Belief–Principle 1

“They can conquer who believe they can.”

Virgil

I will probably spend more than one day on this subject for its thrust is massive, and I am gripped by the far-reaching tentacles of such understanding.

Principle 1

We must believe in ourselves if we are to succeed.

It is almost incomprehensible to imagine success for a person who does not believe in himself. Latent talent shrivels, inherent gifts fail to mature, and strategic ideas birthed in a brilliant mind find no nurturing soil, and thus fail to mature. The person who does not believe in himself will likely spend his days among shattered, ill-laid plans, wrecked relationships, and ultimate failure.There are exceptions, but typically whether or not a person believes in himself springs from an inner mirror that is reflected from those around him–his parents, his teachers, his minister, his neighbors. How the world perceives him, how they mirror it back, how they speak to him, of what goals and talents they converse–determine to a large extent the image that person grasps.
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The mantle, then, rests on you and me. We each are charged to touch our friends, our students, our family–especially our children–and to mirror our positive thoughts and aspirations for them. For it is only when man believes in himself that his finest work will be done. It is a powerful force we possess–that of helping another believe in himself.
I’m not sure where I read her story, but I want to bring part of it to you today. She was identified only as a 13-year-old student, and she tells of a very difficult time in her life…when she had totally lost hope. Thirteen years old, mind you…and she had lost all hope. She was lonely…and desolate. She told of being at school on the playground…and of being alone. She walked round and round the playground equipment, speaking to no one.
Finally she entered the classroom, watched as the teacher checked the role, and then says:
Sometime during the lesson, I began looking up from my books at the faces around me, and as I did so memories kept flooding back to me. Suddenly I felt hot tears build behind my eyes, and soon felt them falling on my face. I quickly lifted my textbook to cover my face. By this time tears were flowing freely down my face and burning my cheeks silently. I thought to myself, “Look at them! Not one of them cares that I’m here, NOT ONE!”
A sob escaped my throat, “Oh well, today will be the last day I’ll have to put up with this because tonight, tonight I am finally gonna do it! Tonight I am finally going to die……”
Yes, it’s true! That night I was going to commit suicide yet again. That’s right, again. I had tried many times before but I always woke up, threw up or passed out before I died. It was as though something wouldn’t let me die, as though I was meant to live for something.
The class was dismissed for recess, most of the students left the room, but the 13 year-old stayed at her desk–drawing, sketching, deliberating.
I never heard him approach me until he was practically standing on top of me. “Nice drawing,” he said in his usual happy way. “Thanks…,” I mumbled while fumbling with my pencil sharpener.
Before I knew it he had launched into the “I’m there if you need to talk,” comforting pep talk they spoon feed you from first grade. I politely looked at him while he said the same speech that I had heard so many times before, while quietly thinking, “Oh, my good Lord. You can’t be serious. I can’t believe he’s actually saying this..,” but then he said something, I would never forget–I BELIEVE IN YOU.

Later that night, as I lay on my bed, rattling my mom’s prescription pill medicine and thumbing a knife, I reflected on my life. Nothing! I popped the lid to the pills and dumped them into my mouth. As I was preparing to swallow, I raised the knife to my wrist and looked in the mirror…There I saw my reflection. I saw my long blond hair, tangled and messy. I saw my young self, scared and alone.

The pills felt huge as I swallowed them. Then I looked into my eyes, a tear escaped them; the words, “I Believe in You,” echoed soundlessly in my head.

I dropped the knife and ran to the washroom and threw up the pills. Then I walked back to my bedroom and cried. It was my teacher’s words–Mr. Godecki’s words–that showed me I was not alone. It was those words that brought me love, even if they were only spoken by a grade school teacher.

 

By speaking positive words to those humans with whom through life we jostle, we may see the development of excellent grocery men or truck drivers or artists or writers or teachers. And then again, we may recognize the saving of one or two from absolute destruction.

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My devotional blog is here.

11 thoughts on “Belief–Principle 1

  1. Sis Buxton,
    Because of my experiences, it has been my privilege to be instrumental in several people’s lives. One of them much too close to write about it here.
    But to God the Glory! It has been nearly twenty years since someone fighting this received the Holy Ghost and is still living for God today.
    I know that depression hits hard in trying to bring us down – because giving up is no longer a choice – we have a reason to live!
    “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
    Because He lives, all fear is gone
    And because I know He holds my future
    My life is worth the living just because He lives”

    No other reason…than BECAUSE HE LIVES.

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  2. I have read this post and the comments several times – and hesitated.
    From my preteen years until God filled me with the Holy Ghost, I struggled with the spirit of suicide and even made some attempts. But I will tell you that in the deepest despair there is inside of man the desire to live. Each time I pulled back. And I now know that it was the hand of God. I can never forget!
    It is my desire to let the love of God flow freely and reach someone who is hurting. My heart and arms are wide open.

    Oh, Catherine, how evil and vile is the devil. To think that he tried for those many years to snatch away your life. But the ending…how wonderful that you are now filled with the Holy Ghost, and finally…really living. Thank you for sharing your story. Although I can imagine your difficulty in doing so, it is quite possible that someone will read here and find hope in your story…in your redemption…in your love for Jesus.

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  3. I have prayed for years “God help me to hear the cry of the lonely heart as they weep their way to sleep at night. Let me feel their hopelessness as they wander through life aimlessly. Let me see them through your eyes.” God has somehow been able to keep my ear attuned to Him and I weep even when I hear stories like this one.

