“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”
At the beginning of a new year, you, like millions of other people, are thinking about some of the aspects of your life that need change — from a positive perspective. Your prayer and hope is to make your life in the new year better than the past.
We have made resolutions that were never followed through. We set goals that should have guided us to higher achievements, but didn’t.
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What stops us from moving forward, spiritually, professionally or personally, even when we have great potential? Could it be that we suffer from “African impala syndrome?”
Jumping high and forward is an inborn talent of survival for the African impala. It has been said that the impala can jump about 10 feet high. This high jump propels the animal to land about 30 feet from the spot where it starts. With this ability of vertical and horizontal jumping, the impala survives and thrives in the carnivore-infested savannas.
However, the impala does have a unique limitation: It jumps only when it can see where it will land. I once read in an issue of “Bits and Pieces” that when the African impala is confined in a three-foot high fence, it won’t jump.
Simply said, over 80 percent of adults don’t live up to their greatness because they suffer from “African impala syndrome.” We don’t “jump” unless we can see “where we will land.” When we suffer from this malady, we choose to tough it out in careers, work environments or relationships that may be stressful. We don’t let go of habits that may be detrimental to our bodies, profession, families or spiritual growth. We lack the faith needed to move forward.
Here are tips for jumping into a future of spiritual and personal growth.
1. To jump forward, you have to use the word “but” cautiously. “But” is a “wall” that nips talents before they can blossom. When your life is governed by “buts,” chances are that your talents, gifts and experiences are underutilized.
2. Understand that your not “jumping” not only hurts you, but all of those who could benefit from your jumping. If you, as a parent go back to college, chances are that your children will emulate your example. To “jump” from your current state that you don’t like or wouldn’t like to be in five years from now, you only need permission from one person — you.
3. Think of Noah, the one who built the ark in a desert without clouds in the sky. Faith is a dynamic condition of mind through which desires, plans or goals are translated into tangible results. The first step of putting your faith in action is to determine your desire and purpose and pursue it no matter what obstacles you face.
4. Once you have developed a goal, keep negative thoughts such as failure, fear, anger and envy from your mind. Associate with people who will encourage you. Pray and work like you have never done before. Accept the fact that you are only using a portion of your potential at any time, and you could always do better.
5. As you jump by faith toward your determined goal, never let a day pass without doing something related to your goal. Surround yourself with materials that are in tune with the goal you want to achieve, and always remember, the power of belief makes the difference.
6. Remember, when you “jump,” you may suffer pain or failure. However, it is a tragedy for you to never live up to your potential because you didn’t jump. By not jumping, you may avoid pain or the experience of failure. But you won’t learn, change, or experience self-love and growth. And the pain that you are stuck in your situation and the regret that you did nothing about it when you could is more scathing. It is only by jumping, that we liberate ourselves and others to jump higher and further.
Now is the time to jump. But if you are waiting for inspiration in order to jump, you are not a doer but a waiter. You can always be challenged and inspired by the words of St. Augustine, that “God has promised forgiveness for your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow for your procrastination.”
Vincent Muli Kituku is an author and speaker for business organizations, schools and Christian groups. 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.