I recently read a very interesting illustration written by Wayne Cordeiro. He talked about going to a circus and seeing the massive mutli-ton elephants perform. Once outside the tent, he snuck under a rope to get a closer look at these enormous animals. To his surprise they were only kept under control by a tiny ropes attached to foot long stakes in the dirt. The elephants could have easily pulled the stakes out of the ground and gotten away. Instead, as soon as they felt the slightest resistance on the rope they stopped.
Later on he asked one of the caretakers about their means of containing the giant beasts. The man explained that when elephants are young they are tied up to a very strong stake. After pulling and tugging on it to no avail, the elephants believe that getting loose is a lost cause and give up. When the elephants grow up they still have this limitation on their mind and will not attempt to get away because they do not believe they can.
I can’t help but think that people are the same way. I know I have been. For years I believed that I wasn’t smart enough to write or speak publicly. I’m sure it stemmed from being told that I had a reading comprehension problem and for being made fun of by classmates for reading “baby books.”
The world is full of people who believe they can’t do things. Sometimes it’s because someone else told them they were incompetent. Other times it’s because a traumatic event has birthed fear which has hindered them from doing what they are gifted and capable of.
Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” We all have the ability through Jesus, to overcome any “stake in the ground” that has been preventing us from moving forward.
What is preventing you from believing in yourself?
Wayne Cordeiro (1998). Doing Church as a Team