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Judi, a reporter on an East Coast newspaper, lost her job in a large company layoff.  Out of work and dejected, she fell into a three-month depression.  Just getting up in the morning to wash her face and brush her teeth took more strength than she felt she could muster. 

Judi began taking long, daily walks and praying for the ability to start being her own best friend — even asking God to teach her to compliment herself when she did a good job on the smallest of tasks.  One day a friend sent her flowers with a note attached that read, “Hang in there.  Stop kvetching and start stretching!”

Judi accepted this pointed counsel from her friend as a wake-up call and took the advice to heart.  She started returning phone calls and began to develop her skills with the camera.  Before long an editor called and offered her a freelance assignment.  That one call was the encouragement Judi needed to press on, even though there were many setbacks along the way. 

“I am stronger now because of the emotional and mental work I’ve done,” Judi said.  “Out of the lemons I was handed, I believe I’ve made a perfectly respectable lemonade.” 

I think 2 Timothy 1:6 sums up best the reason to hope: “For this reason I remind you to fan into the flame of God, which is in you.”  Being confident means you feel good about what is true about yourself.  That’s why the apostle Paul used the words, “fan into flame the gift of God.”  Timothy’s gift was already there.  It didn’t have to be fabricated.  It’s just that Timothy had not yet recognized what lay deep beneath his surface. 

Paul knew what he was talking about when he penned these words of confidence to his son in the faith.  He recognized Timothy was inexperienced, timid, and afraid and that he often felt incapable of carrying out his ministry because of his youth.  But Paul knew Timothy.  He was confident that beneath the self-doubt there was the faithful heartbeat of one of God’s chosen servants who would be used to make his Lord known. 

Hundreds of years later Paul’s words still have the power to bring hope to our hearts — if we will allow them to do their good work in our lives.  What gift has God given you that is waiting to emerge?  Are you willing to take some small risks to discover the much greater, hidden treasures still buried deep within you?  What will it take to develop the inner confidence to help you make your fondest dreams come true?  Are you willing to take some risks — as Judi did — to propel you beyond the ordinary to do some truly amazing things with your life? 

Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 36 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.