Find it in The Best Me I Can Be through a highly insightful personal assessment tool that will tell you which of the eight keys God has placed deep within you to unlock your true character and reveal who you were born to become.
In this rich and encouraging book, Wintley Phipps—pastor, recording artist, and founder of the U.S. Dream Academy supported by Oprah Winfrey—shares what he has learned (sometimes the hard way) about what it takes to become “the best me I can be.” Join him as he leads you on a path to change your focus from what you have and do to who you are. Start today on the path to a truly great life, and step into your God-given destiny. (Includes a FREE online assessment tool to reveal your personal strengths and areas for growth.) Tyndale House Publishers
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Your Best Destiny
Becoming the Person You Were Created to Be
By Wintley Phipps, James Lund, Karin Stock Buursma
Tyndale House PublishersCopyright © 2015 Wintley Phipps
All rights reserved.
DISCOVERING YOUR BEST DESTINY
How to Uncover God's Best Life for You
Every person's life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers.
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
On a four-lane highway, a traffic light changed from red to green. Like an eager racehorse bursting from the gate, a sleek red Chevrolet surged forward. One by one, the other vehicles on the road fell behind. Only a silver Lincoln presented any challenge to the speeding red streak that turned night into day with its powerful headlights. Soon the Lincoln faded into the background as well.
The Chevrolet ate up the miles as the motor throbbed and the driver's hands tightened on the steering wheel. A triumphant smile curved his lips. His dark eyes gleamed with delight. There wasn't an auto on the highway that could keep up with his. There also wasn't a better driver, not in the whole United States.
A warning sign signaled a bend in the road. The driver braked, his body leaning right as the huge car banked around the steep bend. A glance in the rearview mirror showed a pair of headlights gaining on him. The driver's eyes narrowed. His foot pressed harder on the gas pedal. The driver watched his speeding car's quivering needle climb to eighty ... ninety ... one hundred miles per hour. He would push his mechanical monster as fast and far as it could go. No one would catch him. The driver released a low, exultant chuckle. This was living.
Suddenly a voice cut through the sound of the roaring engine and the driver's sense of satisfaction.
"Wintley? You come on in now. Time for supper."
The vision of the daring driver and the powerful Chevrolet vanished faster than a speeding race car at the Indianapolis 500. In the vision's place sat its creator — an imaginative, curly-haired five-year-old gripping a red tricycle.
That young "speed demon" was me.
I have always been a dreamer. As a boy growing up on the island of Trinidad, I often turned my dented and rusted red tricycle into a magic carpet. I flipped the trike on its side, gripped a back tire as if it were a steering wheel, and imagined myself controlling a fancy car or powerful transport truck. At other times I pictured myself wearing a leather helmet, gloves, and thick-lensed goggles as I peered at the instrument panel and directed my open-cockpit plane up, up into an azure sky.
Today, I live a short drive from Orlando, Florida — the home of Disney World, a place that cultivates and embellishes youthful dreams. Whether it's returning to a land of magic kingdoms and fairy tales or of pirates and space rangers, we enjoy revisiting the fantasies of our youth.
Can you remember your childhood dreams? Did you imagine yourself as a soldier, sailor, cowboy, fireman, or policeman? Were you a princess, pilot, dancer, or animal trainer? Do you ever think about those dreams today?
Some people dismiss childhood hopes and dreams as silly delusions, unrealistic whims that are best buried and forgotten. I would argue, however, that they are more than just animated flights of fancy. They signal our beginning awareness of an amazing potential future that stretches beyond what we can now see or hear.
They are our first yearnings for our God-given destiny.
Something about those words should stir a shiver of excitement inside us. They connect us to long-lost visions, to the belief that a significant future awaits us.
Our dreams tend to mature and change as we grow older. We learn more about ourselves and our gifts. If we're fortunate, we develop our abilities and passions and discover new possibilities. Dreams give us the inspiration to keep pursuing our best selves.
A man once uttered these words at a speech contest in Atlanta:
We cannot have an enlightened democracy with one great group living in ignorance. We cannot have a healthy nation with one-tenth of the people ill-nourished, sick, harboring germs of disease which recognize no color lines — obey no Jim Crow laws. We cannot have a nation orderly and sound with one group so ground down and thwarted that it is almost forced into unsocial attitudes and crime. We cannot be truly Christian people so long as we flout the central teachings of Jesus: brotherly love and the Golden Rule. We cannot come to full prosperity with one great group so ill-delayed that it cannot buy goods. So as we gird ourselves to defend democracy from foreign attack, let us see to it that increasingly at home we give fair play and free opportunity for all people.
The speaker won the contest. You may recognize the eloquence, the passion, and the cause for which the speaker fought. You may also know his name: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What you may not know, however, is that, at the time of this speech, he wasn't yet Dr. King. He was a teenager, fifteen years old. Even at that young age, he was hearing the call toward his destiny. He was already moving into God's best life for him.
Maybe you know folks who have always understood what they were supposed to do with their lives. The door to their ideal future opened at just the right time and they sauntered on through. For the rare few, the road to fulfilling their hopes is marked by brightly lit traffic signs with giant letters: "NEXT EXIT: YOUR DESTINY."
