A person can’t grow beyond the self-concept he or she has established in the subconscious mind. Remember the story of the farmer who found a jar in a pumpkin field? To see if the pumpkin would be strong enough to grow and break the jar, he poked a growing seedling inside and left it there. When he went back to harvest the grown pumpkins he found that this one had not been able to break the jar. It had merely grown to mould itself to the size and shape of the jar and then stopped growing. Our self-image puts the same kind of limit on what we can accomplish. If we can expand our self-image we can expand our potential. I believer that it’s a prerequisite: We cannot expand our potential unless we first learn how to expand our self-image.
Source: Roger Dawson, 1994, The 13 Secrets of Power Performance, New Jersey USA: Prentice Hall, p.109
Carl Jung, the great psychiatrist, once reflected that we are all familiar with the words of Jesus, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me.” Then Jung asks a probing question: “What if you discovered that the least of the brethren of Jesus, the one who needs your love the most, the one you can help the most by loving, the one to whom your love will be most meaningful – what if you discovered that this least of the brethren of Jesus… is you?”
Source: quoted in The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, p.140
“Say much of what the Lord has done for you, but say little of what you have done for the Lord. Do not utter a self-glorifying sentence!”
Man is the Cosmic Orphan. He is the only creature in the universe who asks, “Why?” Other animals have instincts to guide them, but man has learned to ask questions. “Who am I?” man asks. “Why am I here? Where am I going” Since the Enlightenment, when he threw off the shackles of religion, man has tried to answer these questions without reference to God. The answers that came back were not exhilarating, but dark and terrible. “You are an accidental by-product of nature, a result of matter plus time plus chance. There is no reason for your existence. All you face is death.” Modern man thought that when he had gotten rid of God, he had freed himself from all that repressed and stifled him. Instead, he discovered that in killing God, he had also killed himself. For if there is no God then man’s life becomes absurd.
To the world you may just be another person, but to another person you may be the world.
You’re not one in a million. You’re one in seven billion. Yet Jesus says: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31) Translation: God cares about every detail of your life. Nothing is outside the scope of His care or His concern for you.
Mark Batterson, 2014, The Grave Robber, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, p.78
“I believe that one of the most powerful forces in the world is the will of a man who believes in himself, who dares to aim high, who goes confidently after the things he wants from life.”
Rich DeVos, co-founder of Amway Corporation
Heidi Baker writes: “God has a special pair of shoes just for you, perfectly suited for your own path. You must learn to wear your own shoes and never put on anyone else’s. Walk in your anointing. (…) Wherever He calls you to go, you will love it and you will go happily. You will be glad to love the ones He gives you to love. (…) Do not try to copy someone else’s calling. It is very difficult to dance ballet while wearing boots. If He gives you ballet shoes, dance ballet; if He gives you lumberjack boots, cut down trees. (…) He is the One who makes us free to be ourselves, and that freedom has a purpose. Each of us has an authority that is unique to us and also a specific field to harvest. To reap the harvest, we need to use the authority He gives us. We need to understand who we are. If we want to bear fruit, we will also step out and take the risk of being the people He truly made us to be – even when it does not look the way others expected.”
Heidi Baker, Birthing the Miraculous, 2014, Florida: Charisma House, p.85, 94-95, 97-98
Consider for a moment that a Grand Piano made by skilful hands has 240 strings on which beautiful melodies can be played. The tiny human ear, in comparison, has the equivalent of 24,000 strings, which enable us to hear those melodies. Consider that a television camera has some 60,000 electrical photographic components, which pick up images and enable the camera to ‘view’ the surrounding area. In contrast, the human eye has over 137 million similar elements. Likewise, a personal computer has several hundred feet of wiring and the capacity to store several billion pieces of information. A man’s brain, on the other hand, is infinitely more powerful. In fact, it has been suggested that the capacity for our brain to process and store information is, literally, unlimited. I have also heard it said that if you unravelled a man’s brain cells and placed them end to end, there would be enough to go around the world 25 times! Indeed, Man is a remarkably complex design. You are a wonderful creation.
