I am embarrassed at the number of things that I have tried to do and have been completely unsuccessful. As we watch others who are gifted at a task, sport, or some field of art, we think that “it looks so easy”. Then, in my case, when I try the same discipline, I discover it is not nearly as easy as it appeared to be.
The list of “attempts” is very long of those things that I tried and was a dismal exhibit of how it should be done. Golf, basketball, baseball, football, music (piano and trumpet—equally a loss), fishing (did find success at catching fish at Long John Silver’s), and hunting….just to name a few.
I have learned through long years of discipline to be a reader and to love to study. That was not the case in my school years. I was not a terribly bad student, but I did not apply myself as I could have. It was after I entered the ministry and needed to learn in order to teach that I really developed a love for research, study, and presenting information to others. By nature, I am not a speed reader and people think I’m teasing when I state that I sometimes have to read a paragraph several times to “get it”. I assure you that I am not teasing and that it still takes great concentration on my part to prepare for a single sermon.
However, I have learned the joy of being prepared when Sunday rolls around and the staff allows me much study time to compensate for my need for more time to read and re-read material so that it sticks. Though it did not come naturally and does not come easy, I have overcome some ADD tendencies and restlessness to learn to focus on what needs to be accomplished. And, as I read about men in history, I quickly realize that everyone has some difficulty that must be overcome to succeed. My struggle was very small by comparison with many of the great men and the challenges they faced.
"A sound body, a brilliant mind, a cultural background, a huge amount of money, a wonderful education -- none of these guarantee success. Booker T. Washington was born in slavery. Thomas Edison was deaf. Abraham Lincoln was born of illiterate parents. Lord Byron had a club foot. Robert Louis Stevenson had tuberculosis. Alexander Pope was a hunchback. Admiral Nelson had only one eye. Julius Caesar was an epileptic. But these men made history in spite of their handicaps. And there was Louis Pasteur, so near-sighted that he had a difficult time finding his way in his laboratory without glasses. There was Helen Keller, who could not hear or see, but who graduated with honors from a famous college.
"Got a handicap? Call on the Lord. No problem is too big for Him, or too small. He will make everything 'work together for good' -- if you trust Him." (copied).
Hopefully, you have learned the discipline you need in life to accomplish the tasks the Lord has for you. Every challenge is really the “starting gun” for the race to a next level of achievement. We may not excel at all things but we learn something in every circumstance of life. And, truth is, we learn more through our failures than through our successes. We do not just learn about the task that we failed to accomplish but we learn about humility, perseverance, and gain a deep appreciation for those who are proficient in those fields where we are not. And, those are good things to know for sure!