Have you ever eaten at a Chinese restaurant and opened a fortune cookie that you wish you hadn’t?
When I was in college in 1992, I was enjoying my regular lunch date with friends at a Chinese restaurant in New Orleans East. At the time, I had been showing up to school only to skip whatever classes I had that day, opting to socialize and binge on egg rolls instead. My education (among many other things I should have held as a high priority in my life), was the last thing I was concerned about. In a nutshell, I was going to school to eat my lunch. On this particular day, however, I was forced to face my decision to wallow in slack when I cracked open my fortune cookie and found a “fortune” that hit entirely too close to home.
You will never apply yourself enough to realize your full potential.
Wow. Some “fortune”, huh? A year prior, I might have ignored it and never given it another thought. But at this point in my life, the burden of making poor decisions was beginning to weigh heavily on me, so like it or not – this otherwise meaningless piece of paper that had been shoved inside of a stale cookie took root in my heart.
It’s been years since that day, but for some reason, I still think about it often. Every time I have been up against a seemingly insurmountable task, I would feel like I wasn’t good enough to accomplish it. I would start a project or a new hobby and in the back of my mind felt like at some point I would give up. For a while, I fulfilled this prophecy on a piece of paper that no one knew about but me. It was a lie I should have rebuked. It wasn’t until I found my niche that I was finally able to move past this mental stumbling block, and it took more than just merely applying myself. When I finally surrendered to God’s design for my life, I became confident in my abilities and in the path that He had chosen for me.
Lies can manifest from a variety of sources, such as friends, co-workers, parents, or even your own damaged self-worth. On that day, it was a fortune cookie, but I still battle the “you’re-not-good-enough’s”. Even reading page view stats for this blog can be discouraging on slow days. I begin to wonder if our message is reaching people, or if anyone even cares. Then, someone will leave a comment telling me that one of my posts spoke to them and now they’re ready to start turning their marriage around. Instead of giving into fear and doubt planted by people who could not care less about you, choose to believe a promise from your Creator: