A Sure Way to Success

A wonderful conference that had inspired and taught me also left me feeling ancient. The younger participants were light-years ahead of me in their knowledge of technology, marketing, and social media. I felt like I’d pulled up to a jet fueling station in a horse and buggy. While their spaceships intrigued me, I wasn’t sure I could—or wanted to—drive one.

download-6Photo by: Samuel Clara

In Made to Stick, Dan and Chip Heath told the story of a third grade teacher who wanted to erase prejudice in her students.[1] The story also shows the paralyzing effect of a negative self-perception.

Martin Luther King, Jr. had just been assassinated. This teacher wondered how she could help her class really grasp the tragedy of prejudice. One morning she told her class that brown eyes were better than blue. She moved all the blue-eyed students to the back of the room. They had to wear collars so they could be recognized from a distance. Brown eyes were given a longer recess.

Friendships immediately dissolved as brown-eyed children shunned their blue-eyed peers. One child even asked her how she could be the teacher since she had “them blue eyes.” The next day, she told the class that she’d made a mistake. Blue eyes were superior to brown. The blue-eyed children squealed with delight and ran to put their collars around their brown-eyed classmates.

The teacher noticed something else. That day the blue-eyed children were faster on their spelling drill.

“Why were you so slow yesterday?” she asked.

“Because all I could think about was those collars,” one blue-eyed student said.

A Self-defeating Focus

  • As long as the third grade children focused on their collars they couldn’t do the spelling.
  • As long as I focused on my age and lack of technical knowledge I felt obsolete.
  • As long as Moses focused on his limitations he resisted God’s calling.
Is it possible to be prejudiced against ourselves? Share on X

When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and commissioned him to lead Israel out of Egypt, he begged God to send someone else. The self-confidence Moses had gained in Egypt forty years earlier had evaporated in the desert sun while tending sheep. His previous attempt to deliver a couple of Hebrew slaves had miserably failed. At eighty years old, who was he to deliver an oppressed nation from mighty Pharaoh?

Moses had to learn it wasn’t about who he was. His strength had caused him to stumble when he tried to be God’s deliverer in his own power. Focusing on his inadequacy was still focusing on himself.

download-5Photo by: Teddy Kelley

A Success-producing Focus

In a sense God was saying, “Moses, Moses, you’re asking the wrong question. It’s not about who you are. It’s about who I AM. This is My plan, and My power will accomplish it.”

Jesus has commissioned us to represent Him to the world. We aren’t to work for Him. We are to work with Him and allow Him to manifest His life through us.

“Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?” (2 Cor. 2:15-16 NLT).

None of us is adequate for the high calling we have in Christ. But we can lay aside our insufficiencies, like the third graders shed their collars, and set our eyes on Jesus. He is our adequacy. And He has promised to never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

Are you focused on “Who am I?” or on “the great I AM”? Share on X

Centering on Christ guarantees our success. Moses did. Look what he accomplished.

Your turn: Please share one tip that helps you overcome feelings of inadequacy.

Click here to comment.


Debbie W. Wilson

Some of you said you didn’t receive last week’s email. You can read it here: How I Found Peace to Vote 2016.

Download a 2016 Voter’s Guide here. It has a link for each state.

Sometimes I link up with these great sites:

#Teaching What Is Good#w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention, #HeartEncouragement, #LivefreeThursday#Thankful Thursdays#Grace and Truth, #Dance with Jesus, #Word of God

[1] Dan Heath and Chip Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die ((New York: Random House, 2007, 2008)










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  1. Renee Peebles

    Well, This was just what I needed today! I know in my heart that My Abba called me to write for His glory. Somedays though my own self talk can leave me defeated. On those days I go back to His call written down in my bible and dated, when He whispered in my heart these words, “David had a sling; you my daughter have a pen.” Many days I feel like someone stated, “a turtle walking through peanut butter”, but then I remember Who called me and I am once again renewed and ready to pick up that pen & write for His glory! Thank you Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Renee, good for you! All we can do is follow His lead and trust Him to accomplish His work through us. Love your analogy!

