Become a Better You CHAPTER 1
Stretching to the Next Level
The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed many beautiful buildings, homes, and other magnificent structures. Toward the end of his career, a reporter asked him, “Of your many beautiful designs, which one is your favorite?”
Without missing a beat, Frank Lloyd Wright answered, “My next one.”
Frank Lloyd Wright understood the principle of stretching, constantly pressing forward, never being satisfied simply with past successes. The entire world is waiting for your next adventure.
Too many people are living far below their potential. They have many gifts and talents, and so much more going for them. But they’ve gotten comfortable, settled where they are, and lately become too easily satisfied.
I often hear people making excuses for stagnating in their personal growth:
“I’ve achieved as much as most.”
“Compared to other people, I’m doing pretty well in my career.”
“I’ve gone as far as my parents did.”
That’s great, but God wants you to go further. He’s a progressive God, and He wants every generation to be increasing in happiness, success, and significance. No matter where we are in life, God has more in store. He never wants us to quit growing. We should always be reaching for new heights in our abilities, in our spiritual walk, in our finances, careers, and personal relationships. We all have areas where we can come up higher. We may have achieved a certain level of success, but there are always new challenges, other mountains to climb. There are new dreams and goals that we can pursue.
No doubt, God has already done a lot in your past. He’s opened doors for you that nobody else could open. Maybe He’s given you a wonderful family and home. Perhaps He’s caused you to be promoted, given you favor with your employer or supervisors. That is marvelous, and you should thank God for all that He has done for you. But be careful: Sometimes when you are enjoying life, it is easy to become complacent, to get satisfied, and think, Yes, God’s been good to me. I can’t complain. I’ve achieved my goals; I’ve reached my limits. But God never performs His greatest feats in your yesterdays.
He may have done wonders in the past, but you haven’t seen anything yet! The best is yet to come. Don’t allow your life to become dull. Keep dreaming, hoping, and planning for new projects, experiences, and adventures with God.
God never performs His greatest feats in your yesterdays.
I’ve discovered that God likes to outdo Himself. He wants to show His favor in your life in greater ways today than He did yesterday. He wants you to be more blessed tomorrow than you are today. He intends for you to have a greater impact on the world than you have had. That means if you’re a teacher, you haven’t taught your best lesson yet. If you’re a builder, you haven’t built your best home yet. If you’re a businessperson, you haven’t negotiated your best deal yet. It’s time to get your hopes up; enlarge your vision, and get ready for the new things that God has on the horizon. Your best days are not behind you. They’re in front of you.
But if this is going to happen, we have to keep pressing forward, stretching ourselves. Get rid of low expectations. Don’t make little plans for your life. Don’t have little dreams. Don’t go around thinking, Everybody gets good breaks except me. I’ve reached my limits. I’ll probably never get this promotion. I don’t know why I’m not as talented as that other person.
No, get rid of that defeated mind-set. You are a child of the Most High God. God has breathed His life into you. He planted seeds of greatness in you. You have everything you need to fulfill your God-given destiny. God has already put in the talent, the creativity, the discipline, the wisdom, and the determination. It’s all in you. You are full of potential. But you have to do your part and start tapping into it. You have to make better use of the gifts and talents that God has given you.
The Scripture teaches that we have a valuable treasure on the inside. You have a gift. You have something to offer that nobody else has. You didn’t just show up on planet Earth by accident. You were handpicked by Almighty God. He saw you before you were formed in your mother’s womb and placed you here for a reason. You have an assignment. There’s something that God wants you to accomplish. Somebody needs your touch. Somebody needs what you have.
Don’t live with that treasure undiscovered, and don’t die with the treasure still in you. Press forward. Give birth to the dreams and desires that God has placed in your heart.
Neurologists have discovered that the average person uses less than 10 percent of his or her mind. That means more than 90 percent of the mind’s capability lies dormant. It never gets tapped into. But if we could just understand what we have: God has deposited a part of Himself in you. When it came time for you to be born, God said, “Let Me give you some of this gift; some of this talent; some of this creativity.” You have the seed of Almighty God on the inside of you. You were never created to be average. You were never created to reach a certain level and then plateau. You were created to excel. There’s no limit to how high you can go in life. There’s no limit to what you can accomplish, if you will just learn to shake off complacency and keep stretching into the next level.
