by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

Some say we generally meet our own expectations. In fact, whether our expectations are high or low, it could be said we will rise or fall to the occasion. This is how we live self-fulfilling prophecies.

We become either our own worst enemy or our own best ally. Whose side are you on?

When confronted by a challenge, do you meet it head-on or run away? Do you try extra hard, or do you give up easily or not even try at all? Do you resolve to do what is needed, or do you make excuses and do nothing?

If low morale has taken hold of your outlook and attitude, then you have boarded a sinking ship known as self defeat. Any ship will sink if enough water leaks into it. And nothing will take you down faster than the negativity and pessimism that self defeat incites.

A self-defeated person can only see the worst side. He will say what he is not rather than what he could be. He has little or no hope that change is possible. He gripes, complains, compares and criticizes. He thinks trying something new is pointless since he will fail or be disappointed. So either he condemns himself to be nothing, or he settles for anything but what he really wants.

Consequently, the self-defeated person gets no joy out of his life and is even more depressed about his future. He has nothing good to say about himself or his ability to achieve success. “Yes, but…” is his usual response when someone suggests he consider alternative solutions to his problems.

The bottom line is that despair and discouragement will hinder us from becoming all that we truly can be. The good news is, my friends, we’re not without help and we’re never without hope. It is only bewilderment that has caused us to be mistaken in our conclusions. But a fresh and inspired viewpoint can correct our faulty and flawed notions and propel us forward!

Maybe you’re tired of shooting too low for yourself — and having others who expect little of you or for you. Why not raise your bar as high as God has raised it!

God sees only the infinite potential of His creation — which of course includes you and me. His expectation has no limitations or boundaries. His desire for us is good. He envisions infinite possibilities. So why should our bar be lower than His?

What if there are circumstances that would bring us down, that would stop us from reaching for our dreams, that would have us feel lonely, abandoned, isolated, worthless, incompetent, useless, cheated, defenseless or ignored.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) Did you know this means the kingdom of God — His power, strength, knowledge — is within your reach, is a present possibility? Truly, we are instilled, equipped and furnished with everything we need to conquer any foe and accomplish our goals.

We are not struggling, weak and weary mortals but rather spiritual warriors who are confident, strong and determined. Our life has reason and purpose. We need only recognize, admit and embrace our God-given determination, resolve, ambition, diligence, tenacity and zeal to not only raise our bar but reach our potential.

I love the story of Jesus’ healing of the crippled man by the pool of Bethesda. Apparently, this poor man had been in his condition for 38 years — so perhaps it was no wonder he wasn’t very hopeful when Jesus asked him, “Wilt thou be made whole?” I think it is worth noting that the man responded with a narration of reasons why he had not been healed in all of those years. (John 5:1-9)

I’ve often thought how good I am at reciting all the reasons why I can’t do something or why I haven’t — instead of just doing whatever I needed to do to fix the problem, to accomplish my goal, to improve the situation. There is always an answer even if it is different from what we first thought was the right one. Jesus did heal the man. But it was in a way the man didn’t expect or probably considered possible. All the more reason for you and I to keep our mind open for the unexpected and unplanned!

Don’t let negativity — pessimism, cynicism, skepticism — sink your ship. My friends, you can raise your bar and set your sights on all the good God intends for you. You can be your own best ally. And you can aspire to practice your spiritual prowess which enables you to pursue the infinite possibilities of your infinite potential.