Last week, we went to a local restaurant as an entire family—all of our kids and grandkids. The restaurant had an arcade, too, and after dinner, we played a few games. My wife and I were playing skee ball. You can score between 1,000 and 10,000 points per shot, depending on where the ball lands.
While we were playing, my four-year-old grandson came along.
“Do you want to try?” I said to him.
Of course he did.
I handed him a ball. Without much thought, he threw it and up the ramp it went, and it landed smack dab in the 10,000 ring! One try, that’s all.
He did not realize what he had done. I was laughing so hard, I could hardly talk for several minutes. When I leaned down and explained what he had accomplished with one shot, my little grandson wore the biggest smile. He was surprised, but also pleased with himself. I was stunned and thrilled for him.
I’ve noticed over the years that we can often accomplish far more than we think we can accomplish.
But, more often than not, we tend to limit ourselves. We believe the negative things we hear and accept them as true. Things we hear as children, teenagers, and even young adults. Things like “You can’t do that. You’re crazy.” Or “Why don’t you pick a different major. What are you going to do with that one?” Or “Why don’t you try something more practical.” We listen to our teachers and leaders and friends and siblings and parents and we find a safe zone where all attempts to stretch beyond our limits are hidden from the view of others. We back into our shell and close it tight.
When you’re four, you haven’t usually absorbed the negativity that floats freely around you. You are innocent and pure and see no reason to not try. But when you are 34 or 44 or 54, you are more and more guarded. You don’t want others to see your weaknesses and you usually do a great job of camouflaging them. You are less and less inclined to try new things. You hide your true self from others, wearing what some call the social mask. You even hide yourself from yourself.
I was like that for most of my adult life. Then certain things came along that have shaken me to the core, things that forced me to believe in myself and to trust God like never before. I am sure the Lord has placed you in similar circumstances. Your strength and your willingness to try new things has grown out of loss and trials and even devastation, from pain so acute we hardly know how we will survive, and from facing those trials with faith.
In the aftermath of trials, we often learn that we can accomplish more than we thought we could, that we can be more than we thought we could be. We are often surprised at what we can do, like my little grandson was.
I believe you have a spark of divinity in you and that that spark can be fanned into a flame. I believe that the Lord is stretching you so that you can know that there is no end to what you can do if you believe in yourself and Him.
There is no reason to be hard on yourself. Yes, evaluate and change and repent when necessary, but don’t beat yourself up. There is every reason to believe in yourself if only you will just be yourself.
I believe in you. I think you can do anything you put your mind to, “for with God, nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).