For most of us, however, that's not how it works.
If you're anything like me, you've struggled to find your place and purpose in life. You have gone to school, studied books, observed the lives of others, sought wise counsel, and gained practical experience. More than once, you have embarked on a promising trail only to reach a dead end. You've searched and strained, yet God's best life for you has proven elusive.
How do you know? Because you sense it in your soul. You go through each day feeling unfulfilled. Deep down, you're sure you have untapped potential. You live with a nagging impression that you were made for more than this. And when that frustration persists over time, month after month and year after year, it infects your work, your relationships, and your faith. You begin to grow fatigued. Disheartened. Cynical.
I understand the feeling because I've known it myself.
Is This All There Is?
When I was ten, my family and I moved from our tropical home on the small island of Trinidad to the frigid big city: Montreal in Quebec, Canada. The dramatic change in environment opened my eyes to the world. I discovered that I had a talent for singing, and I saw myself flying around the globe, performing in front of thousands of adoring fans. That, I was sure, would be God's best life for me.
I found a crack in my picture of the best life, however, on the day I posed as a reporter and sneaked into the Montreal Forum. It was 1970, I was fifteen years old, and I was prepared to do just about anything to see Sly and the Family Stone perform. (Yes, I am that old, and yes, I had a lot of nerve back then.) At the time, Sylvester Stewart, better known as Sly Stone, was at the top of the music scene. He was a pioneer of funk and soul music. He'd appeared the summer before at the legendary Woodstock festival, and his band's latest single, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)," was number one on the charts. Sly was one of my idols — that is, until the night of the concert.
Before the show, I was backstage with two cameras around my neck, doing my best impression of a newsman who actually belonged there. I was listening to the crowd chant "Sly-y ... Sly-y ..." when a limousine pulled up. My jaw dropped when Sly's handlers lifted out a frail, disoriented heap of a man and almost carried him into his dressing room. From there, they hustled the rock star into a shower stall and turned the water on him. Within seconds he was drenched and screaming as if possessed.
I was stunned. This was a rock star? This was my hero? Later I read about Sly's drug issues and conflicts with other members of the band. He was not a happy man.
I'd always assumed that money, influence, and adulation ensured a successful life. Now I wasn't so certain.
Have you had the same thought — that true greatness lies in acquiring wealth, power, fame, or the adoration of others? Most of us believe this at some level, even if it's subconscious. Whether or not we realize it, we shape our thinking, behavior, and careers by this belief. We say to ourselves, "When I earn that manager's job and the salary that goes with it, then I'll have it made," or, "If more people at my office, in my neighborhood, or at my church knew me and recognized my abilities, then I'd be happy with my life." So we keep pushing ourselves for that promotion and keep trying to amaze people who pay us little attention.
I've noticed something, though, about those of us who behave this way. Even if we eventually achieve our goal of riches or renown, we often find that it leaves us disappointed and disoriented, dissatisfied with our place in the world.
John D. Rockefeller founded Standard Oil Company and became the wealthiest man in the world. "I have made many millions," he said, "but they have brought me no happiness." Henry Ford, founder and president of Ford Motor Company, once said, "I was happier when doing a mechanic's job."
"The rich are never happy, no matter what they have," explains author Robert Frank. "There was this man who owned a 100-foot yacht. I said: 'This is a terrific boat.' He said: 'Look down the harbor.' We looked down the marina, and there were boats two and three times as large. He said, 'My 100-foot yacht today is like a dinghy compared to these other boats.'"
Psychoanalyst Manfred Kets de Vries explains the problem this way: "For the super-rich, houses, yachts, cars, and planes are like new toys that they play with for five minutes and then lose interest in. Pretty soon, to attain the same buzz they have to spend more money. All the spending is a mad attempt to cover up boredom and depression."
Boredom and depression — hardly hallmarks of a successful life. Contrary to popular belief, money does not buy happiness; neither does power, popularity, or adoration. Maybe you've heard of an old country song, "Lookin' for Love (in All the Wrong Places)"? That is what so many of us do — look for God's best life for us in all the wrong ways and all the wrong places.
Our twisted definitions of success can be even more destructive when applied to our view of God.
Think about this. If you have any kind of faith in a God who is responsible for your existence — and if you believe in your heart (whether you admit it or not) that He has created you for the purpose of amassing fortune, influence, fame, and the adulation of others — then what kind of God is He? What does that mean for your faith? How is that external, achievement-centered spirituality going to express itself in your life?
I'll tell you. You will become more and more disappointed in God if He doesn't give you what you think you deserve. Your increased cynicism may lead you to fall away from faith altogether, thinking that it's not worth it if it doesn't benefit you in tangible ways. Or if you remain part of a church, you may find yourself detached, singing the same songs and praying the same prayers and feeling bored by the routine. You may try to lead others to your faith just to add another notch in your evangelistic belt, or you may attend a church that's more concerned with adding members than with teaching what you need to know. You may read your Bible and other Christian books and follow their rules, yet feel disconnected from God. You may have learned to pretend, to tell people who ask that "everything is fine," when in fact your faith is in crisis.
