YOU can’t get a great life on a silver platter. A great and good life is not the absence of challenges. It always throws a lot at us. At times it’s extremely hard and excruciating, but should we give up? It’s hard to lose your hard-earned cash in an investment that did not work. It’s hard to see yourself having to pick broken pieces of a relationship that you have invested in for so many years. It’s hard! At times life is not fair — you attract enemies even when you are a good person.
There are difficult seasons that everyone goes through, yet every season has its challenges and opportunities. In many cases such times reshape out character to bring the best of us. Such times herald a new season that we are about to enter.
The bad behaviour we cannot conquer when we are in tough times determines how long we stay in the desert. Your dream will at one time make you stand in “…the midst of a fiery furnace”. This is good. You have to go through tough and rough times.
Elisha Goodman, in his book Passion Prayer of Jesus the Christ (2004) illustrates it so clearly; for David to reach the top, there was to be a Goliath. Goodman further says, “... your enemy is as important as your friends ... friends create comfort while your enemy creates rewards”.
Do you want to be rewarded? Then there has to be a test. Tests, trials and tribulations give birth to testimonies and triumphs. Storms are unavoidable, but misery (when passing through those storms) is what is optional.
In this instance, when things seem gloomy, that is when many give up not realising that it is like a woman giving birth — if she stops pushing she will experience at least one of many fates such as damaging the child or aborting. Some people have failed in the process, thereby aborting their dream.
Now, we stand on the edge with two options to embrace. One option is to abandon your dream in fear of the tests and the other is to dive into the dream and see yourself being battered left, right and centre to come out refined — finding yourself in the history books and rubbing shoulders with the great.
There are two people that we have on earth, connotatively, those that dream and those that sleep. Dreamers are those who have been branded by society as being ambitious, who love to see things happening and always want to make this world better than they found it; by making their own contributions.
Sleepers are those that do not care what happens. They are not into changing the world, but they are simply tossed to and fro by its change. At times they detest change and these are the people that have always wanted to be led, told what to do and they usually spend the rest of their lives being employees.
I am not saying quit your job, but be an engineer of your own destiny. The dreamer is innovative and creative; the sleeper is imitative and would want to maintain systems like some managers who have not grasped the power of leadership and change.
There are people who cause action and those who watch action and those who are reeling in confusion. They do not even know what causes action, how it is caused and they do not bother learning how to bring about action.
They specialise in wasting what others have toiled for. They do not necessarily get positive tests, but they just would want to always taste what others have done.
The problem with sleepers is that they are not in the archives of history. The unfortunate thing is that the sleepers do not leave a legacy; they are simply born so that they die.
On the other hand, dreamers leave a mark that future generations will always cherish. Now, I believe greatness does not just fall from the stars, but it is created by those who want to be great. Let us explore some of the practical tests that one goes through when they want to be on top.
This test measures your accuracy against your potential. It measures what I have professed to be, against what I have accomplished in my dreams. People are watching us — some saying Jonah, push and go up higher, but others are folding their hands and saying we want to see if he will make it.
Now, one is likely to be caught between two worlds here. One thinks “I do not have to disappoint my fans who are supporting me”, while the other says, “I have to prove myself to the enemy that I have what it takes to be the world’s greatest”. Both groups of people are important.
In most jobs before you are employed, you are interviewed to prove your competence. Your expertise in the field that you are pursuing is core and the more you understand your strengths, the better in reaching your dream. The best thing in being successful is not the weaponry or tools you have at your disposal, but the proficiency to use them. This, therefore, calls for individuals that will seek to improve their skill. Do not be afraid to seek training, mentoring and learning so that when the test comes you will beat the rest.
Restraint or self-control is important in all your success endeavours. As you go along, your temperance will go through fire. A good example is, if you want to prove the weakness of a preacher, just step on their toe or push them to the corner. They might punch you if their temper is not controlled. A snake is sometimes not dangerous if not disturbed, but the moment you step on its tail it strikes. Our temperance test in most cases comes when we are under pressure.
