This inspiring blog was written by a man who spent six years incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. After asking God “Why?” instead of losing hope, he set out on a journey of self discovery. This led to Pit to Palace, the Seven Proven Principles of Ultimate Success.
A NEW DIMENSION OF FAITH
Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan. – T O M L A N D R Y
I recently picked up a principle I had never imagined was possible. It has literally changed my thought process in regard to my own FAITH level. Bishop James Dixon II, The Community of Faith church, Houston Texas., taught a series “FAITH KNOWS NO LIMIT.” The Principle is that there are multiple dimensions of FAITH. So being, there is a direct connection to your FAITH level and your measure of SUCCESS. Most Christians have a measure of FAITH that allows them to believe some things are possible. But there is another Faith Dimension where ALL things are possible. I met a young woman who told me how she was in an abusive marriage for many years. She was abused verbally as well as physically until one night she found herself pressed against the wall of her home by her husband—with the barrel of a handgun shoved in her mouth. Ironically thinking back to her telling me about these tragic events I only now realize that she literally has and had an all things are possible FAITH prospective. Flooded with memories of that horrific evening, she said, “I instinctively began to pray that God would shield me and not let me die from a bullet.” Do you know the faith you have to have in order to believe you will live when you have a gun down your throat and the trigger is about to be pulled? As her husband pulled the trigger, God miraculously answered her prayer. The bullet lodged in her jaw and broke a number of her teeth. But despite her injuries, she survived. She has undergone several surgeries to reconstruct her face, and still has challenges ahead with her speech. Her husband will spend the better part of the remainder of his life in prison. I asked the woman, who is the mother of several small children, how was she able to pick up the pieces after such a brutal attack. She explained that while still lying in the hospital, her only thoughts were for her children and how they were solely dependent on her. She had to devise a plan to get her life back on track—and made the decision that she did not want to be viewed the rest of her life as the victim. While in a hospital bed, she took a pen to paper and began to write down the things that she had to do, in order of priority. This was important since even the smallest detail can be taken for granted or overlooked if we do not write them down. That is FAITH at another level!
YOUR ROAD MAP
Because of my life experiences, I began to be invited to speak to groups of troubled teens and to inmates in prisons across the country. I spoke of the “Essential Elements of Transition,” which has now evolved into my book, Pit to Palace, the “Seven Proven Principles of Ultimate Success.” No matter your plight, place, or disposition, these principles are no respecter of person. Whoever chooses to apply them will achieve their desired result. Even though I believed I stumbled upon these principles by chance, I now know beyond a shadow of doubt the Holy Spirit guided me. I have talked to many successful people the last couple of years and each of them have applied these very precepts, knowingly or unknowingly, to achieve whatever level of success they have obtained. When I mention success, transitioning from an abusive relationship with one person to a rewarding relationship with another doesn’t happen by osmosis. You need a road map that shows you how to get from point A to point B. Counseling and mentoring by others is certainly helpful, but in the final analysis you must draw your own map. Carefully survey the landscape before you and examine your options. You have to move to a new Dimension of FAITH, Literally!
A desired destination is absolutely meaningless without a clear map that shows you the best route. Then, once you are on the journey, anything can happen. Oh yes, a detour sign may appear, but it won’t stop you if you know your target. Keep the FAITH. Bishop D always states that a FAITH untested can’t be trusted. It’s only after you have determined your goal that you devise a specific plan to see it develop into reality. Creating an “A,B,C” or “1,2,3“ list may seem like a waste of time, but it is necessary as a clear step -by- step guide to your tomorrow. Now comes the most important point. Your goal may seldom change, but your plan should always be flexible. This means that if Plan #1 doesn’t work, there’s no need to panic. In the process you have discovered essential information and now it’s time to move to Plan #2. As the noted business writer Peter Drucker says, “Long range planning does not deal with future decisions, but with the future of present decisions.
“THIS IS THE DAY”
Please make certain your strategy includes a specific timetable for action. I’ve met people who repeatedly say they will reach their goal “someday”:
• When the mortgage is paid off on the house.
• When they get the kids through college.
• When they have more time.
Don’t procrastinate. Start now! I encourage you to welcome each day with these words: “This is the day which the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm18:24).
