When God provides us with opportunities, we have to take that first STEP:
• Seize the opportunity.
• Take action by faith.
• Encourage ourselves in the Lord.
• Prayerfully follow God's lead.
We cannot be intimidated by our circumstances. We must hold our heads up and keep our shoulders high. We must position ourselves to unleash our potential without losing focus, with the understanding that nothing good comes easy. It takes time and effort, but your dream is attainable.
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Read an Excerpt
Unleash Your Potential
Put Any Foot Forward
By Darlington I. I. Ndubuike
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2014 Dr. Darlington I. I. Ndubuike
All rights reserved.
Stir Up the Gift in You
Almost everyone I know who has reached some level of success also has a story of obstacles and even failure. Success, therefore, is not attained by a sudden flight. It is by falling and rising again that one attains real success. Success eludes us only when we fall and refuse to rise. Failure and obstacles must come, but the gifts in us must motivate us to arise and put any foot forward. We know from the Scriptures that a man's gift makes way for him (Proverbs 18:16), and we are encouraged to stir up the gifts in us (2 Timothy 1:6).
We have all received gifts at one point or another in our lives. In our world today, many opportunities arise throughout the year for gift-giving. In February, we have Valentine's Day. In May, we celebrate Mother's Day. In June, Father's Day comes around, then Thanksgiving in November and Christmas in December. These are in addition to birthdays and anniversaries and other special occasions.
Gifts are given to be used. Unless we use our gifts, they have no practical value. Perishable gifts, if not used, decay and rot away. Other types of gifts, if not used, just sit and collect dust. Sometimes we think that gifts are too good to be used, and we "preserve" them. We rent a storage space and put them away in there, and we end up paying more for the storage space than the gift itself is worth. We tend to forget that the giver expects the recipient to use the gift. Sometimes we return our gifts to the store for refunds, exchanges, or alterations, depending on the type of gift. Some of us practice regifting: rewrapping our gift and giving it to someone else.
I was reading John Ortberg's story about how his grandmother stowed away precious chinaware that had been given to her, waiting for a special occasion when she would use it. That special occasion never came, and she died. That precious gift stayed wrapped up carefully, packed in a box and stowed in the attic.
At one point or another in our lives, we all have been given gifts that we have put away for a special occasion, an occasion that may never take place.
One Father's Day, my daughter gave me the gift of a tie. Considering that she was in college then and wasn't making any money, I cherished that tie even more. I kept the tie in my closet, waiting for a special occasion to wear it. I didn't know what special occasion I was waiting for. I didn't have any event in mind. That "special occasion" didn't come around, and that tie hung in my closet for a long time with the tag still on it.
What I didn't realize was that my daughter was waiting to see me wear that tie. It was a special gift from daughter to Daddy, and I should have known that.
One Sunday, I dressed up and put on that tie. When my daughter saw me, the very first thing she said was, "About time, Daddy!" She didn't think I cherished the tie or appreciated the gift. She had every right to believe so. There was no way for her to know how I felt unless I showed it by wearing the tie. Instead, I had buried the gift. I felt so bad!
I received many compliments about that tie all day at church. Even when we stopped to eat at a restaurant, compliments poured like rain. My daughter beamed with satisfaction. She wasn't just happy that I wore the tie and received compliments; she was also proud that she made the right choice of gift for her dad.
There was no way I could have known that the tie was so great if I hadn't worn it. My daughter's facial expression was priceless, and that feeling wouldn't have come alive if I hadn't worn the tie. The tie had such potential, and that potential wouldn't have manifested if it hadn't been unleashed by my action. Not to mention that I got some more ties after that!
I don't know what other gifts I have buried, knowingly or unknowingly. Gifts are given, not only to be appreciated, but to be put to good use. Again, the giver of the gift expects the recipient to use the gift. There may be countless gifts collecting dust today, buried in the closet or in the attic or under the bed or in the garage, and unless those gifts are brought out and put to use, they will just sit there and rust.
Everyone given a gift must account for the gift. On the day that I wore the tie my daughter gave me, part of her reaction was, "Daddy, I was about to ask you what you did with the tie I gave you for Father's Day, because I haven't seen you wear it." That hurts, doesn't it? A gift is given not just to benefit you, but also to benefit others.
Our God, the Master Gift Giver, gives gifts that are tailored to perfection. Every one of us has received unique gifts from the Master, and these gifts are not transferable, alterable, or exchangeable. Either you use your gift or you forfeit it entirely. Our gifts should create avenues for us. Such gifts should make the recipient rich and should come with no sorrow.
