Oh, the exuberant feeling of graduation! We think about excited faces, trying to remain poised and proud, trekking down aisles in an orderly fashion to take their assigned seats, while having reached this summit of learning with a sigh of relief. Whether you have graduated from kindergarten, elementary school, or middle school, or maybe you are now graduating from high school, trade school, undergrad, graduate, specialized degrees or doctoral programs, graduation day signifies a level of great achievement. Who can possibly argue with that?
I remember the day of my high school, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree graduations. The feeling was a proud moment of triumph in my life each time. Once you come down from that incredible high, you realize that the buck does not end there, because reality sets in quicker than you can imagine.
While we primarily associate commencement exercises with graduating from school or college, our education does not end with a diploma, certificate of achievement or degree. Nah! Continued learning is a lifetime full of interesting lessons, the good and unpleasant that tests literally every fiber of our being.
I remember wanting to grow up so badly, to be an independent adult, yet the thought never occurred to me that graduating to the adult level came with even greater lessons, responsibilities, and challenges. I’m sure you too can share some “You ain’t gonna believe this” occurrences that threw you off balance many a day, more than you probably care to admit. Yet, we share those graduation moments where we overcame some challenging hurdles that now shape our character and our life.
Catastrophic events may challenge our faith, hope and trust, but when you overcome those adversarial moments you graduate to an even greater degree of development in some aspect of your life. Such adversities test our very core, but just like the exams we took in school, we can pass them by learning from our mistakes.
So how do you define your graduation? What and where were you graduating from? Life is interesting, but it is also a lifelong classroom of teachable moments.
Potential: /pəˈten(t)SHəl/ Latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
Years ago, I read the book “Understanding Your Potential: Discovering the Hidden You” written by Dr. Myles Munroe. The objective of Dr. Munroe’s message makes you discover the untapped wealth of your potential ability, and rise above your past experiences to unearth hidden treasures within.
Whether or not you’ve read this book or are familiar with any of Dr. Munroe’s work, this book started out with the following explosive epiphany: Where is the wealthiest spot on this planet? In the oil fields of Kuwait, Iraq or Saudi Arabia, or perhaps in the gold and diamond mines in South Africa? Nah! The richest deposits on our planet tragically lie in our cemeteries and graveyards. They contain potential that remained potential.
The wealth of dreams has been dashed into the poverty of discouragement. –Dr. Myles Munroe
If I coulda, woulda, shoulda! So this got me to thinking about whether or not I am truly exercising my right to live my best life, not the wealthiest life, but my best. What spiritual gifts and physical talents has God blessed me with to use and enrich the lives of those who need encouragement to help them pass it on and to encourage others? How will we emerge from the ashes of hopelessness into the inferno of hope?
How do we successfully plant the seeds of potential that grow into trees of plenty? How do we leave our footprints in the rich sands of history and not buried in the dirt of a cemetery? Focus on what you have and then build from there. Start this minute if you haven’t begun already. We can’t allow disappointments to disarm our determination. If we allow adversity and discouragement to win, then we’ve already lost the fight before we even got started.
Lost hope? Pick a subject. Any subject. Nowadays, you will find literally any topic, on any level laced with deadly amounts of fear, anxiety and lost hope. What has happened? Life should not be terrorized by these fatal emotions. Yet, are we allowing them to?
Recently I’ve seen growing cases of people suffering from serious bouts of depression, from every gender, ethnicity and across the board economically. What is going on? There really isn’t one single common denominator involved in cases I’ve witnessed or read about. Now mind you, as a disclaimer, I am not a healthcare professional, just an observer and participant in life. But I can truly understand how people can be stricken with severe cases of depression resulting from extreme fears, whether it’s about finances, relationships, saving the environment, losing their healthcare, the skyrocketing costs of education, protection from predators and so much more. Pick a subject, any subject.
If you remember the 1982 movie Poltergeist, it centered around a family living in their new home who were gradually terrorized by a host of evil spirits. As the terror reached climatic proportions, they finally discovered that their residential development was built on top of a cemetery. The father angrily confronted the wealthy developer and shouted, “You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!” He grabbed his family and quickly left the premises of the horror.
Deception, distractions, delusions, discouragement, and death are some of the bodies buried under the headstone of depression. How did we obtain ownership of the spirit of D? How do we get rid of it? There is no magical cure because many of these emotional and spiritual enemies grew over time. Yet, we don’t have to allow them to control our lives.
We hate to admit that we personally created some monsters of the worst kind that are instigating this spirit of depression which is disabling our way of life. Curling up in corners, not getting out of bed for weeks, not brushing your hair or teeth, looking disheveled and forlorn, or wandering around like a reclusive vagabond are symptoms of merely existing and not truly living your BEST life!
How long will we allow our lives to be stolen by the spirit of depression and controlled by the bandages of medication or addictions to controlled substances and poor choices? There are many things, death, job losses, health challenges, broken relationships, betrayal…pick a subject, any subject and therein we find disastrous storms that some people are unable to survive in the aftermath. In many cases, they’ve given up. But we cannot afford to give up. Whether we realize it or not, we have generations behind us who will inevitably go through challenges that will test the core of their being. We can’t give up, because if we do, so will they!
Like many of you, I’ve faced some challenges that tried to wipe the life out of me. People are walking or lying around like recluses and zombies. There isn’t a “one size fits all” solution but we have to cut off our spiritual energy supply to feed power into the “Spirit of D.” Some people may need to seek professional counseling to deplete the debilitating power of hopelessness. Sometimes the solution is right within our grasp, but we can be too distracted to see it. For me, when I get into a funk, I don’t stay there very long, because it catapults into a more serious condition. It may take applying a little lipstick, an outrageous nail color, sporting some stilettos or wearing a very bright-colored top to brighten my silly face and snaps me out of my sad trance.
While I don’t know what your test is that could inevitably fuel an awesome testimony, just remember whatever positive and encouraging method of escape you can use to rid yourself of the bodies under the headstone, just do it because it can turn out to be spiritual gold! Don’t allow the “Spirit of D” to become a ghost of toxicity and the grim reaper of death. It’s not about you, but it is about what this spirit can do to you if you don’t put a stop to it.