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    Opportunity: Fan Into Flame Your Gift

    I think 2 Timothy 1:6 sums up best the reason to hope:

    “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you.”

    I suggest that you memorize these words of hope and confidence, and then consider them as the theme for this chapter. Being confident means you feel good about what is true about yourself. That’s why the apostle Paul used the words “fan into flame the gift of God.”

    Timothy’s gift was already there. It didn’t have to be fabricated. It’s just that Timothy had not yet recognized what lay deep beneath his surface. Paul knew what he was talking about when he penned these words of confidence to his son in the faith. He recognized Timothy was inexperienced, timid, and afraid that he often felt incapable of carrying out his ministry because of his youth. But Paul knew Timothy. He was confident that beneath the self-doubt there was the faithful heartbeat of one of God’s chosen servants who would be used to make his Lord known.

    Hundreds of years later Paul’s words still have the power to bring hope to our hearts — if we will allow them to do their good work in our lives.

    What gift has God given you that is waiting to emerge? Are you willing to take some small risks to discover the much greater, hidden treasures still buried deep within you? What will it take for you to develop the inner confidence to help you make your fondest dreams come true? Are you wiling to take some risks to propel you beyond the ordinary to do some truly amazing things with your life?

    In his bestselling book, Empires of the Mind, Denis Waitley puts the issue of taking risks into perspective with a poem that, unfortunately, could be the epitaph for much of humanity:

    There was a very cautious man who never laughed or cried.

    He never risked, he never lost, he never won nor tried.

    And when one day he passed away his insurance was denied,

    for since he never really lived, they claimed he never died.

    Waitley continues:

    Missed opportunities are the curse of potential. Just after the Great Depression, Americans, perhaps understandably at the time, took many steps intended to minimize risk. The government guaranteed much of our savings. Citizens bought billions of dollars worth of insurance. We sought lifetime employment and our unions fought for guaranteed annual cost-of-living increases to protect us from inflation. This security-blanket mentality has continued to recent decades as executives awarded themselves giant golden parachutes in case a merger or takeover took their plum jobs.

    These measures had many benefits, but the drawbacks have also been heavy, even if less obvious. In our eagerness to avoid risk, we forget its positive aspects. Many of us continue to overlook the fact that progress comes only when chances are taken. And the security we sought and continue to seek often produces boredom, mediocrity, apathy, and reduced opportunity.

    We dare not wait for great strength before setting out to do our work, for to delay will weaken us further. Neither should we strain to see the end of the road before embarking on our journey, for every moment’s hesitation eats at our confidence and erodes our courage. However, when we take our first tentative steps toward a worthy goal, rather than depleting our strength, we discover our power has increased manyfold and we see more clearly what our next task must be. This is because God’s reward for a job well done is often a bigger job to do.

    SOURCE: Chapter 8 “The Joy of Confident Living” in How to De-Stress Your Life by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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