”
You were designed for a life of vision and purpose. The Bible says, “For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10 AMP).
You were never meant to merely survive. You were created for a destiny – one that will influence the world for good. That destiny begins to unfold the moment you are born again through Jesus Christ, for at that very moment, God begins to recreate the divine image in you. Through Christ, you are provided all you need to reach your divine potential.
Physical, mental and emotional limitations can’t abort your dream. Childhood abuse can’t abort your dream. Adversity can’t abort your dream. Other people can’t abort your dream. The only person who can abort your dream is you.
“You are a child of God—your playing small does not serve the world,” said Nelson Mandela. “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory that is within us. And as we let our light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Ask God to open your heart to a vision for what He could do through your life. Decide now to stop holding back. Dare to step out of your comfort zone. Decide to stop listening to the voices of guilt, tradition, negativity, and fear that have paralyzed you from stepping out to pursue a dream. Instead, listen to the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit beckoning you to come out of your cocoon and become more like Christ—to dream big, expand your boundaries, break out of your box, and become the woman or man you were created to be.
3) Trust God’s faithfulness
One of the things I love most about God is how He has taken some of the worst things in my life and used them for good. I call it redemptive purpose. This happens when God integrates life’s pain into purpose, tragedy into triumph, and disappointment into destiny.
Dr. Angela* knows what its like to experience redemptive purpose. As a child, she suffered repeated sexual abuse. She became a Christian in her early thirties; then began her journey to wholeness and freedom. God healed her wounded heart. He set her free from the chains of pain, shame and fear. She began to dream about helping others find healing and freedom. After obtaining a doctorate in counseling, she started to write, speak and counsel others who have suffered childhood sexual abuse. And thousands of survivors have found healing and freedom.
Your heavenly Father will do the same for you. While you were being formed in your mother’s womb, God planned a wonderful purpose for you. He never intended that you would be wounded by heartache, tragedy, poverty, sickness or sin. But He knew it would happen. And even then, He masterminded a redemptive plan for how he would work it together for good and beautiful purpose in your life.
Our loving Father wastes nothing. He is faithful. He is a redeemer. He is a restorer, healer, and deliverer. He can create beauty from the ashes of disappointment, despair and heartache. He can provide all you need to translate your dreams into reality.
Will you trust Him to do that for you?
“And we know that all thing work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
Judy Rushfeldt is an author, speaker, entrepreneur, and publisher of LifeToolsforWomen.com with a mission is to inspire and equip others to reach their potential. Her book Making Your Dreams your Destiny won two national awards. Judy has been writing professionally for 30 years, including authoring three books and writing hundreds of magazine articles. She is often invited to speak at women's conferences, churches, retreats and other venues. Judy is also the publisher of DepressionFree.com