But it all starts in our hearts and minds. We have to believe that we have what it takes. We have to believe that we have a gift, a treasure on the inside. People may have tried to push you down. Circumstances may have soured your outlook on life.
Maybe you’ve tried to succeed in life but have hit a brick wall again and again. Try again. Somebody may have told you “no” a thousand times; ask again. Keep asking until you get the “yes” that you’ve been waiting to hear. You’ve got to keep pressing. Too many people grow satisfied with far less than God’s best for their lives. Sometimes they get discouraged, but all too often, they simply get comfortable. They stop stretching anymore; they are not exercising their faith, and like a once muscular, toned body that no longer exercises, they grow flabby. One of the main reasons for this sort of complacency is that people don’t really understand what they have on the inside. They don’t understand their God-given potential.
Years ago, a friend of mine and a passenger were in Europe driving on the Autobahn, the superhighway across Germany. Unlike American freeways, the Autobahn has no speed limits. You can travel as fast as you want to drive.
My friend was so excited as he pressed down on the accelerator and took the car up to 80 miles an hour, then 90, 100, 110. He felt like the king of the road, zooming past people left and right.
A few minutes later, another car streaked down the freeway. This car was the exact same model as my friend’s car, but it blew by him like he was standing still. That second automobile must have been going 170 per hour.
The passenger traveling with my friend laughed and said, “See; you’re not going as fast as you can. You’re just going as fast as you will.”
Think about that: My friend’s car possessed tremendous potential. It too was capable of going 180 miles per hour. The manufacturer put in the potential. How fast my friend drove didn’t have anything to do with the car’s capability. In other words, the potential was not lessened just because he chose not to use it. And simply having the potential on board did not affect his future.
It’s the same way with us. Our potential has been put in us by our Manufacturer, our Creator, Almighty God. Whether we use it or not does not diminish it, but it does impact our future. The events of your past do not reduce your potential. How somebody has treated you or what he or she said about you doesn’t change your potential. Maybe you’ve been through some disappointments, or have had some unfair things happen in life. None of that affects your potential. It has been put in you permanently by the Creator of the Universe. When we believe, we take a step of faith and stretch ourselves; that’s when we start to tap into it. That’s when we’ll rise higher.
The capability is in you. The real question is: Are you willing to break free from your self-imposed limitations and start stretching to the next level?
Too often, we allow experiences from the past to keep us from pressing forward. Perhaps a business partner, a coach, a relative, or a friend said, “Hey, do you really think you can do that? Maybe that opportunity is not right for you. What if you try and fail? What if it doesn’t work out?”
These negative words may haunt you and stymie your progress in pressing forward. Understand that none of those statements can change your potential on the inside. It’s still in you. Don’t allow other people to talk you out of using what God has given you and doing what you know God wants you to do.
Many people have had negative comments spoken over them, such as “You don’t have what it takes. You’re not very talented. I don’t think you’ll ever be successful.”
If we’re not careful, we’ll allow those negative words to play over and over in our minds. They can create a stronghold.
A young woman named Sherry came to me for advice. She had tolerated an abusive relationship for years in which she was repeatedly told, “You can’t do anything right. You’re so slow. You’re not attractive.” After hearing that for so long, it had totally beaten her down physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She had no joy, little confidence, and extremely low self-esteem.
I told her what I’m telling you: “Your value, your gifts, and talents have been put in you by Almighty God. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else has spoken over you. The good news is God has the final authority. He says you have a treasure on the inside. He says you have a gift. He says you are valuable. You’ve got to quit playing that old tune and put on a new one. You need to be dwelling on thoughts like: I am creative. I am talented. I am valuable. I have a bright future. My best days are still out in front of me. You have to get your mind going in this new direction. Because dwelling on negative thoughts about yourself will keep you from becoming all God has created you to be.”
Regardless of who has spoken negative words into your life—a parent, a spouse, a coach, or a teacher—you must cast those words down. Words are powerful. They can create barriers in your heart and mind. Sometimes one little phrase can hold us back for years.
A friend of mine used to travel as an assistant with a well-known minister. One day, a man came to the hotel and wanted the minister to pray for him. The associate told the man, “I’m sorry, but the minister can’t be disturbed. He’s resting and getting prepared for the meeting tonight.”
But this man refused to take no for an answer. He was extremely aggressive and determined. My friend remained kind and courteous, trying to placate the unexpected visitor. But the caller continued to press.