You will ask yourself, Is this God's best life for me? Is this all there is?
The answer to both questions is no. There is more. But to discover it, you may have to dramatically adjust your thinking.
Is God Trying to Tell You Something?
My thinking was anything but clear after my Montreal encounter with Sly Stone. I was confused. Yet I remained convinced that my future was in show business. I still had big dreams for myself. I was ready to advance my singing career any way I could. When a man approached me about the idea of performing at a Montreal nightclub, the Penthouse Two, I jumped at the chance. Soon a friend and I were headlining there.
It was during this time that I almost destroyed my dreams. I'd seen one of the stars of rock and roll, Little Richard, put on an incredible performance at a concert in Montreal. I decided I needed to sound more like him, so I did my own screaming rendition of two of his songs at a school talent show. The crowd loved it, but when I woke up the next morning I could barely speak, let alone sing. A doctor said I'd damaged my throat and voice box. There was no guarantee I would recover. Fortunately, after I didn't speak for a week, my singing ability returned — but my screaming days were over.
Sometimes it takes a near disaster for God to get our attention. That was certainly the case for me. It dawned on me after the screaming episode that God might be trying to tell me something.
When I was very young, my father wasn't active in any church. My mother, however, was serious about her Christian faith, and she passed that on to her sons. As far back as I can remember, she took my younger brother, Wendell, and me to church every week.
I'd always believed in God. He'd always been part of my life. I understood, at least to some degree, that He loved me and had created everything in the universe, including me.
I allowed God and His wisdom to guide me — most of the time. But I hadn't surrendered to Him completely. I hadn't yet embraced the biblical idea that "everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him." I wasn't ready to trust my future to Him. I was still firmly in charge of my life.
Maybe you can relate. Perhaps you believe in God and His power over your world. Perhaps you have faith that He loves you. But maybe you're also holding something back. Maybe you, too, have your own plan for achieving your best destiny, and you aren't sure if God is on the same page.
God's plans were increasingly on my mind after my failed attempt at becoming the next Little Richard. I wondered whether God was speaking to me. I'd been given a glimpse of the dark side of fame and been discouraged from adopting a rock-and-roll style. Was this more than coincidence? Maybe show business — at least the kind I was pursuing — wasn't the path to God's best life for me. I decided to give up my nightclub dreams and promised God that from then on I would sing only songs that helped people spiritually.
Is God trying to tell you something? Has He closed doors or discouraged you from a path you desperately want to follow? Is that what led you to this book? Are you sensing that His picture of success is different from yours?
What I needed to realize back then, and what God may be telling you now, is that His view of things — including success — is not at all like ours. In fact, it may be the opposite. The Bible says, "You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart. The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned."
We like to "look good" — but appearances can deceive, can't they? A sports car for sale may shine from a fresh wash, but under the hood, its engine needs a complete overhaul. A house may present a beautiful yard and exterior, but inside its walls, termites are on the attack. An apple may look tasty on the outside yet be tainted on the inside.
Does this matter to us? Of course! No one wants a car ready to break down, a home infested with bugs, or a rotten apple. Yet when it comes to people, our attitude often seems to indicate the opposite. We act as if what's inside isn't important. We cheer for the superstar athlete and ignore his extramarital affairs. We fawn over the movie actress who regularly makes outrageous and untrue statements about others. We try to win the support of the business owner who won his or her wealth through shady deals.
Excerpted from Your Best Destiny by Wintley Phipps, James Lund, Karin Stock Buursma. Copyright © 2015 Wintley Phipps. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
1. Discovering Your Best Destiny, 1,
2. You Are a Masterpiece, 13,
3. The Power of Belief, 29,
4. The Beauty of Virtue, 51,
5. The Joy of Wisdom, 75,
6. The Strength of Self-Control, 93,
7. The Promise of Perseverance, 111,
8. The Glory of Sacredness, 129,
9. The Practice of Kindness, 149,
10. The Splendor of Love, 167,
11. A Prescription for Transformation, 189,
12. Your Supreme Destiny, 209,
Appendix: Your Best Destiny — A Practical Assessment Tool, 219,
About the Authors, 259,
About the Assessment, 261,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Using the writings of Saint Peter as a basis, Wintley Phipps has written an excellent book on how we can become the people that God created us to be. He frequently refers to being the best you can be. It is very clear as he writes that he is not talking about simply being better people. The book is written to help Christians become all that God intended. The thing I found interesting is that I recall a sermon series I heard in a weekend revival over 30 years ago based on the same verses. Since I have forgotten any specifics of what the evangelist said back then, it was great to read again about the need to develop these traits in our lives and how to apply them daily. I particularly appreciated the thought-provoking questions and the brief prayer at the end of each chapter. Although I have not yet taken the time to follow through with the Your Best Destiny Personal Assessment Tool, I read the questions in the Appendix that are taken from the assessment. They caused me to think in more depth about what I had read in the book. I recommend this to all believers who are interested in fulfilling their destiny and to non-believers who are ready to start their Christian walk. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.