It is also vital to realize that the greatest satisfaction is not necessarily in reaching your final goal, but in the joy of the journey. So don’t get upset if your target keeps moving like a mirage in the desert. Enjoy the achievement of every small mile marker on the exciting road you travel.
A LIFE-CHANGING INVITATION
I was asked me to pick up motivational speaker Les Brown from the airport by a friend. I was to take him and noted author and motivator Val Parker to a local radio station where they were to do an interview and promote a speaker series the friend had organized through her nonprofit organization. I realized that a golden opportunity had been dropped in my lap. The time I spent with Les, picking his brain about speaking to communicate effectively was invaluable. As a result, he invited me to attend the Les Brown speakers training in Orlando, Florida. However, because of my no-job status, I couldn’t afford the registration fee—much less the hotel and flight to Florida. I was operating in another FAITH dimension at the time. I felt the sacrifice was essential so I could receive the training I needed to take me to the next level of my development. Knowing such an opportunity may never come my way again, I borrowed a minimal amount of money from my family and made the trip. The training was to take place at the beautiful Rosen Plaza Hotel, where most attendees were staying. Because of my lack of finances I had to find more modest accommodations at a motel about two miles away. It certainly wasn’t the Rosen Plaza, but it served my purpose. I spent a dollar each way on a tram going to and from the daily training sessions. When we broke for lunch (which I couldn’t afford at the hotel), I walked about a quarter mile to McDonald’s and ate off the dollar menu. I felt the sacrifice was essential so I could receive the training I needed to take me to the next level of my development. At night I would lie in bed in that motel room, thanking God for allowing me this opportunity to be a part of what we were experiencing at the conference. That’s a new Dimension of FAITH. The sessions were very intense, and at times the speakers were overtaken by their own emotions. They believed passionately about inspiring and motivating people to live a purposeful, fulfilling life. As a direct result of these sessions, I learned more about myself, what I wanted to accomplish, and what I was willing to do to achieve it. One thing was clear to me. I needed to write my own story. And I knew I should speak to men, women, and young people on how they can overcome their struggles. My original goal was to help others, so I wasn’t coming up with a new objective—only changing directions on how to reach the goal. So now I was putting the first three principles into action: I obeyed this advice and put my vision into writing.
1. Stop Where You Are and Change Directions
2. Believe in Yourself and Your Abilities
3. Develop a Game Plan
Centuries ago, God told the prophet, Habakkuk, “Write the vision and make it plain upon the tables that he may run that read it” (Habakkuk 2:2). I obeyed this advice and put my vision into writing—a statement of where I was headed. Then I filled in the details—the plan—to make it happen. Written words are powerful tools. They can bring you to tears, or bring you to a place of laughter. But hopefully, they will crystalize your purpose. In fact, the minute you “see” what you are seeking—even on a small piece of paper—it takes on a physical appearance. In his book, The Self-Talk Solution, behavioral researcher, Shad Helmstetter, gives specific words we need to say regarding goal-setting and personal planning. They include “Anytime I want to make a change or achieve anything in my life, I write it down, along with my plan to accomplish the goal and when I will achieve it. In this way I turn each of my goals into action.” He also adds, “By writing out my goals, I am actually writing out my own script for the story of my future. By following my own specific action plan, I turn my dreams into reality.” These are words to live by.
PLAN TO WIN
What vision do you have hidden in your heart? It may be for you personally, for your family, for your finances, or for your spiritual life. Go ahead and start writing. Then post it in a prominent place where you can see it. Let it be a permanent, daily reminder of your goal. This written statement will help keep you on track toward your desired objective. Listen to what Les Brown calls “That still, quiet voice within.” It will tell you what to include in your blueprint and which road to travel. More importantly take your FAITH to the ALL things are possible Dimension.
Join me and Bishop D each morning at 6AM CST for Empower Your Day (EYD). It’s a Power Packed 7 minute devotional that will encourage and empower believers to faith forward into their day no matter what they may encounter. Call: 712.432.0075 Code: 415505 to Mute *6
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“Pit to Palace, 7 Proven Principles for Ultimate Success” is now available on www.darrellbarnes.org or anywhere fine books are sold.
– Also Available on Kindle from Amazon this summer.