“Alibis” — the baptismal name for all reasons we give for not utilizing our talents, gifts and experiencing to live a fulfilling life. They range from “if I had been the president,” to “if the dog didn’t eat my homework…”
“If I had cash…,” “if I had time…,” “if I had talent like so and so…,” “if I had a spouse…,” “if I had connections…,” “if I had an education…,” “if I was young again…,” “if I didn’t have an accent…,” “if we were not poor…,” “if my dad didn’t buy alcohol with my tuition…,” “if the government didn’t…,” “if I could speak…,” — the list of ifs is endless. Yet the alibis are obsolete when we look at what is within our reach at the present.
Use of alibi is not a new phenomenon. Moses, when called by God to go Egypt and help get the Israelites out of bondage, said, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent…I am of slow speech, and of slow tongue.” Exodus 4:10. In other words, Moses was saying, if I could speak eloquently, if I was not of slow speech, if my tongue was not slow, then God, I would be the perfect person to lead your children out of slavery.
Jeremiah, the prophet, had his own alibi. When called to be a prophet, Jeremiah cried, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” Jeremiah 1:6.
While Moses and Jeremiah’s responses are good examples of humility (feeling unworthy for the high calling), like them, we look at what we don’t have as an excuse for not living up to our potential. In Moses’ case, he learned that the rod in his hand that he had used for years was the tool he needed. When he made himself available, trusted in God’s will, he was able to live up to his potential.
In the story, “Acres of Diamonds,” a man in Africa who had a large piece of land heard about how people were getting rich by selling diamonds. He decided to sell his “worthless” piece of land and go look elsewhere for diamonds. One day, while strolling, the man who bought the land saw unfamiliar stones. He picked one up and placed it in his hut and it was later seen by a friend of his while visiting. The visitor inquired where the stone had come from and this landowner told him the unfamiliar stone is on his land. The visitor knew that the unfamiliar stones were diamonds, and this land had the largest amount of diamond ever discovered. The first land owner never found diamonds where he went and regretted for not exploring what had been available to him for years.
Our diamonds are not out there somewhere. There are within us. All we need is to explore and excavate them, then put them into use.
The resources we need to begin acting on our visions are not in some elusive place “out there.” Change from saying, “If I had…” to saying, “Now that this is what I have to accomplish, this is what I have to start with.” What are the talents, skills, knowledge and gifts that you can use right away to enrich the world as you derive the benefits of living a fulfilling life?
The power within the human soul is unmeasurable. The power of kneeling in prayer provides spiritual stamina needed for one to be on his/her feet with definite purpose in life. Years back, I read a poster that said, “Pray as if it was all upon God and work as if it was all upon you.” Of all the different abilities God has given different people, the ability to pray has been given to everyone without exceptions.
Strong relationships provide nests to fall back and re-group ourselves so we can forge ahead with the spirit of determination. Moses’s eloquence limitation was covered for by his “eloquent” brother Aaron.
Whatever challenges you face, we must do something about them. Chances are that you will discover they are not as nearly as unclimbable as you thought they are. Trust in the talents, gifts and relationships God has given you. We are created in His image, able to accomplish great things, if we have faith in Him and confidence in our abilities.
Always remember, you have what it takes to start enriching yourself and others if you don’t use the alibi of, if I had… The tools you need to transform your life and the lives of other people are in your hands.
Vincent Muli Kituku is an author and speaker for business organizations, schools and Christian groups. He is the founder of Caring Hearts and Hands of Hope and Caring Hearts High School, a vulnerable girls’ boarding school in Kenya. Contact him at (208) 376-8724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Idaho Statesman’s weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.