Tonight I want to speak about an amazing book I am now recommending to absolutely everyone, especially since it hits very close to home with me.
Let me ask you, have you ever had someone tell you something like, “You will never amount to anything”, “You are stupid”, “Why would you want to do something as stupid as that”, “You will never learn”, “You deserve everything you get”, or in the case of this book, “You are no genius.”
The book “Grit”, written by Angela Duckworth is a tale that every person who has ever had something horrible said to them about themselves needs to read. Ok, so I am pretty much speaking to everyone reading this because at some time or another someone has said something to us that hurt us deeply. Some of us have even had those things said to us repeatedly and because we kept hearing it over and over, we began to believe it and actually start living it out. We became a self fulfilling prophecy.
I want to share my own story with you in the hopes that if you are someone who has had this happen to them you will know you are not alone and you will come out of it stronger in the end
When God challenged me to give up a job I had held for a very long time and had quite a lot of success doing it, and go into ministry, I struggled with myself about what I would do. This would mean losing a great salary. It would mean going back to school, which is never cheap these days. It would mean working a full time job and attending school full time as well as being a functioning member of a family. It would be hard work. It would put me completely out of my comfort zone. But when God asks you to do something, it is wise never to tell Him no.
When I finally made the decision to accept God’s challenge I was truly happy with my decision. I knew it would be hard but I knew I would be successful because God never asks us to do something He is not prepared to make us successful at. So I did what all sons do, I called my Mom to tell her about my decision. Here is she told me….
….”Are you kidding me? That is totally dumb! Your going to throw away a great paying job so you can read the Bible to people? Preachers do not make any money at all. I never thought any of my family would ever do something like this. You’ll be broke before you know it. But I guess if you would rather throw your job away, then so be it. It’s your life.”
Thanks Mom. I appreciate the support.
This conversation is much like the one the author of the book had with her Father. Whenever he got the chance her Father would remind her that she “was no genius.”
But when God asks you to do something, it is wise never to tell Him no.
This bothered her so much that she made it her lifes work to find out if being a genius would make you successful in life or was it something else. I do not want to spoil any of this book for you because if you are like me and had this done to you as well, you will find so many pieces of wisdom in this book that by the time you are done, you will realize that no matter what you were told when you were younger, you can always prove them wrong.
The author does prove, with tons of research and facts, that while being a certified genius is great, what really matters in life in order to be successful is your ability to drag yourself up into the standing position each and every time you get knocked down. Drive and passion also play a huge part in our ability to achieve results as well. When people like my Mom decide to tell us just how dumb we are and that we are making mistakes, the best thing we can do is to treat those remarks like a log soaked in gasoline that we throw on the fire of our determination to prove them wrong! The Bible says that what people mean for bad or hurt for us, God will use for good. In my case, God allowed me to take my Mom’s hurtful words and use them as the driving factor that kept pushing me beyond my limits and allowed me to achieve success.
Each time I started to feel like what I was doing was too hard, I replayed her words back in my mind and then dug right back into the work. There was no way she was going to be right! By the way, she was wrong!!!!!
People have told me, “Well Brad, your Mom was right. Unless you are Joel Osteen, pastors normally do not make very much money at all.” That is absolutely true, but as I learned recently, what kind of price tag can you put on baptizing someone and helping them know for sure that they will spend eternity in Heaven? Answer – no amount of money can give you that feeling of knowing you helped someone ensure themselves of Heaven and that you played a part in changing their lives for the better. I now get to say I did that and continue to do that daily!!! Praise God for turning that hurt into triumph!
All of the money that we make here on Earth is good and it helps us pay our bills and buy groceries. And then we die and we leave it for others to fight over because you get to take absolutely NONE of it with you when you die. All you have the very second you die is a conversation with Jesus Christ about your life. You need to be prepared for that conversation.
But until that time, we all know that we are going to get knocked down here on Earth. It is a shame, but sometimes those we love the most are the ones who hurt us with their words or actions. The best thing we can do with that hurt, and the thing that we can do to make God pleased with us, is to use that hurt for our own good and show our true grit and get right back up and keep moving towards our goals.
The author of the book goes on to actually achieve genius status. Her Dad was as wrong as my Mom was!!! Never let anyone besides God tell you what you can and cannot do. Grit is not something we are born with. We must learn it through the fires and trials of life. It is learned by getting up when we fall, by using harsh words as fuel for our fires to achieve more, and finally God will be happy to help you when you need that extra strength to get through the tough times. All you need to do is what I did – ask Him for His strength and peace that goes beyond all human understanding.
I hope you will take the time to read this book and be strengthened by the authors story, and I hope my story gives you hope that no matter what anyone tells you, if you put your mind to it and put in the hard work, you can prove your detractors wrong.
May God bless you as you work to build up your own grit,
Pastor Brad Komgenick