R. Ian Seymour
R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential
In 1911, the Mona Lisa turned up missing and could not be found for two years. It had been stolen. But an interesting phenomenon of human nature occurred. In the two years of its absence, more people looked at the spot where it had previously rested than had actually seen the painting in the two years prior to its theft. And just like all those visitors to the Louvre, many of us spend our lives more concerned about what is missing than about what we have.
Joyce Meyer, Living Beyond Your Feelings, 2011, London: Hodder & Stoughton, p.107
Picture a £20 note that has been crumpled and torn. Whatever state it is in, it is still worth £20. In God’s eyes, you are worth a whole lot more than £20 – to him you are priceless. Regardless of your behaviour, in the past, present or future, your value can never change in God’s eyes. He is love, and he created you in and for and through his love.
J. John, Soul Purpose, p.9
True worth is in being, not seeing:
In doing, each day that goes by,
Some little good, not in dreaming
Of the great things to do by and by.
For whatever men say in their blindness,
And in spite of the fancies of youth,
There’s nothing so kingly as kindness
And nothing so royal as truth.
Alice Cary (1820-1871)
It is not about who we are but whose we are!
“None are so empty as those who are full of themselves.”
“What you think of yourself is much more important than what others think of you.”
Seneca (4BC-65AD), Roman philosopher, statesman and dramatist.
A diamond is just a piece of coal made good under pressure.
“High self-esteem is believing that you have a rightful place in the universe. But egotism (self-importance) is believing that you are the centre of the universe.”
Nido Qubein, writer and motivational speaker
You will never look into the eyes of another person who doesn’t matter to God.
Max Lucado writes: ‘Who keeps inventories of hair follicles? We monitor other things: the amount of money in the bank, petrol in the tank, pounds on the scales… but hair on the head? No one, not even a man with an expanding bald spot, counts the number of strands. We style hair, colour hair, cut hair… but we don’t count hair. God does. “Even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”
So are the sparrows in the field. In the days of Jesus a penny was one of the smallest coins in circulation. One penny would buy you two sparrows. In other words, everyone could own a couple of sparrows. (…) In Luke’s gospel Jesus goes a step further. “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God” (12:6 RSV). One penny would buy you two sparrows. Two pennies, however, would buy you five! The seller threw in the fifth for free. Society still has its share of fifth sparrows: indistinguishable souls who feel dispensable, disposable, worth less than a penny. (…) Any chance that these words are falling on the ears of a fifth sparrow? It’s time to deal with that fear of not mattering; of having no value.
According to God, in Psalm 139, you were skilfully woven together (Psalm 139v15). You were “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139v14). God can’t stop thinking about you! If you could count his thoughts about you “they would outnumber the grains of sand” (Psalm 139v18). Why does He love you so much? The same reason an artist loves his paintings or an architect his buildings. You are his idea. And God only has good ideas. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).
Have you ever seen the movie Hook? In the film Peter Pan has grown up, become old and overweight, and looked nothing like the Peter the lost boys knew. In the midst of the boys shouting that this was NOT Peter, one of the smallest boys took him by the hand and pulled him down to his level. He then placed his hands on Peter’s face and proceeded to move the skin around, reshaping his face. Then he looked into Peter’s eyes and said, “There you are, Peter!” [All that baggage that you’ve carried for so long; the feelings of worthlessness; the fear that you don’t really matter; that no one cares… feel God’s hands on your face right now; pushing away all that stuff]. Shhh… listen. Do you hear Him say, “There you are!”
God sees you, and God loves the you that He sees: “There you are. There you are.” He’s enough, isn’t he? Let others be fearful and play their silly games. Not us. We’ve found something better.’
