Living in America, the land of the free. Our Declaration of Independence states that we have a right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness“. This is the country where we get to live free from capitalism, where we have a right to express and be vibrant in our society. This is a place where unlike other counties, we have a right to take advantage of the opportunities in our communities to make a difference and let our voice be heard. We have the ability to open up a business to serve many our skills and talents. This country is also a place where we can release our potential to make a difference in the world. Somehow many of us are still able to find ourselves low on the totem pole. I know that you’re probably thinking economically, for “if you don’t have enough funds, you don’t have a life”. Another statement could be “if your status and credentials don’t add up, you are automatically subtracted by society”. Although there is some truth to these statements, there are many people who have made it financially or born into what the world calls wealth, and still find themselves so low. You may ask “how could this be?” just to find out that this can only be a result of one thing.
Your mind is a powerful place! Your actions are determined by what you decide in your mind to do. There is nothing that you can do physically without it passing through your mind first. Therefore it is very important watch closely what you expose your mind to because this is the place we store our thoughts.
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
– Frank Outlaw – Late President of the Bi-Lo Stores
There are times when we feel that there is no hope, and we say to ourselves, “there is no reason for living; I’ve done all I could do; my spouse doesn’t love me anymore; why did this have to happen to me; I’m not worth anybody’s time; I am a waste of space; what is the benefit of trying any longer.” This is when you enter into a dark place. It’s described as a sharp pain in your side when you’re walking down a path that seems bleak, while still enduring the hurt along the way, to get to your destination. Sometimes a dark place can be found hidden underneath a masked face that so often shows an outward smile, hiding a bigger frown inside. It only takes one minuet event, person or word to launch you into the dark. One offense; one discouragement; one misread; even one mistake could lead you into darkness. One pain is all it takes to feel like nails are driving into your flesh while you’re still awake and breathing. This can lead you carrying all kind of baggage while putting on your Mona Lisa smile. Where does such pain come from? Will it ever go away? Is there any hope?
“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:11
One day I went to grocery store to buy what I needed for the following week. As I turned into the snack isle, I found a man was sitting Indian style on the floor starring at the variety of snacks. Immediately I thought that this man may have been overwhelmed with his food choices, so he decided to sit down to gather his thoughts. After taking the snacks I wanted for myself, I progressed to the next isle. When I came back to the isle for an impulse buy, the same man was still there Indian style. This man seemed as if he was invisible and one who seemed to not want to be seen. He then stood out the most in the whole store. While my curiosity was stirring up for this individual, a store manager walked down to asked the man if he was OK, he responded to her saying that he was alright and was waiting for someone. The manager then motioned her radio to let the overhead know that it was not a serious case. I began to wonder how bad was his situation enough to make him go into a grocery store and sit on the floor. This floor was as dirty as you think it to be, from grocery carts, to all walks of life, tracking and recycling dirt all over the store. The baby vomits, to the spill of an exposed product on isle three, not the most sanitary place to have a seat. During this busy hour while everyone in the store was on their hustle grabbing items for their homes, store associates managing walkways like directing traffic around rush hour. It seemed as though time stood still in the mist of chaos. This man clearly was in a dark place. You see I didn’t take the time to ask this guy if he was OK or not. Maybe I would have come off intrusive or rude in his eyes just to see if he had any hope left. This guy just seemed numb.
We often take things to heart when we are in an undesired situation. Somehow we wish that the end could come before the beginning without the trial and hard work put in to gaining our results. In the middle of the process, we want to call it quits. Thinking that when we have reached a certain level in life, dessert can be eaten before dinner. Skip the nutrition and get straight to the sweets, not realizing that the nutrition is to build the body in order to obtain the sweets at hand. People want to play hard and then work hard. This is a recipe for a disaster! Know that we all have a road to cross. There may be hills, pits and wildlife but there is always a light at the end of the journey. The people who have found themselves in a dark place, have quit along the way. Don’t quit! Don’t give up! Stay the course! It is the hope that we have that is there to keep our strength through the course.
- Have you ever felt numb?
- Was there a time in your life that you wanted to quit?
Selah: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8, 9