  2. Sue Schechtman

    I listen to worship music to help me focus on God instead of me. Often when I am quiet the songs still run through my head reminding where my impossible comes from.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Sue, that is a wonderful way to refocus! Thanks for sharing with us.

    • zkb vorsorge sparen 3

      this game should be banned! not that is so scary but the story is weird and discomforting product of suspicious minds. and i should have better things to do than to play hide and seek whit a monster

    • deutsch bank online kredit unternehmen

      that I could , but I did not have money, then I played it all my spare time. From then on, I got some , if I did not continue to play it, I can sell to anyone who want.Once I played 4story, I did not know how to get strong, someone told me that you must have . He gave me some , he said that I could , but I did not have money, then I played it all my spare time. From then on, I got some , if I did not continue to play it, I can sell to anyone who want.

  3. Mrs. Thomas

    What a great word! I think you should also be encouraged that we all make up and move forward as the body of Christ. Though they might be tech savvy with the bells and whistles there are still those that will be encouraged and ministered by your abilities and contributions as well.

    The first thing I do for feelings of inadequacy is acknowledging it in my Jesus time. Telling God I am nothing without HIM, I owe everything to HIM and I cannot do anything on my own. Something about releasing that and giving HIM the control to work on and through me for the day , all in HIS control. Day by day I believe obedience follows along with striving for excellence in your calling during your journey.

    God Bless You!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Mrs. Thomas, that is a perfect way to deal with inadequacy. We are what we are by His grace. Getting that straight puts us in the right frame of mind. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Ann

    I read a book years ago called Commanding Your Morning by Cindy Trimm. I use her scriptures as well as others the Lord has given me and I confess them each morning before I sit down to do my bible study. It realigns my thinking with His about who I am and what I can do and no matter how tired or discouraged I may feel – I always end up encouraged and fired up!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I’m not familiar with that book. Thanks for passing it on. Speaking the truth is very empowering. What a powerful way to start your day!

  5. Pam Ecrement

    Love this one, Debbie! What a creative wise teacher in her living demonstration! The application you make here is so on point and I can too often still plead guilty to be too much like Moses. I think truth in the Word, from a post, or God’s voice speaking to me in quiet times in the morning are my key “go to” when I am feeling inadequate. 2 Cor. 3:5 is always at my side!

    • santander bank online kredit beantragen

      just a few more random ideas:1) how many times each user watches it. The crappy vids probably get watched at most x times whereas the truly amazing vids get watched over and over and over.

  6. Debbie Wilson

    I love that verse, Pam. It sums it all up! “Our competence comes from God.” Thanks for highlighting it!

  7. Kristin

    This is SUCH a great reminder!!! I am prejudice against myself ALL THE TIME. Probably more than I realize too.

    Hopping over from Women with Intention.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Kristin, I can be too. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Beth

    I love your encouragement to us today, Debbie. It’s so interesting how we can internalize other people’s views of us or even let our “differentness” erode our confidence. I’m with you on the whole old versus young thing. Though I feel like I’ve learned a lot of technology for my age, it still comes so much easier for those young pups! I also needed to hear this today as I just turned in my book proposal into a potential book agent this morning. I’m a bit insecure about it all, but want to trust that God’s got a plan for me–even though I feel more like Sarah when she was told she was going to have a son! Bwahahaha! Hugs to you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Beth, it takes courage to write and open ourselves up for rejection. Good for you! I’m pulling for you.

  9. Lori

    “It’s about who I AM. This is My plan, and My power will accomplish it.”- What a reminder, Debbie! I’m a little prejudice of myself especially when it comes to my writing. I just need to post those articles and let God move instead of “saving them for later.” Thanks for sharing this encouragement with Thankful Thursdays.

  10. Debbie Wilson

    Lori, I understand. I’m thankful God recorded stories of people like Moses for us.

  11. Dawn

    This was such an encouragement. Yes, focusing on who God is helps me overcome feeling of inadequacy. Meditating on God’s attributes and reading the Word is one way I do that.
    Thank you for linking with Grace and Truth last week. I’d love to feature this post tomorrow.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Dawn! I love how relevant God’s stories are to us today. Thank you for sharing this with your audience.

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