On my road to fluency I learnt a principle from my mentor which really helped me. He was a psychologist. He taught me, “we make a lot of decisions about our future, not based on what can be, but what has been. Most of the results you get will be based, not upon what can be, but what has been”.
I used to do that. How many times had I stuttered in front of a crowd? How many times had I stuttered when I was on the phone? How many times had I stuttered when I spoke to people one on one?
So you can imagine when opportunities came my way to speak to a crowd. I was freaking out. I was not seeing what could be. Instead, I could see the last time I spoke and how the people responded. I told myself I was not going through that again. For a season I turned down amazing opportunities that God was opening up to me because of something that happened months and even years ago.
It sounds crazy but that is what happens. In some cases a woman will turn down a man’s advances not because he is a cheat or because he is an abuser but because she was abused or cheated in the past by another man. So the man who likes her now can be genuine in his love for her and has her best interests in mind but she won’t be able to see it because of her past experiences.
Are you doing that in your life? Do you look at all the negative things you have been through and make decisions based on them? How many opportunities have you turned down? How many relationships have you turned down because of your past experiences?
We need to change how we see. We need to learn to look at the future when making decisions. We need to learn how to look at opportunities and see what can be instead of what has been. That is what I used to do. “I can’t speak to people now because I stuttered and people laughed at me last week” I would think to myself. And such other thoughts would run through my mind. But I changed the way I see. I started seeing what can be. I saw myself speaking fluently and boldly. I saw peeople responding to what I was saying. These are the kind of pictures I taught myself to see. And that is what you need to start doing. Let us look at two examples from the word. There are so many I could choose from but for now we will look at two examples.
His name was Moses. For his story you will need to read the book of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deutoronomy.
Moses had a lot going on for him. He was a prince of Egypt. But he killed someone and ran away. God then spoke to him in the desert. What an amazing experience he must of had, but in the presence of God he started giving excuses! Why? It was because he was looking at the negative things that had happened in the past and projected them into his future. God wanted to use him to save Israel. What an opportunity to do something amazing! But he didn’t know how to look forward positively. He could not see what could be. He couldn’t see his people’s freedom. Instead he saw his stuttering,
“And Moses said to the Lord, O Lord, I am not eloquent or a man of words, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and have a heavy and awkward tongue. Exodus 4:10
I am interested in where he got his view. Did people joke about his stutter? Did he try to speak to people and end up not being able to articulate what he wanted to say?
Whatever the reason it made him draw back in fear. Don’t draw back in fear. Look to what can be. See victory. See success. God wants to use you to do great things. But you need to know how to look forward.
Gideon was someone else who fell into the trap of looking at the negative that happened in the past. For years he had grown up being told his family was the least. For years he was told he was nothing. And when an angel of the Lord came to speak to him he reverted to the past. He never saw what could be. He was looking at what had been and could of missed the call of God on his life. But God was gracious towards him. His story is in the book of Judges chapter 6.
So this is the conclusion, learn to look at what can be. There is so much for you. Don’t draw back into fear. Don’t make decisions based on what has been. As you apply this principle you will see a change.