“Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine”. 1 Samuel 17:40
I have been recently faced with the challenge of self doubt and second guessing the path I’ve been travelling on. Thoughts of “Can I do it?” “Is this really for me?” and the most frequent one” I can’t manage!” comes up whenever a challenge that seems overwhelming presents itself. This morning, as I lay in bed, these words floated into my consciousness: You have what you need – go slay your giant!
Like David in the bible, we have all that we need. Some of us are aware of them but varied circumstances has caused us not to acknowledge them or has removed the reminder of these presents from our thoughts. Some of us know, but all the internal arguments we have with ourselves cause us to delay. The negative self-talk holds us captive. Perhaps as giants tend to do, we are intimidated by the enormity of the journey, and are afraid of making a move that will commit us to working harder and reaching deep inside for what we know is there. For we do know, once successful, the expectations of others and ourselves now forces us to work harder to maintain that success. And that is no easy task.
David, in stepping forth to slay his giant, has presented us with a template from which to work.
This one is for you
This path is tailor made for you. The fact is, just as there are no two humans that are exactly the same, no matter how similar the characteristics and capabilities. Like our DNA, we have a unique set of skills, interpretation and internalization of life experiences, that makes our point of view distinct and different. This causes each of us to have a particular set of gifts to offer the world, our world. Our family, our community, our business and even our job needs what we have to offer. You (or I) are the only person who can do it the way in which it needs to be done.
Many are called, few are chosen
When David entered the camp, many experienced soldiers were waiting there and could have mounted a good defence against the Philistine. However, they lacked something essential : anointment and appointment. This simply means that though many may have similar skills, they have not been gifted with that special, remarkable expression of the talent, for that particular time. It was not their battle to fight. In the same way, often we have been given a remarkable idea or gift that can impact the world and while others may think of it, they will never have the same effect as you. Notice when David stepped onto the battle field, he changed the game. You too are a game changer. But you have to be courageous.
There was dissent all around him, but David remained focussed and resolute: He knew what he had to do and though persons questioned his ability, he was never in doubt of what he could do. He reached deep inside, answered his nay-sayers, took up his tools and stepped forward to do battle. The only thing I would do differently is in answering the nay-sayers. I would ignore them, as I see that as a distraction, as time wasting when one needs to focus on the battle ahead. When you are preparing for battle, you really need no distractions. Oftentimes, it means life or death for the idea that you have. When you give ear to those around you, sometimes it ends up becoming so overwhelming, that it introduces doubt and causes you to give up.
Recall your past experiences
Perhaps the negative talk from the others can have a positive effect. The doubt expressed by those around him caused David to recall all the other occasions on which he exhibited the ability to handle battles. He had experiences that allowed him to hone his talent and prepare him for the journey ahead. You too have been preparing all your life for this leg of the journey! How about taking the time out to recall what you did in the past, even if the results were not favourable. Failures provide us with a platform from which to grow. Once the lesson has been learned, we certainly will not make the same mistakes again!
You are equipped to conquer
Others may try to fit you with what they have but it won’t work. You already know that you have what is needed to get you to the next level. What they have won’t fit – it wasn’t made for you and so you won’t be able to work with it. Saul tried to give David his armour, but David knew that it would be too heavy for him to carry. Others may try to heap their responsibility and vision onto you, but what is theirs is theirs and what is yours, yours. You can’t carry what was not made for you. Most of us shop at stores that offer clothing that is mass produced, trying to fit the most bodies into an average range of sizes. It may fit, but were they tailor made, you’d present a better image. Gifts, just like clothing, are tailor made for each person. Everyone’s offering to the universe is unique and is not a one size fits all.
Have you ever tried to imitate someone or tried to re-invent something that already exists? Difficult, isn’t it? You can only do so much and it doesn’t have the same impact that the original does. Exactly. You are an original and what you have to offer may be imitated but its impact cannot be duplicated.
You have your stones- go do what you have been called to. Slay your giant!