Max Lucado, 2009, Fearless, Nashville Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, pp.23, 25, 26, 27
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”
Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990), U.S. publisher
We are God’s instruments to do His work. When do you know the value of an instrument? When it’s in the hands of a master! So put your life in the Master’s hands and watch what He does with it.
If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this… You, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful!
God loves us unconditionally. In fact, the most loving act and the purest demonstration of love in all eternity is described in Romans 5v8, and in this one verse we have the whole of the Gospel in miniature: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Here is the whole of the gospel in a sentence. Romans 5:8 tell us:
- That God loves us and wants us to be in relationship with him.
- We are sinners who need to be rescued/forgiven before we can be reconciled, before we can enjoy a relationship with God.
- We can’t grant our own forgiveness or rescue ourselves, nor can we do anything to earn our own salvation… so God does it for us.
- God sent his Son to die in our place and take away our sin. That’s how much he loves us; how he demonstrates his love for us.
God is love and He continues to love us, even with all our flaws. Think of this: A painting, even a damaged one, is worth millions if it’s created by a great artist. – God doesn’t love us because we are lovable. He loves us because it’s his nature is to love. Love is who God is; love is God’s DNA. God is love and He loves us because He has chosen to do so; He loves you because He has chosen you. You are chosen, not by chance, not by number, not by birth right or nationality; you were chosen by name. Isaiah wrote: ‘The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.’
God calls us by name. David Watson used to say: ‘God does not call us by number… ‘Come in number 456789, we have a personal interest in you!’ He calls us by name. God said to Jeremiah (chapter 1v5): Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
‘Just as He knew Jeremiah, God knew you, long before you were born or even conceived. He thought about you and He planned for you. In fact, God thinks of you all the time. He has always thought of you as valuable and He has a purpose in mind for you.’
You are who you are for a reason.
You’re part of an intricate plan.
You’re a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God’s special woman or man.
You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You’re just what he wanted to make.
The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s seal.
No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you’d grow.
You are who you are for a reason,
You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!
Cited in The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Zondervan Publishing p.25-26
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), first lady
Take an iron bar worth about £5.00 in value. Make horseshoes out of that same iron bar and they’ll be worth about £50.00. If you remove the impurities from the iron, refine it into steel and make needles, they’ll be worth £2000. And if you take the same metal and make balanced springs for precision watches they’ll be worth £250,000. – We are like that iron bar; we all start from the same humble beginnings. However, our own value or self-worth is not and should not be left for others to manufacture. We must make that decision ourselves.
R. Ian Seymour
R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential
“Nothing is a greater impediment to being on good terms with others than being ill at ease with yourself.” – Honore De Balzac
There is a fable told of an elderly Chinese woman who had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole and which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.” The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”
Here is a complete set of six letters. Read them aloud and note the letters carefully; A, B, C, E, F, G. What’s missing? Most people, in fact the vast majority, say the letter D. Why is this? Why does there have to be something missing? I said this was a complete set of six letters, so why do we look for something else? Why do we insist that there is something lacking instead of just accepting what we have and using “it” to serve others and to glorify God?
Fix The Person And You Fix The World: A father was trying to read his magazine but his son kept complaining of being bored. Finally, dad came up with an idea. He tore a page from his magazine with a detailed picture of the world atlas on it. He then cut the page into many different shaped pieces to create a complex, homemade, jigsaw puzzle. Feeling rather smug with himself the father said, “Okay son, here’s a geography lesson for you. If you can put the puzzle together before lunch I will give you £10 as a reward.”
With that the father sat back to enjoy the rest of his magazine and the young lad set about completing the complex jigsaw puzzle. Five minutes later the proud lad presented the completed picture of the atlas to his dumbfounded father. “How on earth did you manage to do it so quickly,” his dad said in astonishment. “Oh, it was really quite easy,” said the boy. “You see, on the other side of the page with the atlas on it, there was a picture of a man. I knew that all I had to do was to work at getting the man right and then the world would fall into place and that would be right too.”
