As most of you know, I was born with the “gift” of having only one hand and I am extremely grateful for the journey my life has been on. To be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learned so much about life and who I am and who God created me to be. Everyday there seems to be something new I am being taught and for that I am thankful.
I remember back a few years to a very pivotal moment in my life. It was the end of 2009 and I found myself somewhat curious about prosthetics and what was being provided for congenital amputees (people born missing limbs). I decided to do a google search and discovered something called “The iLimb.” It was a bionic sort of arm that operated on the movement of muscles, opening and closing. I decided to take a closer look and as a result ended up with being the proud owner of the iLimb.
Now you must understand, having been born without a hand and never really wearing prosthetics of any kind (I did have some as a child but seldom wore them), presented quite a challenge for me. I decided to chronicle my journey in a blog and post a video each day for 100 days on what it was like living life with two hands. I had no idea it would go viral and impact people around the world. For 100 days I carried a video camera around and I posted videos about my journey and what it was like. In fact it was an adventure I will never forget and I am working on a new book that will relate some of the journey I went on. It will be available sometime next year.
Oftentimes, things come into our lives to teach us lessons about who we are and who God created us to be. My prosthetics practitioner told me when I received the iLimb, that it would be something that I might not always wear because I was born without a hand. Trying to replace something that I never had was a challenge for me. I was accustomed to
Life is truly about stepping into one challenge after another. That is the pattern of life and one that each of us have come to expect if we have any desire to make an impact with our lives. Looking back over my life, seeing the challenges I have experienced being born with having only one hand, I have discovered something that I think is very important to understand:
God is more interested in our character than He is our comfort!
If life was all about just being comfortable, nothing of any lasting value would ever be created. Some of the best books were written in a season of struggle. Some of the best sermons were birthed in a time of testing. Some of the best songs were written when someone’s back was against the wall. Character is formed in the fire.
The struggle we often encounter is when we try to eliminate the challenge for an easier road. In our humanity we often want to take the path of least resistance. That will get you no where! Anytime I face a challenge or come up against something that I believe I have been called to do, but I know it will be difficult, I ask myself this question; “But what if I don’t?”
If I don’t take this on or I don’t tackle that situation, what will happen? Inside each of us there is a God given passion to be everything He has called us to be and if we are not careful we will push back from the challenge and not follow His plan for us. You may be reading this and recently have felt the resistance against doing what you are called to do. I would encourage you to step out, overcome the fear of failure, peer pressure or whatever it may be that is holding you back and go for it! This world may be waiting on you to create the next life-changing idea!
If you don’t, then who will?
We are being bombarded right now with tons of media coverage concerning what is going on in the NFL. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us but it has really rocked the sports world and it seems every one is talking about it. I was recently talking to a friend who got a text from one of his family members concerning a player on their favorite team. He said that so and so is not the person we thought he was and then he began to give his reasons why.
What happened? How did an individual that is continually praised for their athletic ability suddenly go down in flames? I believe it all centers around this thing called “character.” I write in The HandBook: Five Forces To Form Your Future about the importance of character being a foundation to a successful and impacting life. I have discovered that if you desire to overcome then character must play a major role in life. To truly make a difference with your life this thing called character is huge. Someone once said character is like the foundation of a house; it is below the surface. It is so important because it is the very ingredient needed to help you make solid decisions that will govern your future. We have all heard it and yet it remains true: Character is who you are in the dark! When the cameras are off and the spotlight has been shut down and no one is around, that is when your character is often revealed.
Here is the issue; in our world we tend to promote people based on talent and ability instead of character. Your talent and ability may get you noticed but it cannot sustain you. But character can! You may get attention because of your gifts but if you are lacking in character eventually it will be discovered. A man or woman without character is like a warrior who has chinks in their armor. Eventually something is going to get through and when it does it is going to hit a vital organ. An individual without character is vulnerable to attack!
There is a scripture that has been one of my all-time favorites for years. In fact, my pastor used to preach and teach from it often and it has always inspired me. It not only applies to our lives spiritually but I believe it holds practical application in the arena of leadership and life as well.
It is found in Psalm 107:23-24. Take a look at it with me:
23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.
As I looked closer at this passage of scripture, three things came to my mind that I want to make sure I incorporate into my own personal life. Hopefully they can inspire and help you. We are all called to be and do! That is our divine privilege and with the help of God and His word, I believe we can arrive at that destined destination we have been given. Here is what I thought:
- You Have To Commit - Nothing starts in your life without a commitment to begin! I like what the scripture says; they that go DOWN to the sea in ships, that do BUSINESS in great waters. They had to commit to the most unstable element that exists – the element of water. Living in San Diego, I do my best to try and find the time to go over to the ocean and just watch the waves. The waves and the sea are unstable and constantly in motion. In order to do business out in the deep, one first must commit to the process. You cannot just think about what you are going to do – you have to get out there and put your boat in the water so to speak. This leads me to my next point:
- You Have To Launch – Just sitting on the side of the shore gets you nowhere. The only thing you have is a view, or can I say “vision.” Having a vision is great! Nothing wrong with having a vision but at some point you must understand – the business I need to conduct is out on the water, not here on the shore! The only thing you can build on the shore is a sand castle and eventually the waves are going to tear that down so you have to commit to the sea! The commitment you make now leads to you doing something about it. You have to launch that idea, that program, that ministry, that ??? I will let you fill in the blank. I meet a lot of people with a lot of good ideas but they never get past the shore. Their uncertainty about the launch will cost them MUCH! Don’t be afraid to push away from the comfortable and the serene. It is in the DEEP where you begin to see the WORKS of the Lord and His WONDERS! The prize is always out in the deep!
- You Have To Weather the Storm – This is probably where most people, once they commit and launch, experience the most pressure to turn around and go back. They experience a bump in the road or they come across a tough patch in the journey going out into the deep. The pressure to turn around and go back is real but there is no reward in that. You have to be committed to the journey and realize that in order to succeed you will face some very difficult times. It is part of the process. I will be honest and say that there have been several times in my own life that I have felt like giving up. Having only one hand has produced some moments that I didn’t think I could make it. But I have kept moving forward and tried my best to weather the storm that I faced. You can do the same thing! In fact you have what it takes and there will be times that it will be easier to look at the size of the waves as it is to look at the size of your God! DON’T!!! God is bigger than the storm and God’s plan for your life is greater than the waves.
I hope this has helped someone today. I believe we are called to move forward and achieve great things in our lives but it always comes at a price. Don’t be afraid to COMMIT, LAUNCH and WEATHER THE STORM!
See you in deep waters,