Power of Belief!
We hear it all the time, don’t
we? Have faith - just believe. “If you don’t believe in
who you are, no one else will.” We hear that all the
time…but we don’t, do we? It’s easy to say all those
things, but when you try and fail, when you stumble and
fall, it’s not so easy then, is it? When someone –
someone who knows all about it – says, “You can’t do
that - people have tried that very same thing and they
all failed. So if they couldn’t do it, who on earth are you
to think you can? How can someone like you expect to beat
the odds?” When we hear that, it’s not so easy to believe,
now is it? And when we are afraid, it’s really hard then.
At those times, it seems so weak to tell ourselves to just
have faith in God, and in ourselves. No wonder it seems
hopeless. So how do we continue on? Why should we?
There is a very good reason!
We might begin by asking a few questions…why is it so
difficult to believe in who we are? Why do we have the
feeling the thing inside us called our “self” just happens
to be so weak, frail, and small? And why do we feel that we
are not…much or enough? Why weren’t we lucky
enough to be born with a strong inner spirit?
Feelings of inadequacy have an origin. That feeling
originates from a time when we were told we “could not” or
that we were “less than able” at let’s say, math, music,
athletics, roping, etc., and we believed what we were
told without question! In that instance - at that
moment in time – because we believed the
person who told us we were lacking, we began to have
faith that we could not! And if we don’t think about
it, we continue to allow the slings and arrows coming from
others to penetrate our thinking, and we accept their
opinion of us all our lives. We believed all the people who
told us we lacked ability or value to be precisely correct.
After all, they should know. Since they are usually older
or more experienced, we assumed surely they knew more about
living than we did – so we believed what they said as gospel
– and tragically, we behave, live, and act on all those
beliefs as if they were true. So here’s a question for
you…do you really lack ability – or could it be that you
might have been underestimated?
Can you imagine how most anyone would feel if they did
this for a lifetime? Imagine a child who every time his or
her creative spirit raised up, some adult came along and
stomped on it. Soon, any child would learn, “Why try?”
It wouldn’t exactly be a mystery that child grew to be an
adult with low self-esteem, now would it? The child will
spend a lifetime accepting the negative statements of others
without questioning a single poison arrow. Can you imagine
that? Of course you can. In some ways, we are all that
I have known four people in my life that changed
the day-to-day circumstances of their lives drastically. In
each case, these individuals experienced a transforming
event. Even though none knew the other and the incidents
occurred years apart, in each case the story was the same.
Each person was walking down their particular corridor
of life – most of which was very unhappy – when something
happened. One in a phone booth, the other driving along a
country road, the other two thinking alone…when suddenly,
they asked themselves, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?”
(Paul had a similar experience.)
They wrestled with the question for some time and came
to some life-altering conclusions. Each person became aware
they were not quite as lacking as they had been led to
believe by others – that they were capable of far more.
They began again and knew success never before dreamed.
What happened? They took an “internal shower” ridding,
cleansing, and washing themselves of false beliefs…and they
became the person they really were. They began to
believe in themselves.
I can hear some preachers disagreeing. Some would say,
“We’re not supposed to believe in ourselves. We are
supposed to believe in God!” I agree completely with that
last statement. I’m a Methodist, and everyone knows
Methodists are religious - we’re just careful not to let
anyone know it.
But doesn’t it make sense to believe that God really
did give us a powerful and wondrous creative spirit that He
wants us to use? We’ve been given two eyes, two ears, the
divine gift of articulate speech, an opposing thumb, and a
mind! Surely he did not make us to be ordinary.
Surely, after giving us all that He did not intend for us to
hide our light. After all, we want our own children to do
well - I’m convinced He feels the same.
That is why we should continue on. We are not ill
equipped. When we doubt that we should keep on, it’s
usually because someone has told us in some fashion that we
“don’t have it” or “that won’t work.” There is a critically
important fact that most of us have failed to learn – and
sadly, that’s because we are not taught this vital component
of living in our culture. Here it is…
At some point in everyone’s life – every single
person is told they cannot! No one is immune. Every
single person is told their idea has no value, they cannot
do the thing they desire, and that they are wasting their
time. Everyone hears that! Even Jesus heard it. “What
good can come from this Nazarene?” If he heard it,
chances are really good – like 100% - that if He heard it,
everybody ain’t gonna’ be real peachy to you and me. We
must not let those people defeat us.
The trick is to realize – when someone tells you that
you can’t - that is a lie! Man, that’s so hard to
do. So hard to do. To have more faith in the One who made
you than all the others who say you can’t. But to become
who and what we were meant to be, that is what we must do…believe!
One of my favorite stories about believing in who you
are comes from the great calf-roper, James Zant. As a young
man, James was told by the great Tom Ferguson – world
champion cowboy – that James must make the switch from his
familiar left-handed style of roping to right-handed, or as
Mr. Ferguson put it, “If you don’t, you will never make
it.” As he was walking away, the 17-year old Zant said to
the world champion, “Mr. Ferguson…you’re wrong!” At
every National Finals Rodeo James Zant qualified for, he
always made a point of waving to Tom Ferguson.
Am I advocating being
disrespectful here? Don’t listen to anybody? Of course
not. It’s just that on some occasions, especially when
someone tells you that you can’t…listen to yourself!
Take an internal shower – wash away all those false
beliefs. Remember that every single person who ever had any
idea was told by someone, “That won’t work.” Ideas like the
electric light, the telegraph, the phone, Kinkos, FedEx,
Elvis, Garth Brooks, every small business owner, left-handed
calf-ropers, and you and me – everyone hears that. We are
not taught strongly enough we must withstand negative
influences – and we must not influence our own efforts in
any negative manner. When we work with the horse, we must
give him a chance. When working with our self, we must do
the same. Having faith – believing in who you are,
believing you have been given enough inside is a critical
There is a good reason we should continue on.
Continuing on works! So far, in my 60 years, I’ve
found it’s the only thing that does work. Believing in the
evidence of things not seen – having faith – really works.
Don’t just believe in yourself…believe in what you
“If we treat
people as they are, they become worse.
If we show them what they might
become, they become more.”
Ed. Note – Michael Johnson’s Healing Shine – A
Spiritual Assignment was named “Best Audio Book” of the
2007 Hollywood Book Festival, and “First Runner-Up” at the
2007 New York Book Festival. Read more of the author’s
seven-year spiritual journey with the great – but severely
troubled - roping horse called Shine at
Michael's latest release,
Reflections Of A Cowboy, is currently available in audio
book form. The two volume set consists of articles, essays
and excerpts from radio performances about good people and
good horses in the life of an Oklahoma cowboy. Approximately
8 hours in length. Reflections Of A Cowboy in printed form
is scheduled for release in the summer of 2005. Order from