You might think that once you take your first steps with God and have a really “holy” purpose all the doors would open up. NOT! There is still a lot of training and hard work ahead of you. I learned that quickly enough.
A little more of my story – once I understood that God wanted me to learn the real estate business, I worked harder at it than I’d ever worked at anything before. While working multiple jobs, I read everything about real estate that I could get my hands on. (You’d be surprised at how much reading I got done in the kitchen between waiting on tables at the Cheesecake Factory.) I moved to a new city and worked for some real estate developers for free for the better part of a year. I put in 18 hours a day or more, living in my car off and on, and I learned everything I could from them. I learned how to find properties, manage a work crew, design, find funding, and how to survive in a bad market. And when I bought my first house at 18, most of the labor that went into rehabbing it was my own. When I needed to install new bathroom fixtures, I learned about plumbing. When I needed to repair sheetrock, I learned to do that too. It was the best training I could have had, and none of it was fun. I didn’t even want to be in the business world. I wanted to be a missionary in Africa. But I did it because I knew God wanted me to learn to work in order to learn what He had to teach me.
I now understand that when you’re called to do something significant, to a life of significance, you’re going to go through a training period. God’s not an idiot. He’s not going to give you something great only to have you mess it up because you don’t know what you’re doing. You’re learning what you need to know to carry out God’s plan for your life, but you’re also learning to trust God.
I’ve also come to realize that if you’re called to significance, you go through the worst stuff first. That way you’ll have a reference point for the next time you hit a rough spot. It’s all part of the way God ensures that you’ll have the mental fortitude to handle what comes next and the haters who will stand in your way. You may face opposition from those closest to you, the people who should be the most supportive of you. Without mental fortitude, their criticism and lack of faith in you and what you’re doing can make you question your ability to carry out God’s plan for your life.
As you make progress, as you level up, you’ll find that you’re dealing with haters who are better funded and can throw bigger obstacles into your path. As a teenager educating myself about real estate instead of going to college, it was family and friends whose opposition to what I was doing made me doubt myself. When I was flipping houses and becoming the biggest rehabber in Nashville, it was older, more experienced and predominantly males in the industry who were so quick to criticize and dismiss me.
The first lesson in your training is how to handle rejection. If you can’t handle being rejected by those who should be supportive of you, you won’t have the guts or the mental fortitude to be able to stand up for what God has told you to do.
Without mental fortitude, you might never make it to the next level, so you can’t let the haters bring you down. You need to learn to get your affirmation from the Lord, not from the people around you. They may not understand what you’re doing, but He does. They may not believe you can achieve something great, something of significance, but He does.
Mental fortitude is one of the things God is looking for in you before He advances you to the next level and gives you the next piece of the puzzle. He tests your character and your capacity to do the work that needs to be done. Passing this capacity test requires not only mental fortitude, but also your attitude, your resilience, and your obedience.
If you took that capacity test today, how do you think you would do?