On July 2, 1932, in Atlantic City, N.J., a baby boy was born. Six weeks later, a couple adopted the infant, but when he was 5 his mother died. His father moved from state to state looking for work and taking his young son with him. At age 12, the boy landed his first job at a restaurant counter—and loved it. When he was 15, his father wanted to move again, but by then the young man was working at the Hobby House restaurant in Fort Wayne, Ind., and didn’t want to leave his job. So he dropped out of school, moved into the local YMCA and went to work full time.
Several years later, his Hobby House boss offered him an opportunity. The man owned four Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlets that were failing. In four years, with hard work and determination, the young man turned the restaurants around financially, sold them back to KFC and received a portion of the profits from the sale. He was once a high school dropout, but now he was a millionaire at age 35.
Who was this man? Dave Thomas, who started Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers and became an innovative and respected leader in the fast-food industry, and who—45 years after he dropped out of school—also earned his GED diploma.
The world is filled with people like Dave Thomas, people who have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. They have faced tragedy, sickness, disease, injury, poverty and deprivation in every area, and yet they have pressed through and become some of the world’s most respected and admired people.
I can assure you that they did not do so by thinking, I can’t. They had to make a decision about what they wanted out of life, and think accordingly. Then they had to work hard to accomplish their goals. I don’t believe any of them would have expended the effort required of them or sacrificed like they did had they not believed they could do what they wanted to do.
Even in the everyday, ordinary aspects of life, we all have obstacles to overcome. It’s easy to see how much working out at the gym has improved your friend’s energy and body shape and then decide, “I’m going to do that.”
But when it’s time to go to the gym, will you do it? When you get so sore that you have to fall in a chair to sit down and pray that you can get up, will you keep going? When something that sounds like more fun comes along, will you keep going?
There will be plenty of opportunity to think: I just can’t do this. It’s too hard. But when the thought I can do whatever I need to do in life is ingrained in you, then it gives you the determination to press through the difficulties.
God does not want us to be afraid or discouraged in the face of difficulties. The apostle Paul wrote to his young associate Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of fear but power, love and a sound mind (see 2 Tim. 1:7). Timothy faced many challenges in the huge tasks in front of him and, no doubt, had days like you and I do—days when he was overwhelmed, days he thought he couldn’t take any more pressure.
He had fearful thoughts, he worried and, in my opinion, his stomach problem that Paul mentioned may have been an ulcer due to stress. The young man was overwhelmed! Amid such pressure, Paul encouraged him to keep his mind filled with peace, balance, discipline and self-control (see 2 Tim. 1:7). Paul knew Timothy needed to think properly if he was to accomplish God’s will.
It’s impossible to think “power-draining” thoughts and then be powerful when situations arise that call for extra strength. I want to encourage you to think and say at the beginning of each day, “I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ.” Don’t fear the day, but instead look forward to it with passion, zeal and enthusiasm.
Joyce Meyer is the New York Times best-selling author of Power Thoughts and Battlefield of the Mind. She is also the host of the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs. For more information visit joycemeyer.org. To read more from Joyce, visit charismamag.com/meyer.
Adapted from Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind by Joyce Meyer; © 2010 by Joyce Meyer. Used with permission of FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group Inc. All rights reserved.