The father paid his son the reward and told him there was much truth in what he had said. Indeed, if you work on getting the man right the world becomes right too.
Of the 7 billion people who are alive on the earth today, and the countless billions that have come before and will come after us, there has never been, nor will there ever be another person exactly like you. You are not simply an accident or some fluke of nature. You have your own, completely unique DNA code, which is your own individual blueprint, your God-given authenticity stamp. You’ve been endowed with certain qualities, attributes, gifts and talents. You are one of a kind, an absolute out-and-out unique individual.
R. Ian Seymour
I have read that ‘specialists’ have now calculated that 1 in 3 of us are aesthetically pleasing in appearance – in other words, 1 in 3 of us are good looking! What do you think? Shall we try a little experiment? Take a look at the person sat to the left (or in front) of you… now look at the person sat on the right (or behind you). Now I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me that as sure as eggs are eggs, that third person isn’t one of them… so therefore it must be you!
R. Ian Seymour
Wonderful creation or an accidental by-product or nature? One thing is for certain, God doesn’t make ‘junk’ – only man does that!
Put some pride in your stride.
“My inferiority complex is not as good as yours.” – Anon.
In a cartoon strip Charlie Brown says to his friend Linus, ‘What would you do if you felt that no one liked you?’ Linus replies, ‘I’d see what I could improve.’ To which Charlie Brown replies, ‘I hate that answer!
“A man is not defeated by his opponents but by himself.”
Jan Christian Smuts (1870-1950), South African statesman and prime minister
“Never allow the thought – ‘I am no use where I am’; because you certainly can be of no use where you are not!”
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
“We are evaluated and classified by four things: By what we do, by how we look, by what we say, and by how we say it.”
Dale Carnegie (1888-1955), writer and lecturer
You are your own greatest asset or liability: the choice is yours.
Understand that every completed work, no matter how large or small, is a self-portrait of the person who undertook it. Make sure, then, that you autograph your work with excellence.
“No man need live a minute longer as he is because the Creator endowed him with the ability to change himself.”
J. C. Penney (1875-1971: American retailer and philanthropist)
“Within you right now is the power to do things that you never dreamed possible. This power becomes available to you just as soon as you can change your beliefs.”
Dr Maxwell Maltz (1899-1975), physician, psychologist, writer
Figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You’ve all that the greatest of men have had,
Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes,
And a brain to use if you would be wise.
With this equipment they all began,
So start from the top and say, “I can.”
Look them over, the wise and the great,
They take their food from a common plate,
And similar knives and forks they use,
With similar laces they tie their shoes,
The world considers them brave and smart,
But you’ve all they had when they made their start.
You can triumph and come to skill,
You can be great if you only will.
You’re well equipped for what fight you choose,
You have legs and arms and a brain to use,
And the man who has risen great deeds to do,
Began his life with no more than you.
You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place,
You must say where you want to go,
How much you will study the truth to know.
God has equipped you for life, but He,
Lets you decide what you want to be.
Courage must come from the soul within,
The man must furnish the will to win.
So figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You were born with all that the great have had,
With your equipment they all began.
Get hold of yourself, and say, “I can.”
by Edgar A Guest
A farmer was felling a large dead tree on his land when he inadvertently disturbed a golden eagle’s nest that contained a single egg. The nest fell to the ground but, fortunately, the egg made a soft landing and was still intact. The farmer picked it up, popped it into his pocket and later, delicately placed the egg under a brooding hen. The mother hen adopted the egg as one of her own and eventually the eaglet hatched and grew up alongside the other chickens.
The young eagle learnt how to scratch about in the farmyard for grubs, worms and seeds. He learnt how to cluck like a chicken, ruffle his feathers like a chicken; thrash his wings together and jump into the air like a chicken. The eagle became a chicken… but he knew that he was different. He felt, sort of, special.