    My biggest fear in being a fourth generation Pentecostal is that I would lose touch with the world and not see them as Jesus sees them.

    Kevin, I’m beginning to think it is possible that those of us who are so desperate to truly touch and affect people may be seen as a little edgy and “off-the-wall.” But as long as we absolutely know we are doing God’s will, nothing else matters. How could anything else matter when we consider the thousands–probably millions–of people who cry into the night. God help us.

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  4. There is a song that says, “Let the world see Jesus in me…” I hope hurting people can see Jesus in me and feel strength. My teen years were difficult and I contemplated many things. You can never know how bad the person next to you may be hurting. We must give everyone love.

    Jana, what a challenge that song extends to us. Would that I could keep that principle foremost in my mind.

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  5. The story of this girl is all too common. When I was a young teenager and even more so today. I remember the feeling of complete hopelessness, of not being likes, loved or even wanted. Hopelessness is becoming a “Norm”.

    As a teenager in high school I had some medical conditions that set me apart from everyone else. Due to this I didn’t have what you would call friends. A few people who be cordial, say hi and sometimes share the same lunch table. However, there was my High School Guidance counselar, Mr. Cleary, who helped me to turn things around. He was so understanding and compasionate. He helped me to overcome some of my “medical conditions” that kept me from doing well in school. He was in my corner all through HS and in fact, I probably never would have graduated if it hadn’t been for him.
    I can relate to those, young and old, so well to those who feel hopeless, lonely, and feel they have no self worth and no place to belong.
    I have found that those who are hurting the most, put on a great front. May we all be sensitive to others and reaffirm thier worth but more importantly thier worth to God and His love for them.
    Thanks for sharing this. The timing is impecable.
    God Bless you Sister Buxton. I believe in you and I love you! You are one GREAT LADY!

    Eva, thank you for your positive and uplifting words and for your frank discussion of your own troubled years. Your line: “I have found that those who are hurting the most, put on a great front,” is powerful, and true. I have suffered lately to learn of those who, to the casual eye, seemed well, but who on the inside was suffering unspeakable turmoil. God help us to be able to lovingly penetrate those false faces.

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  6. That young girl you wrote about could have very well been me. I remember as a young teenager having suicidal thoughts but at the same time, being too afraid to carry them out. I often had that I’m so all alone feeling in school too. I did have a couple of teachers that reached out to me, but the turning point didn’t come until at 16, when I repented, was baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost. Even after I was in church, I struggled for a long time with thoughts that I could never be used of God and do anything for Him. I’m thankful I had a couple of pastors that verbally expressed that they had confidence in me and believed in me. It made a big difference in my life. I too, want to help people to believe in themselves and that God can give them a life that’s worth the living. Thank you for this post.

    My dear Carol, I sit here weeping as I think of you, and your wonderful and gracious ways. My God, help us to learn this lesson, and to be aware of people around us, to see their bitter grief and feel their deep hurts. I need help in this area. I’m afraid I have not been as verbal about affirming people or as sensitive to their cries as I need to be. Please, God, help me with this.

    I love you, Carol, and I am another one who believes in you. You are highly talented and a wonderful part of the Church of God. I feel blessed to know your family and you.

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  7. Sis Buxton – this is my heart beat. I have a heart full of emotions that words cannot express. This truly is my heart beat. These are the ones my heart pounds for – the ones I want to be able to scan a crowd and be able to see… and then I want to love them, and teach them how to love themselves. I want to show them Jesus.

    Rochelle, I hope some day we will be able to meet. (actually I will be in Texas the last weekend of this month, but don’t know if it is near you or not) Just “knowing” you on the internet, I sense your heart beat to be just as you have said here, and I truly believe God will continue to lead you and to anoint you for this work. I’m astonished at the deep, dreadful void that is prevalent in so many, many people. It is almost frightening.

    Yet, never should we lose hope, for Jesus can fill any void, plug up any gashes, and heal any wounds. And He definitely is using you for this purpose. I do feel that.

    Continue your preparation, continue being sensitive, continue to hear the voice of God.

    Love in Jesus Christ

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  8. Jana McVay

    How strange that you would address this subject today! I was thinking about posting about this subject earlier! It is a horrible place to be when you feel like you are so alone and no one cares. I have family members who have dealt and are dealing with that same feeling this young girl had. I am so glad that Mr. Godecki reached out to her that day!

    Today in our society there are MANY hurting youth who feel like giving up! We have GOT to reach them before they finally follow thru with what the devil has told them is a solution to their pain!

    Thank you for posting this!

    Love you,
    Jana

    Jana, it’s just hard to think there are young people (and older ones) who are this desolate, but I know it is true. I sincerely pray that God will help me minister to such persons who are around me.

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  9. Renaissance Guy

    I was like that girl at one point. Thanks to some true friends, I got through it. And thanks to God, I am whole.

    It is always jolting when I learn that someone I “know,” has experienced such depth of despair. Thank you for sharing this intimate revelation, R Guy. To understand that you are now so whole is truly wonderful. Thank God for His great mercy to all of us.

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  10. This story causes the very core of this old man to hurt almost to the point of tears. OH!! How sad that there are many young people struggling to find something to live for. Far too many times we walk by them and fail to see or hear the cry for help.

    OH Lord, that I would have a tender spirit to feel the pain of those around me.

    Mervi

    You do have a tender spirit, Mervi. It’s obvious through your writings. Thank you for caring.

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