Finally, my friend said, “How about this? I will pray for you. I work with the minister every day. I’ll be glad to pray for you.”
At that, the obnoxious man turned his nose up. He said, “I don’t think so. You won’t do.”
The words stung: “You won’t do.” The implicit message was “You are not good enough. Your prayers can’t get the job done.”
My friend later told how those words seared through his heart and mind day after day. “You won’t do.” Lying in bed at night, he’d think, You don’t have what it takes. You’re not anointed like the famous preacher. You can’t help a soul.
The young man already struggled with his confidence, but now he was allowing these negative words to play repeatedly in his subconscious mind. He couldn’t shake them off, and instead allowed those negative words to hold him down for years.
Too many people don’t have the confidence and the self-esteem they should because they’re constantly dwelling on negative thoughts about themselves. I don’t say this arrogantly, but in my mind, all day long I try to remind myself: I am anointed. I am creative. I am talented. I am successful. I have the favor of God. People like me. I’m a victor and not a victim.
Try it! If you go around thinking those kinds of thoughts, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, or inferiority won’t have a chance with you. Throw your shoulders back, put a smile on your face, and be looking for opportunities to stretch into the next level.
Back in the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they hid. In the cool of the day, God came to them and said, “Adam, Eve, where are you?”
They said, “God, we’re hiding because we are naked.”
I love the way God answered them. He said, “Adam, who told you that you were naked?” In other words, “Who told you that something was wrong with you?” God immediately knew the enemy had been talking to them.
God is saying to you today, “Who told you that you don’t have what it takes to succeed? Who told you that the best grades you could make in school would be C’s rather than A’s? Who told you that you are not attractive enough to succeed in your personal relationships or talented enough to flourish in your career? Who told you that your marriage is never going to last?”
Who told you that something was wrong with you?
Those are lies from the enemy. You need to reject those ideas and discover what God says about you.
“Well, I don’t think I could ever get this promotion, Joel.”
Who told you that? God said, “No good thing will He withhold when you walk uprightly.”
“Well, I don’t think I’ll ever get married, Joel. I haven’t had a date in so long I don’t think I’ll ever find someone who would love me for who I am, and with whom I would be compatible.”
Who told you that? God said, “When you delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart.”
“Well, I don’t think I could ever be in management. I don’t think I could be a leader.”
Who told you that? God says, “You can do all things through Christ.” The potential is inside you. It doesn’t change just because you don’t believe it or just because you’ve been through some negative experiences in the past. It has been deposited in you permanently by the Creator of the Universe. The Scripture says, “God’s gifts and His callings are irrevocable.”1 That means God is never going to take back the potential He has poured into you. He’s never going to say, “I’m tired of dealing with you. You’ve tried and failed too many times. You’ve made so many mistakes. Let me just have the gifts back.”
No, those gifts, and the calling on your life, will be with you till the day you leave this earth. But it is up to you to decide whether you tap into them and use them or not.
If You Only Knew
In John 4, Jesus met a woman at a well in Samaria, and H...
Présentation de l'éditeur
Is this as good as it gets? Or can you enjoy more of what life has to offer?
Not only can you live happily every day, bestselling author Joel Osteen suggests you must discover the potential within yourself and learn how to use it to live better, and to help others better themselves as well.
God didn't create you to be average. You were created to excel! You have everything you need to fulfill your God-given destiny, and there is no limit to what you can accomplish if you discover how to be a better you!
In Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day, Joel Osteen, America's best-known pastor, will inspire and motivate you to live with more joy, hope, and peace -- truly a life of victory! Joel will help you look deep inside yourself to become a better spouse and parent, a better boss or employee, a better community leader, a better friend -- in short, a better person!
Joel Osteen reveals seven simple yet profound principles that when taken to heart will help you become all that God has created you to be. In a straightforward, easy-to-understand style, Osteen explains key biblical values; the text is laced with personal testimonies that will enlighten and uplift you.
Each of the seven keys has its own section, complete with a set of practical action points. Thus Become a Better You will guide you in the process of uncovering your hidden resources. Within these pages, Joel Osteen addresses topics such as building your confidence, developing better relationships, finding peace within, and staying passionate about life. Become a Better You will encourage you to reach your unique God-given potential, and will help you to enjoy every day of your life, despite your circumstances. As you incorporate Joel's easy-to-grasp principles into your life, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much more God has in store for you, and how quickly you become a better you!
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