The temperance test has made me to learn it the hard way. When you are hot tempered, it is easy to throw a punch and before you know it you are behind bars for assault. When emotions subside or when you get back to your right senses, you regret. Along the way of success there is always a temperance test. Begin to control your temperance; otherwise it could bring a downfall to your dream.
Stamina is all about how you endure, how you are determined to press on until your dream is delivered. In such instances, when your staying-power is tested, you could easily give up. Your stamina will determine your progress.
In the journey to success, stamina is to have the power to push on. Endurance is bitter, but its reward is sweet. So have the verve to press on. The courage to say I will fight until I hold it, I will read until I pass the test, I will pay the price despite what it costs, I won’t lose patience until I am on the pinnacle, I won’t stay down on my failures, until I be the first, I might be hearing dissenting and discouraging voices, but I will stay on my choices.
The process might be painful, but I will never let go the promises that God has given me. Reaching my Canaan may be very long and very laborious, but I will press on until I get my honey and milk. Mount Everest might be very tall, but it is too early for me to give in before I reach the crest. This is stamina!
At times you have to flow against the tide and embrace the real you other than what other people want you to be in life. People around you do not have a correct understanding of who you are, other than the real you and God.
Generally, people around you do not have an idea of who you are and what your potential is; so stop letting their perceptions define you. People might misunderstand you, but that does not mean that you are wrong or have to be what they want you to be. Stop puzzling yourself with what people think or want of you because they might be also busy trying to figure out what you are thinking about them. Rather think about what you want to be.
Some people have said what is important in life is not necessarily how we start the journey, but how well we finish. People will not celebrate the start of your athletics competition, but how you have finished. So there is the time factor between the starting point and the end line.
So, whatever your dream is, it should go under the test of time before it is celebrated. Your dream might be taking long to bring fruit, but it will definitely bring one if you hold on in there.
Possibly you are thinking of quitting because it has taken very long for you to break through: take yet another mile and you might smile. The gray line drawn between those who are successful or failed is this: those who have won refused to quit and those who failed gave up when the race got rough. Simply, I say, do not give up until you hit the finish line.
Your faith needs to be put under test to make sure it is built on a firm foundation. In His ministry, Jesus after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights was tempted (Matthew 4vs. 1-10). As you pursue that dream you need to realise that those that are heroes have to pass the test. Your faith test, as long as you have an assignment, will definitely come.
The bigger the test the larger the triumphs. Little tests bring little victories and big tests bring bigger testimonies. The bigger your faith is in what you want to achieve, the bigger the test. Faith says, before you see it you have to visualise it, before you visualise it you have got to go through certain processes and one of the ingredients in the process is passing the faith test.
Your dream has to be big enough to attract denial from some sectors of the society. In most cases, people go well with what they already know other than a new design. People are naturally opposed to change and the new invention that you might want to experiment on can cause some people to be against you. Does that mean you should give up? NO! This test is trickier if there is not any helping hand when need arises.
That should not trouble your heart because you are unique enough to be different and to attract opposition. At times denial is a proof that you want to change the situation. Usually if you want to bring change, there will be a few people who will support you. Some deny you because they fear taking risks. Secondly, they are timid that if your plan crumbles they will be identified with you when you turn into a laughing stock. Thirdly, some are afraid of you becoming great.
The most defining moment in life is when people will hate you simply because of who you are. Enemies are important because they push you to aim higher. Whether you like it or not there are people that will be your enemies even though you love them with the pure love. At times it is the enemy who will tell you the truth point blank more than your friend who may be flattering you with lies or chocolate-coated words to impress you.
The person that might betray you is one who is closest, because they might give you a false kiss but at the same time lie to you. That is betrayal! The enemy test is painful like a medical injection but at the same time as important as the medicine in the injection for treatment.