Jesus demonstrates this concept in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14–30). You know the story. Jesus told of a certain man who gave his three servants talents before he traveled. To one servant, he gave five talents; to the second, he gave two talents; and to the third, he gave one talent.
I want you to know right away that the issue is not about the number of talents given. The Master knows each person's ability, and He would not give anyone something he could not handle. Recall in verse 15 it says, "To every man according to his ability." Therefore, the Gift Giver knows our individual abilities, and He gives based on our capability. It doesn't matter how many talents you have received; what counts is what you do with what you have received.
Notice the response of the master as each servant came to account for the gift he had received. The master said to the servant who received five talents, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (verse 21). Then the second servant came and gave account of his stewardship, and the master said the same thing to him verbatim: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (verse 23).
Both servants received the same reward regardless of the number of talents they had been given. Hence, it is not about whether you are a five-talent person or a two-talent person; the rewards are the same. To those who did something with what they had been given, more was given. They were promoted, elevated. The master said to them, "Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your master" (verses 21 and 23).
So you see, when you unleash your potential, when you put a foot forward, any foot, you will find that more avenues will open. Better opportunities will come your way. All you have to do is make a move. Put any foot forward. Take that step!
After completing my undergraduate degree, I began teaching at an elementary school. I had been told that I would not get a job as a teacher in the United States of America because of my accent. I knew teaching was my passion, and I was devastated to hear from my friends that I would not be able to teach. I made a decision to put my foot forward. I applied to teach at an inner-city elementary school, and I got the job. Other doors opened—better doors.
On the other hand, those whose gifts are dormant and unutilized live lives of stagnation, dejection, and emptiness. There is nothing as painful as a buried talent. The tragedy of it all is that the talent you had, if not put in use, will be taken from you and given to someone who is making use of his talent. The third servant was harshly rebuked for failure to unleash his potential, for failure to put a foot forward. He didn't even try. Nothing was mentioned in the rebuke about the number of talents he had been given, but a lot was said about lack of use. The issue was about potential not unleashed, the refusal to put a foot forward—any foot! The third servant had many excuses. Unfortunately excuses will not exonerate us when we fail to act.
When I was considering writing this book, I battled with many thoughts: Am I qualified to write on this topic? Will I have time to complete it? Will it turn out the way I envision it? I thought about the many would-be obstacles: workload, church activities, family concerns, community obligations, and on and on. I made the decision to put my foot forward. I did, and the rest is history.
If I hadn't started, I wouldn't have experienced the thrill of completion. You wouldn't be reading this book right now. I would have ended up burying my gift and would have risked standing face-to-face with the Father of all gifts to account for the buried talent.
Have you heard someone tell you that you have the potential to become a great leader, attorney, teacher, doctor, preacher, or any other "gifted" role? Potential is just what it is—potential. If nothing is done about it, it is dead. There are many potentials walking around today in disuse. Some are interred in the grave because no one unleashed them. Potential is like faith: without works (that is, if not unleashed), faith is dead!
I have seen many inmates who never knew they had talents until they went to jail. They discovered that they had buried the most precious gifts of their lives all these years. Some had artistic talents and produced the most beautiful artworks ever imagined. Some discovered that they had great voices and produced the most beautiful music ever heard. I have always wondered what their situations might have been if they had taken the time to discover these wonderful gifts while they were free.
A family friend graduated from nursing school and became licensed as a registered nurse. She could have settled for working in a hospital setting, where she would be guaranteed regular paychecks. At least she would make enough to pay her mortgage, car note, and other bills.
But she knew there was a gift she needed to stir up. Going back to get her certification as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) would come with a price. She would lose the opportunity to make money during her period of additional study, running the risks of not taking "good" care of her family and perhaps of losing some inherent benefits. The FNP program was not an easy choice, but she decided to accept the challenge and put a foot forward. She took the risk, knowing that she might face a storm along the way.
Guess what? She completed the FNP program. Again, she could have settled for the "big pay" of working in the hospital or in a doctor's office. But again, she decided to put a foot forward. She opened her own clinic. She knew there would be a storm. Where would the patients come from? Where would the money come from? How about the hassle of setting up a clinic? She faced all of these questions and more. But she decided to unleash her potential. She was ready to face the storm. And she did. She opened her own pediatric clinic.
Then recently, someone moved out of an office space adjacent to hers. She saw it as an opportunity to grow—perhaps the chance of a lifetime to open her gift. She had a beautiful home. She had beautiful children. She had a wonderful husband. She didn't need to "stress" herself any further.
She must have inquired of the Lord, "Shall I go forth?"
She must have heard a voice that said, "Go forth!"
Then she must have asked, "Jesus, is it you?"