Then one day the young eagle looked up into the sky and saw the silhouette of a magnificent bird gracefully soaring and gliding along on the warm air currents. “Wow!” said the young eagle in awe, “What is that?” His mother replied, “That’s a golden eagle; the greatest of all the birds – but, don’t you start getting any ideas, mind: Eagles are meant to soar the heavens whilst chickens like us are meant to scratch about it the dirt!”
The young eagle sighed and then settled back down to pecking about in the farmyard. He ended up living a long, but somewhat secluded life, as a CHICKEN, because that is what he thought he was. That is the life he accepted for himself.
‘The Touch of the Master’s Hand’
’Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who will start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar,” then, two! “Only two?”
“Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?”
“Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three…” But no,
From the room, far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As sweet as a carolling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice;
And going and gone,” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed it’s worth?” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of the Master’s hand.”
by Myra Brooks Welch
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
Don’t mistake confidence with arrogance: one works the other doesn’t!
EGO stands for Edging God Out.
The person with a big ego is usually ‘me-deep’ in conversation.
It’s a fact that when offered to try out a new pen, 97% of all people will write down their own names. People want to feel important.
“Let us so endeavour to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
Mark Twain (1835-1910), American novelist and humourist
Try not to be overly concerned with the opinions others may have of you and, instead, be more concerned with the opinions you have of yourself. Those people who are out to simply put on a show and try to impress others are usually the ones who come unstuck and are left feeling unfulfilled and empty inside. As in the children’s story of the foolish king who paid heavily for an invisible suit of clothes, people see through falsehood eventually. Maybe, you remember the tale.
One day a fine-looking tailor arrived at court for an audience with the king. The tailor told the king that he had travelled from distant lands where he had discovered a magical yarn so beautiful that only the wisest of people could actually see it. The king’s vanity got the better of him and so he ordered the tailor to make him a suit of the finest clothes and agreed to pay him three bags of gold coins. Well, the tailor went away and sometime later returned carrying a large box. As he opened the box, he mimed taking out this precious garment of the finest cloth covered with tassels and jewels. As he mimed holding the garment, the tailor spoke with great articulation about how the magical qualities of the yarn allowed only the wisest of people to be able to see and touch the suit. And how anyone who is a fool would not actually be able to see the suit at all; it would be invisible to them. Well, the king couldn’t see a thing but he wasn’t going to admit to being a fool, so he took off his out garments and tried the suit on. As he posed grandly in front of a mirror all of his attendants said how handsome and regal and wonderful he looked.
The king paid the tailor his three bags of gold coins and then set off on a procession through the streets to show off his new suit to the people. Of course, what everyone actually saw was the king in his underwear, but nobody would admit to this. In fact, everyone remarked how grand the king looked in his new suit and what a beautiful fitting suit it was too! But just then a young boy climbed up a lamppost to see what all the fuss was about. With a shriek of laughter the boy shouted, “Ha! Look, the king is in his underwear.” Then everyone saw the truth and they too started pointing at the king and laughing at his foolishness.
Moral: The important thing is how you see yourself, not how others see you. So then, stop being overly concerned about trying to make a good impression on the outside; stop worrying about the opinions others may have of you and, instead, start being more concerned with the opinions you have of yourself – your self-esteem that is.
R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential
Understanding your uniqueness, and your own gifts and talents frees you from the need to measure yourself by the runner in the next lane.
Believe in yourself! You’re divinely designed,
And perfectly made for the work of mankind.
This truth you must cling to through danger and pain,
The heights man has reached you can also attain.
Believe to the very last hour, for it’s true,
That whatever you will, you’ve been gifted to do.
Believe in yourself and step out unafraid,
By misgivings and doubt be not easily swayed.
You’ve the right to succeed, the precision of skill
Which betokens the great, you can earn if you will!
The wisdom of ages is yours if you’ll read,
But you’ve got to believe in yourself to succeed.