Sunday, December 21, 2014

Yes, You Can!

I recently had an email exchange with a lady who, after reading my book, was taking exception to my assertion that each of us has a unique calling to become Legendary Leaders within the worlds God has placed us. She began with telling me that my book was “romantic” rather than “realistic,” followed up by charging me with “setting people up for severe disappointment,” and, seeking to sum up her issues with me, she wrote, “You are telling Frodo that he can be Gandalf.” 
Me: Not at all. I am telling Hobbits to aspire to becoming legendary Hobbits who leave a legacy to their families, friends, and communities, worthy of their faith and calling, and for Wizards and Elves to do the same.
I use to be severely frustrated by people who believe their calling in life is to run around telling everyone they know what they are not capable of accomplishing. For such people, all aspirations are futile, dreams are childish nonsense, and visions are dangerous hallucinations. Over time, however, I realized that their crusades were fueled by fear and guilt and I began feeling sorry for them, for when they said, “Life isn’t like that,” what they actually were saying was, “If life can be like that, what happened to my life?”
An excerpt from chapter one (The Soul of a Legend) in Legendry Leadership:
As children, we knew that we were not cut out to be average or ordinary.  We dreamt of greatness and glory, of fantastic achievements and gripping adventures.  We were going to be the scientist who found the cure for cancer, a heroic soldier in the Special Forces fighting for liberty and justice, a school teacher whose students go out into the world equipped for a successful and full life, an artist whose body of work provoked and awed people for generations to come.  And then we encountered the cynics—the so-called realists—who told us that we were living in fantasy and wasting time and energy indulging in such wishful thinking.  The cynics were accompanied by the well intentioned whose expectations of us were much lower than our own. “No,” we were told, “that is not your path.  You are meant to be someone else, someone other than the person of whom you are dreaming.  Really.  If you take the path of your dreams, your life will end in misery.  It’s for your best that you listen to me.”
Some brave and independent souls are able to resist the counsel of the cynics and ignore the expectations of the well intentioned.  Many are not.  I am not saying that those who submit never achieve anything worthy of honor or never become honorable individuals.  I am suggesting that, from time to time, they are struck with the awareness that they could have been so much more, could have accomplished even greater things.
Soren Kierkegaard said, “There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.”  Fear keeps us from seeing.  Fear keeps us from recalling our dreams.  Fear keeps us from childlike faith.  Fear of despairing over what could have been enslaves us to what now is.
How do you overcome these fears?  How do you resist cynicism?  How do you begin overcoming the fear of disappointing others?  How do you revive your dreams?  St. John wrote that there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love (I John 4:18).  Love is the key: loving God, loving self, loving others, and loving the gift of life.
Loving God, we remember that, with and through Him, all things are possible.
Loving self, we remember that we were created “a little lower than the angels” and that He that is within us is greater than he that is in the world.
Loving others, we remember that we have gifts, talents, and wisdom with which we were meant to serve.
Loving the gift of life, we remember that every moment of our existence is a gift we are to cherish and steward.
Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2014

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