Do you sometimes feel like a failure? Things haven’t turned out the way you thought they should have or the way you wanted? Your expectations have been disappointed, your goals haven’t been reached?
Well, let me tell you about a man who felt like a failure.
Nine years ago, I underwent a surgery that changed my life. When I was rushed to the hospital with terrible pain in my lower right abdomen, tests revealed that a large gangrenous cyst had ruptured, requiring emergency surgery. My surgeon assured me that I would be back on my feet within two months, and I held on to his promise.
It was a simple, mundane life, the life of Ferdinand Cheval. He was born in 1836 in a village southeast of Lyon, France, where he attended school for only six years until he was orphaned as a young teenager.
Throughout his life he worked as a farmer, a baker, and finally a postman. In 1869, he requested and obtained a route known as the Tournée de Tersanne, delivering and picking up mail in the villages around Hauterives. He remained there until retirement, walking the 33 km (20 mile) route daily over 10,000 times.
Most people have heard the acronym “YOLO” thrown around for the past couple of years. It stands for “you only live once.” Pop stars and celebrities have made it a catchphrase to promote doing crazy things or taking risks because, hey, “You only live once!”
It’s an attractive thought. Why worry about the future? Why subscribe to having to answer for decisions we make when we can pretend it all doesn’t matter anyway? Why can’t we only be concerned about what makes us happy right now?
Years back, I began what has been a decade-long and running interest in fitness. Having been a rather sickly and non-athletic child and teenager, I was excited to realize I could train my body to run several miles, lift weights, and even do a few “guy pushups.” The one thing I really wanted to do, but didn’t think I would be able to, was a chin-up. As in, the pull-up with a reverse grip. I had tried a few times and barely moved upward, let alone to where my chin touched the bar. I was fairly convinced I just did not have that upper-body strength.
Do not give up! Do not let go! Hold on to Me, because I love you. Hold on to My Word, which gives courage, strength, faith, hope, life, and power, even where there is none. I have so much more to give you, to show you, and to work through your life. There’s so much ahead for you!
When I was a child I remember bursting into tears when thinking of my parents growing old. I loved them so much, and just the thought that one day they could lose some hair and get a few wrinkles was so hard! Thinking about it now, something in me was dreading the aging process. I felt strongly that everything beautiful should never end or lose its spark.
A missionary’s husband passed away at the age of 37, leaving her with seven children aged seven months to 14 years old. Her husband was in the process of emigrating from Argentina to Brazil, so she received no widow pension from either country. She lived in Foz do Iguaçu, a city in the border zone between Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. Her sisters offered to help raise some of her children, but she decided to keep the family together.
It’s one thing to dream of reaching a goal or accomplishing something. This is an important first step. For some, it may be the pursuit of a new endeavor. For others, it could be acquiring a new skill. For yet others, it might be making changes in habit or lifestyle. Whatever the case, effort, perseverance, and often sacrifice are required in order for our dreams to become reality. Once we realize this, it’s up to us as individuals to decide how determined we are to reach our goal, whatever it may be, and how much we’re willing to give of ourselves in order to see our dreams fulfilled. This is where the importance of motivation comes in.
Throughout our lives, we encounter situations and opportunities that have potential to open new doors for our future. Sometimes, it’s very clear that God is opening a door; other times, we simply have a sense in our heart. There’s often an accompanying feeling of excitement and positive anticipation that calls us to advance into unfamiliar territory.