Terry R. Baughman
“Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3).
It is with a certain amount of pride that some wear the label of being a “self-made” man or woman. Those who have arisen in the midst of great handicap or adversity and become successful in some area of life are often lauded for their drive, ambition and self-determination to overcome and succeed when everything seemed against them. While we can all appreciate these heroic achievements and do not wish to take anything away from their successes, in most cases they would have to admit that there were others in their lives who inspired, encouraged, or assisted them in reaching their goals.
Determination and a positive attitude go a long way in helping a person break through the obstacles that would prevent them from achieving their dreams. Some have resisted the temptation to give in to failure and continued trying long after others would have surrendered. People with prosthetic legs have run marathons. Some without arms become artists painting beautiful scenes with a brush between their teeth. The blind and deaf, like Helen Keller, have learned to speak, write, and accomplish tremendous success when no one would have blamed them had they given up in frustration. People like that deserve a place of special honor.
While we may not have had such notable disabilities or obstacles to overcome, everyone will have adversity in life and the temptation to surrender to discouragement and defeat. Everyone needs an encourager or someone that lends inspiration.
Most successful people have been asked, “Who inspired you the most when you were facing the greatest challenges?” Some will recognize a parent or family member, a coach or close friend, while others are inspired by the accomplishments of someone they have never met. The athlete may be challenged by a competition or surpassing the goal that others have accomplished. A writer may be inspired by the writings of another or by the example of one they admire. Great leaders may follow the example of historical figures with grand visions for the future. Everyone that became something has had someone to inspire them.
There are no “self-made” individuals. We are all a product of the influence of others, genetically or environmentally. We all need to take a moment to recognize those who have influenced us to become better. A mentor, a mother, or an ally may be that particular person that pushed you to become greater than you thought was possible. For most of us there are several people we could list that have contributed to the shape of our lives. At a young age it was our parents who shaped our early development; then there were positive peers that may have challenged us to do more. Teachers, coaches, ministers, or friends may appear on the list of mentors. Most of all, every Christian should recognize the hand of God shaping their lives and leading them to those who will provide direction for future development.
In this season, let us recognize those who have given so much of their influence and have contributed to our success. Give God thanks for His leading and the gift of mentors in our lives!
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land” (Exodus 20:12).