GREAT EX­PEC­TA­TIONS

Activated - - NEWS - By Marie Story Marie Story lives in San An­to­nio, USA, where she works as a free­lance il­lus­tra­tor and vol­un­teers as a coun­selor at a lo­cal home­less shel­ter.

The Bi­ble tells of a time Je­sus went back to His hometown. I think it’s one of the sad­dest sto­ries in the Bi­ble, pretty much summed up in the fi­nal verse of the chap­ter: “He did not do many mighty works there, be­cause of their un­be­lief.”

1 These peo­ple knew Je­sus. They had watched Him grow up, and I guess they didn’t ex­pect much from Him. So when He came around af­ter He’d been do­ing mir­a­cles, they just couldn’t be­lieve it. “Isn’t this the car­pen­ter’s son?” they asked. It seems

2 to me they were say­ing, “We know this guy. He’s just a car­pen­ter—it’s not pos­si­ble that He could be do­ing some­thing great. It’s not like He’s the son of God or any­thing.”

Just as these peo­ple didn’t be­lieve in Je­sus and His power, we can also lack be­lief in our­selves and in how Je­sus can work through us. We hold our­selves back through neg­a­tive self­talk. Be­cause we don’t be­lieve we’re ca­pa­ble of do­ing cer­tain things, we of­ten don’t even try.

I have a pug whose sole goal in life is to be the cen­ter of at­ten­tion. She’ll do just about any­thing to get some­one to pet her. She’s ab­so­lutely de­ter­mined and ex­tremely stub­born, and rarely lets any­thing stop her from reach­ing her goal of un­di­vided at­ten­tion. If I’m sit­ting on the couch with my lap­top, she’ll crawl un­der my arm and try to nudge the lap­top out of the way—or climb right on top of it if she can. If I’m cook­ing or clean­ing, she’ll walk round and round my feet, wait­ing for me to look at her. And if I’m out of reach, she’ll paw fran­ti­cally at the air un­til some­one notices and pets her. She gives “at­ten­tion starved” a whole new mean­ing.

The one place she never tried to reach is my bed. It’s more than twice her height, and even stand­ing on her hind legs, she can barely see over the top. So she’d sit and look pa­thetic, wait­ing for some­one to come down and pay at­ten­tion to her. She’d never tried to make the jump be­cause it was just too high.

That is, un­til she re­al­ized she could.

One evening she made a des­per­ate leap, and amaz­ingly enough, she was able to hop right up onto the bed. Now she thinks she can hop right up any time she pleases.

An­noy­ing, to be sure, but it got me think­ing about how of­ten we hold our­selves back “be­cause of our un­be­lief.” We just fig­ure we “can’t” do this or that, so we don’t even try.

I’ve heard a lot of sto­ries re­cently about peo­ple who were able to get good jobs they weren’t tech­ni­cally qual­i­fied for sim­ply be­cause they were will­ing to try.

One per­son I know got a job as an en­gi­neer, work­ing with highly technical plumb­ing prod­ucts. This wasn’t some­thing he had for­mal train­ing in; it wasn’t even a field he had ever re­ally con­sid­ered. But the op­por­tu­nity arose for him to en­ter that field and re­ceive train­ing in it, and now he’s be­come quite suc­cess­ful.

An­other friend got a job as a web de­vel­oper. This was an area he had dab­bled in, but only knew very lit­tle about. Now, while he’s had a lot to learn and catch up on, this guy has achieved far more than he ever ex­pected he could—sim­ply be­cause he was will­ing to take that first leap.

How about you? Are you pos­si­bly hin­der­ing Je­sus’ abil­ity to do some­thing spe­cial—or even some­thing you wish to do but aren’t sure you can— in your life be­cause of your un­be­lief in His power to work through you? Have you told your­self “I can’t” so many times that you’ve stopped believ­ing that maybe you can?

Some folks fig­ure it’s be­ing “hum­ble” to have a low opin­ion of them­selves and their ca­pa­bil­i­ties. They tell them­selves all kinds of ex­cuses, like “I’m just not that smart,” or “That’s a job for tal­ented peo­ple.” Our own neg­a­tive self-talk and un­be­lief can end up de­feat­ing us.

God has plans for each one of us. That’s not some­thing in ques­tion. Maybe the things He has planned for you are dif­fer­ent than what you’d ex­pect; but if you let Him, He’ll use you. An Olympic run­ner doesn’t go into a race think­ing that maybe he can win. He cer­tainly doesn’t go into it think­ing that he can’t win. He sets his mind to win, and runs as if the medal is al­ready his. “Don’t you re­al­ize that in a race ev­ery­one runs, but only one per­son gets the prize? So run to win!”

3 If you know that God has great ex­pec­ta­tions for you, you can start ex­pect­ing more of your­self. Take that first scary step, and then keep on run­ning.

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