Jesus would have said to her, "It is I. Do not be afraid!"
She must have said, "Lord, if it is you, command me to unleash my potential."
Jesus would have said to her, "Unleash! I have given you that gift; open it!"
My friend was terrified. She saw the storm wind coming again.
How would she pay for this extra space? Where would she get the patients to sustain the larger practice? What if?
Again, she ignored the storm and put a foot forward. Expansion of the office space was completed. She moved in. She realized that this was the opportunity of a lifetime. She had minimized the gap between what shall be and what might have been—you know, the regret factor at the end of life!
You don't have to see all the benefits before you put a foot forward. There may have been eleven other RNs and FNPs who refused to take the risk of putting a foot forward.
What about you? Do you have a gift you have not yet discovered? Not everyone can be a doctor or lawyer or engineer or teacher. There is a different special gift for each of us. I have a friend named Ricky who is a handyman. He did not go to school for it. He has not received a degree in structural engineering or architectural design. But he is the most brilliant handyman I have ever met. There is nothing he cannot fix in your home. There is nothing he cannot build. I bet that when he started his business, people mocked him. "How can he have earned a degree, yet ended up fixing drains and toilets?" But look at him now!
I am a five-talent kind of guy. I am in continuous prayer every day, asking God to help me unleash those talents. I have to put my foot forward at any opportunity I get to do so. I can't sit there and allow fear to cripple me; if I did, it would be as if I were sitting by the pool of Bethesda and watching others jump into the water to make their lives better. I would have to give an account of what I had done with the gifts God gave me.
Do you have gifts that you know you have not used? Is there a burning passion you know you have not explored, perhaps due to fear or doubt or skepticism or trepidation or past failures? Recall that Peter spent a whole day casting his net into the lake and caught nothing. But when Jesus came, He asked Peter to cast his net again into the same lake. Peter did, and he achieved success.
You might have tried previously and failed. You might have been criticized, booed, and ridiculed. I dare you to put a foot forward today. I dare you to unleash your potential today. Don't let it linger. Take that step.CHAPTER 2
DARE to Unleash Your Potential
Whatever you have chosen to do, do it well. You know that you have a job to do. You are determined to do it and to do it to the best of your ability. You are dedicated and committed. You have set your mind to accomplish a goal. Your passion for your chosen career must be the drive to that end.
Don't go to school merely because others are going. Don't go because you want to please your parents, your spouse, or your family. Go because you want to go.
You will never discover your gift until you put a foot forward. There are many who don't have the opportunity to be where you are or to do what you are doing. They are fervently praying for opportunity to arise. It does not matter where you are at this point. What matters is your willingness to put a foot forward.
I watched as the season 12 American Idol winner, Candice Glover, took her crown on television. Her road to fame was rough, bumpy, and rugged, with several detours, but she was determined to let that little light of hers shine, and shine it did. She was on the audition stage for three years, and she faced rejections, but she was determined to unleash her potential. All she did was cast her net again in the same lake. She put a foot forward, and then she was walking on water. It was her determination to use her gift that propelled her to great heights.
Again, she did not get there by a sudden flight. What if she had bailed out after the first rejection or the second? Then she would have buried her precious gift. I wonder how many contestants left in anger or frustration or simple dejection and refused to try again. They knew they had the gift; what they lacked was the determination to persevere.
There was a woman with an issue of blood (Matthew 9:20–22). We can imagine her as a lady, perhaps frail. She wanted badly to unleash her potential. She wanted badly to have a better life. She knew that where she was was not where she was supposed to be. She desperately wanted to touch Jesus. It was the opportunity of a lifetime for her, and she wouldn't have missed it for anything in the world. She put a foot forward toward Jesus. With determination, she pushed through the crowd, stretching her hand as far as she could. She must have been knocked down many times. She must have been gasping for breath, but she held on. She could have given up when she was knocked down, perhaps more than once, perhaps more than twice.
Excerpted from Unleash Your Potential by Darlington I. I. Ndubuike. Copyright © 2014 Dr. Darlington I. I. Ndubuike. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Stir Up the Gift in You, 1,
2. DARE to Unleash Your Potential, 8,
3. You Must Stand to Unleash, 18,
4. You Must Take Off Your Shoes to Unleash, 29,
5. You Must PUSH to Unleash, 34,
6. You Must STEP to Unleash, 44,
7. You Need CASH to Unleash, 57,
8. You Must Connect to Unleash, 68,
9. Your Gift Is in Your BACKPACK, 73,
10. Put Any Fruit Forward, 81,
11. Unlock that PADLOCK to Unleash, 86,
12. It Takes a Process, 100,
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