Are you stuck in the past?
You should hire yourself about the opportunities that exists to create your own reality.
Bishop T.D Jakes, in (Soar) book interview with Pastor Steve Furtick says, “And you’ve got smart bright gifted talented people who can’t find an opportunity. In our community and even in other communities you have this dilemma of people who make mistakes when they were young, did some criminal justice issues and 25 years later, they can’t get a job or a place to stay. That’s a real problem.
A little Background History?
According to Wikipedia, Paul the Apostle commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Hebrew name Saul of Tarsus, was a Christian apostle (although not one of the Twelve Apostles) who spread the teachings of Jesus in the first-century world. Paul is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age and from the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD he founded several Christian communities in Asia Minor and Europe.
According to the New Testament book Acts of the Apostles (often simply called Acts), Paul participated in the persecution of the "embryonic Christian movement," more Hellenised diaspora Jewish members, in the area of Jerusalem, prior to his conversion.
In the narrative of Acts, Paul was traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to "arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem" when the ascended Jesus appeared to him in a great bright light. He was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus and Paul began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God. Approximately half of the book of Acts deals with Paul's life and works.
Looking at the above resume of Paul, he did amazingly well to contribute towards Christianity, church planting and the text of the Bible. It's on this basis of impressive resume, that Paul, in Philippians 3:12-16 (AMP)
12 Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude. And if in any respect you have a different attitude, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us stay true to what we have already attained.
Here, Paul is talking about attaining Christlikeness, and I would like to borrow three points to enable us attain our goals and purpose.
Not that I have already obtained it
According to www.retireby40.org, Financial Independence is the ultimate goal in personal finance. Financial independence means you can do whatever you want without having to worry about money. Work will become optional and you’ll be the master of your destiny. Who wouldn’t like that? It is a worthwhile goal to shoot for.
They go ahead and list seven ways to get you started on this journey.
You should live a frugal lifestyle by controlling your expenses.
Grow your earned income.
Invest in the stock markets.
Invest in rental properties using this blue print:
- Buy a starter home and rent it out when you move.
- Buy a few more rental properties.
- Build cash flowing rental business and then get commercial loans to expand.
Start a business - if you’re laid off and can’t find a job, why not try something new?
You can also create intellectual properties if you are a creative. The site states that Ernie Zelinsky wrote The Joy of Not Working and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free years ago and his books still generate over $100,000 per year for him*. I think this is the way to go for creative people. If you have a particular skill or talent, you may be able to turn that skill into usable products that would be purchased by those who want to learn from you. If those products have lasting value, you can earn royalty income for years.
Finally, you can earn from a pension. There are still jobs where you can earn a pension after 20 years.
I listed all these points (in summary form anyway) because I believe they are valid points. However, I do believe that we will never get to a place where it's enough. Human beings, maybe due to our fallen nature, we are always pushing the limits. There will always be something more we will always need irrespective of the stage we are in life.
Since I, at the time of writing this article, I am still on my journey towards financial independence, maybe I should look for a financially independent person and ask them if it's ever enough.
This is going to be a life long journey. And we will always be at a point where we can say as Paul, "Not that I have already obtained it..." Be patient with yourself and with the process.
Forgetting What Lies Behind
There two things I believe each person has behind them - successes and failures/mistakes. Both pose a greater danger to our present and future.
FORGETTING THE PAST MISTAKES/FAILURES
Throughout Scriptures, we see examples of men and women of faith making mistakes. Abraham got Ishmael when the promised son took too long to come forth. David killed Uzziah and took his wife Bathsheba in adulterous act. Samson took in Delilah who was not an Israelite woman. Moses struck the stone when God had clearly told him to speak to it for the water to come out in the wilderness. Solomon, Noah, and so on and forth.
God is not looking for the perfect you to advance His purposes on the earth. He is looking for your availability to co-labour with Him.
Do not let your past mistakes in your personal life, workplace or business to hold you back from moving forward to financial independence. Forgive yourself and others for whatever contribution you/they may have had towards these mistakes. The only reference you should make to the past is the lessons learned.
If you touched fire and burned, then pick the lesson that fire burns and not dwell on how foolish you must have been to touch the fire in the first place. While by the grace of God I have made a number of of good decisions, I have also made some very unwise (diplomatic term for foolish) decisions in my life. Some I have had to live with the consequences to date but over time, you must learn to forgive yourself, just as God has forgiven you and move forward.
You should also forget the failures you have encountered in your life. Sometimes, failure is caused by wrong decisions, unpreparedness, and wrong peer pressure but it can also largely be caused by life handing you a bad hand. Learn from the lessons - they are valuable, but do not let anything put you on a stagnant position.
One of the lessons I have learned over time is that life is too short to dwell on what's already done. I cannot undo yesterday - it's done, done, done! I therefore refuse to allow the past to define me. The pain, wounds and scars remain, to remind me not to touch fire again, but that's about it!
FORGETTING THE PAST SUCCESSES
I know it may seem odd to say that past success can stagnate you as much as past failure can. Whenever I hear myself and others start a conversation with, "Back in the day..." "Dem days..." It almost certainly leads to I was doing better then than I am doing now.
Sometimes we can get lost to our glory years and seasons and find ourselves unable to move from there. It's great that you nailed it once, use the lessons and momentum and wise decisions you made back then to propel yourself forward.
You could be fearing to put in the work and confidence it takes to win again. Winning takes hard work, focus, dedication, time, pain and finesse. Oftentimes, when someone has put in the effort to win, they fear starting over and winning again. It's worse if you won and failed after as the fear of that recurring again is even more. It's God that makes you an able minister, not of your own strength but by His strength. Trust in God and not on your own ability.
It could also be that because you won in the past, you refuse to be coached on how to win in the future. It's possible for your previous wins to inflate your ego so much that you are unable to admit you need help. All great players need a coach to enable them keep winning. It starts with admitting that you need help and that you cannot do it by yourself. Find a coach, mentor or accountability partner.
I Press on Toward the Goal
On this, I will refer to an earlier article I did on parenting - How to help your child set goals or objectives. In this article, it states that according to the online dictionary, a goal is defined as the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. This can be long term or short term. An objective is defined as a thing aimed at or sought; a goal. We will use these two interchangeably in this article.
Step 1: Think long term
Step 2: Break the long term goals to arm’s length reach
Step 3: Break it down to specific measurable objectives
For practical ideas on how to do this, please click on the parenting article and apply it to your goals in any area of your life.
Stay True to You
In our ever changing environment, there's increased pressure to become what other people and the society wants us to be. While it's important to adapt with change, the core of who you are and the purposes God has for you should not change.
The only being that should define who you should be must be God. You can only get this from a good investment of time spent with Him.
Your gifts and talents will remain and they have no repentance i.e they can never be taken away. The expression of those gifts and talents can change over time due to external developments of civilizations, technologies and environments.
Do not be conformed to the standards of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind through the Word of God.
Over to you!