Place your hands together, palm to palm, in a praying gesture. No problem, right? Now rapidly rub them backwards and forwards pressing them against each other as you rub. Feel the heat? What if you tightly clasp a rope and quickly pull it through your hand? You’ll quickly raise a heat blister. Friction, which produces heat, is how nature resists movement.
Nature makes it easy for things to remain stationary. The problem, however, is that in order to make an often reluctant earth yield her bounty to man, we need to find a way to leverage our efforts. The first way we did so was by means of mechanical devices, the most important of which was the wheel.
Nobody knows whether the first wheel was a slice of tree trunk or a stoneroller. Either way, it needed to be placed on an axle which had to rotate. The problem, as we discovered when you tried out my recommended experiments, is that when things move against one another heat is produced. The axle assembly on Fred Flintstone’s car in real life would quickly heat up and catch fire. In fact, rapidly rotating a wooden rod on another piece of wood is exactly how scouts are taught to light fires.
The problem of how axles could rotate rapidly without being destroyed by the heat they generate was solved by a Welsh engineer in 1794. Early in the industrial revolution, Phillip Vaughan came up with what we call a ball bearing. The axle no longer rubs against whatever is holding it in place. Instead it rides on a number of smooth steel balls rotating with it.
Motion is vitally important and quite indispensable but it is hard to achieve. This principle of physics has its spiritual parallel. We humans find it easiest to remain in place just where we are. In other words, we find it easiest to tell ourselves, “I am what I am.”
A father who has regular temper outbursts towards his children can change. A wife convinced she feels no love for her husband can change. An employee frustrated by unfulfilled entrepreneurial dreams can change. While it is true that spiritual friction resists our progress, God always encourages growth and beckons us toward movement and change.
How do we make change happen? Well, to begin with, consider the power of the written word. Of all creatures, only we humans express abstract ideas by means of signs and symbols that our hands carve into stone with a chisel or place on paper with ink. Those very words can inspire vast armies of people, even those not yet born at the time of writing. Those words possess the power to affect the cosmic balance of the universe. But most importantly those words impact the life of he who wrote them.
So, yes, write down your goal in a clear, specific and measurable way. For instance:
“For the rest of today, every time I feel anger rising in me, I will pause and stay silent.”
“Regardless of how I am feeling, once a day this week, I will act towards my spouse in a loving way.”
“I will exchange an hour a day of web surfing for reading a good book on starting a business.“
Here’s the most important secret: Putting that goal down by writing with a pen on paper is itself the first action step in achieving your desire—and any action step unleashes miraculous power.
Think of Israel, terrified by the approaching Egyptian army.
When Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites lifted up their eyes and …they were very afraid and…cried out to the Lord.
You’d have thought that at this dramatic moment, God would have told Moses to lift his rod and split the sea. Instead we read,
God said to Moses, Why do you cry to me? Direct the people of Israel to march forward.
God told Moses to lead the people right into the water of the Red Sea before He split it!
Only once the Israelites were in the water—and ancient Jewish wisdom records that it reached up to their necks—does God instruct Moses:
Lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it so that the people of Israel will go on dry land through the sea.
And so it was. The miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea was brought about only once the people had done their part. Until the Israelites took the courageous action of stepping into the very waters of the sea, Moses stretching out his rod would have accomplished nothing.
So it is with us too. Taking an action, a real action, unleashes miracles. Don’t just sit around and pray, said God. Excellent advice. If you want to change something in your life, take an all-important action, starting with writing down your plan.
There is another equally important aspect of words. We can do more for ourselves as well as others by limiting ourselves to words that heal rather than harm and that help rather than hurt. Equip yourself with the tools necessary to modify your speech patterns. Enjoy the benefits, both social and professional, of more effective communication free of distracting negativity. Join the thousands who have successfully moved forward with Perils of Profanity—You Are What You Speak, a one hour audio CD. Act now!
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