“The vision has its time. If it delays, wait for it. It will surely come.” Habakkuk 2:3
What is it about certain people that makes them successful in achieving what they set out to do and reach their greatest potential? Is it luck? Do they have better connections with people of power and influence? Does God have favorites?
I don’t think so. I believe these people have two things: singleness of purpose in where they want to go and the disciplined personal habits that will take them there.
The problem is, many people are not clear about what they want, have no passion for any specific goal and lack the discipline that it would take to get there. As a result, they settle for lives of mediocrity and superficiality.
Because it takes courage to dream big, many settle for too little. Because they are fundamentally ambivalent in their approach to life, instead of being a force of nature, they become feverish, selfish, little clods of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making them happy, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw.
Clarity about what one wants out of life must be combined with focused attention and disciplined habits.
The habits that diminish us require no effort and are usually the result of acting without real thought, while the habits that will help us reach our goals require effort and laser-like focus. In other words, we must truly want what we want.
I know, from personal experience, that once one is truly committed to clear goals and disciplined habits, God has an uncanny way to make sure he or she has his help and grace.
I have always been inspired by the teaching of Jesus in this regard when he told us that if we ask, seek and knock, what we look for will be given to us. The real secret in this regard is not to be ambivalent in asking nor lacking in confidence that God will give it to us in due time, if it is truly right and good for us to have. In fact, that help usually comes from some of the most unlikely sources, from even unknown people and quite often at a time that truly surprises.
Looking back over my life, I am amazed at the help that seemed to come from nowhere to help me accomplish goals. When I really wanted to learn to preach as a seminarian, the United Church of Christ gave me an opportunity in Crater Lake National Park.
When I really wanted to learn parish revitalization, the Presbyterian Church USA gave me a full scholarship for a Doctor of Ministry degree. When we restored the Cathedral of the Assumption, 67 percent of the funds came from non-Catholics.
When I needed funds to build spaces for the new retired priest program at Saint Meinrad, one column in The Record attracted more than a half million dollars.
Dream big! Have faith! Work hard! Watch it happen!
Father J. Ronald Knott