Friday, May 18, 2012

Know Your Strengths

I love the truth, but most of all I love those who are willing, and are brave enough, to tell the truth.  It would be great if ALL of us could do EVERYTHING.  But we can’t.  We are not God.  We are human and infallible; we have limitations.  However, we ALL have the potential to be heroes in our own quests.  Too many people waste their lives chasing the wrong dreams, wanting the happiness, love, success, career, family or money that someone else has received, and then feeling like a failure when they don’t achieve the same things as their neighbor. Most often – we want what they have, but we’re not willing to do what they did to get it. We live in a society that encourages success without effort.  Yet, each of us has within us, the potential for true greatness. 

I met a man recently, who has spent over forty years of his life chasing the dream of becoming a knight in shining armor, believing that slaying dragons was the only way to be a hero.  He traveled from town to town, searching for damsels to save, proclaiming his greatness while looking for the perfect quest to prove it.  However, in the meantime, he has not trained, not taken the time to practice his skills with a sword, or spent the time to train his horse for battle.  He has two left feet and is severely near-sighted.  He has not researched or studied the habits of his enemy -the dragon, nor has he bothered to procure a suit of armor.  He is a prince of a man, and travels with those who tell him only what he wants to hear, and so he believes himself to be what he is not.  However, there is another side of this man that the townsfolk also see – a man with a gentle heart, who is generous and kind.  He is often delayed in his pursuit toward heroism because he constantly stops, and with his wealth, helps those in need along the way.  In his wake, he has left a long line of encouragement, gratitude and goodness. Yet he sees none of it, only his failure to be the Knight of his dreams.  

The sad point of this story: Not everyone is born to be a dragon slayer, and it’s a shame this man must suffer because no one cared enough to tell him the truth.  This prince will probably die the first moment he faces a dragon, trying to live up to unrealistic expectations, but it will be the world that loses the most – it will lose a gentle, caring heart. We need both dragon slayers and missionaries (conservatives & liberals, soldiers & doctors, gatherers & givers). One is not more important than the other (though both often believe they are), but we need them to be what they were meant to be, or its all vanity.

Examine yourself. Know your strengths.  Most of all – don’t wait on someone else to tell you the truth – discover it on your own. Look around and behind you – what impact have you made? What kind of path have you left in your wake?  More than likely, no one has the guts to tell you the truth, anyway. And, if you’re self-deceived (which is very possible), you’re blind to the truth. Don’t waste your life – live it.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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