Our past refines us, it does not define us
Faith in Your Past
At some point in your life, you will face adversity, because usually something challenging or
life-changing happens to all of us. How you view it and how you react is critical in shaping your future. Typically, we will take one of two paths: 1) redemption or 2) contamination.
If we think things happened to us, we are more likely to get contaminated and bitter, not
better. Our past refines us, it does not define us. And if we are contaminated, we lose all faith and belief that good can happen in our life. We believe history will repeat itself and nothing good will come our way. I believe nothing happens to us but everything happens for us. Actively choosing that kind of mindset will redeem us and eliminate contamination. We have to believe there is a plan for our life and whatever happens, even though it may not seem to be a good thing at the present moment, we will eventually see how it was involved with the plan. We have to choose to believe that life is stacked in our favor and if we believe that eventually it will be. Look back on your past with gratitude, not in a judgmental way. Self-pity will not serve you well; everything that has happened to you is for your strength. Take the lessons you’ve learned and the adversity you’ve overcome, and use them to become stronger and more focused on your goal. Remember, your past does not define you... it refines you.
Faith in your Future
The fact is you either live in vision or you live in circumstance. The problem happens when
a challenging event occurs and we have no faith that it will soon pass. I say to myself daily that my latter days will be greater than my former days. We often don’t realize that our imagination runs 24 hours a day. Taking control of it is the objective. It can do one of two things. It can either sink us to a new low we have never been, or it can raise us to a new high we have never experienced. If we do not take command of our imagination, it will most certainly take command of us and take us to the darkest places. Tina Turner and Oprah Winfrey ran a contest asking Oprah’s listeners to write in, asking for whatever they wanted. One of the winner’s letters had requested to have dinner with Tina and Oprah, so that’s what they won. While at dinner, the winner was told that if she would have asked for a house, she would have gotten one. She became upset because she thought if she asked for something that big, it never would have been granted. Oprah told her to let that be her lesson - that
if you ask small, you receive small. But if you ask big, you receive big. Have big faith in your future and ask big to receive big, especially when a door has closed go higher. Believing is an exercise. The more we exercise it, the more it becomes strong and prevalent in our
minds. There is a phase we use at Alabama football that was behind a 20+ game win streak - “So what? Now what?” First of all we have to say, “So what?” when a door is slammed shut. Stop staring at the closed door because we will never see the open window. We have to get our eyes on new possibilities that come from potential setbacks. Get onto using your positive imagination when adversity hits or a door has closed, rather than wallowing in self pity. I often speak to The University of Alabama football team and I close with this story every
time. Two boys were going to get into a fight after school one day and I couldn’t wait to see it. But this fight was quick. One boy shoved the other one down a hill and that was that. So the gathered crowd all started to walk back into school. But the seemingly-defeated boy came up over the hill with a tree branch in his hand and said, “Wait a minute, where is everyone going? This fight is not over.” And then he said one of my favorite words – “YET.” The word yet is powerful because it shows you have faith going forward and what is happening now is anything but final. Take command of your I magination and say these self-talk phrases to yourself often - “So what? Now what?” and “Yet.” Stay out of self-pity and negative judgment. Your imagination is powerful, and can either lead you down a destructive path or up to a new, high peak.
Faith in Others
Paul Bear Bryant, the famous Head Coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide used to say, “Call
your momma, because I sure wish I could.” I feel very much that way. My mother was a strong person who gave me a great gift - she believed in me. I would hear her say all the time, “I never worry about Kevin because I have faith in him.” I owe so much to her belief and faith and don’t know where I would be without her. Two young men joined the Marines together and told each other that they would be there for each other no matter what. One day while in a battle, one of the two marines was shot, laying in the area they call No Man’s Land, the space between the two fighting armies. The one marine asked his Sergeant if he can go get his friend and the Sergeant told him he couldn’t stop him, but it wasn’t worth it. The soldier went anyway. He picked up his friend and made it to the wall on his side of the
front, but was shot in the process. Sometime during the rescue attempt, his friend died. The
sergeant said, “I told you it wasn’t worth it. He’s dead and now you’re shot!” The brave young man responded, “It WAS worth it because when I got to him he was still alive. And when I bent over to pick him up he said, ‘I knew you would come for me.’ It was more than worth it, Sergeant.” Believing in others and being there for them is worth it. Practice connecting with someone else daily and letting them know you have faith in them. There is someone around you today who desperately needs to know that someone out there has
faith in them and will be there for them. Remember, life is a game of boomerangs. What we give out comes back to us, and when we practice believing in others, the faith and belief you have invested in others will come back to you just when you need it most.
Faith in Your Team
I watched a Netflix documentary done by Look Magazine about miracles in which a man
could not walk because there was a break in his spine. In the documentary the doctors showed x-rays and his spine was clearly disconnected. A group from his church came in to pray for him, asking God to grant him the ability to walk again. Some time later, the doctor came in with a new x-ray and said, “Look for yourself! Remember the break in his spinal cord? It isn’t there anymore!” The patient once confined to a wheelchair is now running up the church steps! What is behind these miracles? The first step involves a group of people coming together as one. Doug Pederson, Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, told his team before winning the Super Bowl, “A person can make a difference, but a team can make a miracle.” I’m sure if you’ve looked at United States coins, you’ve noticed the phrase E Pluribus Unum. It means, “Out of many, one.” That is the first step of a miracle – a bunch of very diverse people coming together as one. The Bible says one can chase a thousand but two can chase ten thousand which means when we can come into agreement, we can become so much stronger and our energy will be multiplied. The second step is all of them meditating in one direction for someone, or something larger than themselves. I have found power in the phrase, “I am not looking for blessings to come into my life but I am looking to be a blessing in someone’s life.” The third element of a miracle is faith that the miracle will happen. We can because we believe we can. Together you will do something that no individual can do because the miracle mindset and the team mindset are exactly the same.
Daily meditate for the well-being of others in your family, workplace or team. Choose to
believe that the mission you are on can work and make a difference. An individual can make a difference but a team can make a miracle.
Reason To Believe
Many of us want to become exceptional in our daily walk. To become exceptional we must
think about the root word of exceptionalism - except. To become exceptional we must make a statement about ourselves – everyone doubted except me, everyone lacked faith except me, everyone complained about their past except me. And to become exceptional in our lives we must have faith – the kind of faith that can move mountains. Not only do we need to possess it but we need to show it in our actions, exercise it in our thoughts, model it in our words. If we believe that we can get something done, we are more likely to keep going until we finish. Lastly, I’m reminded of a song called “Reason To Believe.” That is the ultimate faith question – do you have a reason for believing? Aren’t your family and children reasons enough to believe? Isn’t the life you have, the opportunity of this day enough? Isn’t being a blessing to someone and your responsibility to mankind enough? Sometimes what matters most is faith itself, trusting that you are meant to be part of a miracle.