Some time ago I heard about a speaker who was speaking to a large audience at a business convention.

The speaker began his speech by asking the group, “How many times do you think a person tries to achieve a new goal before giving up?”

One person in the audience shouted, “Ten times!”

Another person in the crowd replied, “Five.”

A few people muttered, “Three or four times?”

The speaker shook his head from side to side and said, “The average answer is only once.”

God has entrusted you with extraordinary gifts and talents with which you bless the world. You have unique abilities and innate strength to achieve your goals and fulfill every God-inspired dream you have in your heart.

God created you for a purpose, to achieve something great, and He wants you to maximize your great potential and move toward the divine purpose He has for your life.

Although years later, disappointments, mistakes and negative circumstances may have taken their toll. Plans don’t go as expected. We are in difficult times. And problems seem to overtake us until they push us down and down and down until we just give up.

But, even if the odds are against you, don’t give up hope. Try again because God is not done with you yet. No matter how difficult the terrain is, let go of frustration and move forward.

I am reminded of the parable of the farmer who had an old mule.

One day a mule accidentally fell into a farmer’s empty well, and the farmer thought that the animal had not survived the fall.

So the farmer asked a few of his neighbors to help him pile dirt into the mounds to bury the old mule right there in an unused well.

An hour later, the group began shoveling loads of dirt into the well. However, when the dirt hit the mule’s back, the mule woke up.

The animal survived the fall. And with every shovelful of dirt that hit his back, the mule stubbornly shook himself off and took a step up. The mule did not rush. When dirt got on his back, he shook it off and took a step up.

Soon the mule triumphantly “walked” through the brick wall of the well to safety.

For what seemed to bury him actually ended up being a blessing because the mule stubbornly turned his problem into a stepping stone.

Likewise, if we persevere, our challenges can actually be opportunities that propel us to an exciting, new place. So, make today the day you let go of everything that’s trying to hold you back. Shake it off, step up, and step up again.

• You may have been rejected. Shake it off and take a step. Something better is on its way to you. “God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that is at work in us.” Ephesians 3:20.

• You may have been let down by someone you trusted. Shake it off and take a step. God has new friendships, new relationships, and new joys to bless you with. “The path of the righteous shines brighter and brighter.” Proverbs 4:18.

• You may have had a bad start in life. Shake it off and take a step. Where you came from and where you are going are different places. “God will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten” Joel 2:25.

• Don’t settle for less than what you really want for your future. Keep striving by following your heart and letting your faith push you forward. In the Holy Scriptures it is said: “Let it be done to you according to your faith.”

So have faith in God and enough confidence in yourself and your bright future to continue following your good aspirations.

You have gone too far; you have worked too hard and sacrificed too much to give up your heart’s desires now.

Remind yourself daily, “I will not let failure hold me back,” “I am not going to quit,” “I will overcome temporary troubles.”

Like a letter we address, stamp, and then take to the post office to send to a friend, send your words in the direction you want your life to go.

Positively declare, “Step by step, God is leading me to victory,” “I will overcome this challenge,” and “Opportunities are opening.”

A reader wrote: “Behind every successful person is a lot of struggle and some failures as well. But success is just around the corner if you never give up on your dreams and goals. Most importantly, you must rely, not on your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge God, and He will direct your path. Just trust Him.”

So, no matter what you are going through, never give up on yourself. One day’s adversity can become the next day’s opportunity for new success, perhaps in ways you never imagined.

Remember, God loves you, cherishes you, and guides you. And I believe that He will use you in a wonderful way this year and help you make a difference in other people’s lives.

God bless you as you step into the divine purpose He has prepared.

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