When you look at the size of your goals compared to the size of your resources, the dream that God placed in your heart may seem to make no sense at all.
“Why would God place this desire in my heart, if he knew I lacked the resources to see it come to pass?”
“Why did he give me the vision for this business, if he knows I don’t have the business contacts or the finances to launch it?”
I myself, know and understand thoughts like this all too well because I found myself asking similar questions in times past when I stepped out on faith to launch my own law practice in 2014.
How will I get clients?
How can I launch a business with no capital?
How will I pay my rent and myself?
Dozens of questions like these paraded throughout my thoughts as I struggled to understand that scary space in between a dream and a dream come true. It seemed to be the biggest and darkest space in the world. It was like a hazy, gray area ripe with uncertainty, and it made me uncomfortable and even frustrated at times. With a bank account and resources that were much smaller than the size of my dreams, I often felt under-qualified and ill-equipped to pursue the passion that God had planted in my heart. Though my journey through that unsettling and intimidating territory took place a little over 1 year ago, I recalled it as though it happened yesterday, while at the movies a few days ago.
Last Saturday afternoon, I was amongst the waves of crowds that rushed to see Hollywood’s latest blockbuster “Straight Outta Compton.” As the movie unraveled the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly aspects of N.W.A‘s pursuit of a dream, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of attachment and emotion to their journey. Not more than 24 hours after viewing the movie, I found myself inspired by their story and passionately striking away at the keys of my laptop to write this post.
Whether you’re a believer, a dreamer or just a person who’s ready to pursue your dreams, I believe “Straight Outta Compton” has 5 inspiring and motivating messages just for you.
1. Your Dreams Will Take You to Unimaginable Places– I once heard a colleague say “nothing beats a man with a plan and prayer.” I don’t know the spiritual walks of each member of N.W.A, but I do know that collectively, each one had a plan to pursue a dream. They had a dream to rise out of poverty, provide for their families, and to give back to their communities through their music. Worldwide fame was never on their radar but because they had a plan, their dreams were able to make room for international success and travel.
“A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him in front of great men.” (Prov. 18:16)
NWA was a great example of the power of dreams and individual goals. Each member of N.W.A set a goal to commit to their collective dreams, and within years it landed them in new places, doing things before people that were once unimaginable. Do you have a dream? Have you written it down? Are you committed to seeing it come to pass?
2. Failure is Often Your Greatest Ally- Without giving away too much of the movie for those who haven’t seen it yet, N.W.A faced censorship by the U.S. Government due to the racy lyrics in one of their songs. When the group learned about the threat of censorship, it felt as though the government had served the lowest of blows. How would the group handle their toughest opposition? Well, I won’t spill the beans so you’ll have to go see for yourself. However, without disclosing too many details I will tell you that the group created a clever solution to make the opposition work for them. Within weeks of the government’s threats, N.W.A fans were protesting, rallying and fighting on the group’s behalf. N.W.A fans proved to be loyal to the group’s creative expression of free speech, and they weren’t going to let their artists go down without a fight. By the end of the ordeal, the government’s threats of censorship proved to be the best publicity for N.W.A, as it led to increased sales and a stronger fan base.
So how does this story relate to me and you?
Though no one has ever attempted to censor my craft or my talents, I have most certainly experienced the uncomfortable, defeating feeling of a setback, and it was less than pleasurable. It just made me want to surrender and throw-in my towel. However, “Straight Outta Compton” was a great reminder on the usefulness of failure.
The same thing that seems as though it will destroy you, will often propel you further than the best good break but, the determining factor is found in how you handle the challenge. Do you allow the disappointment to cause you to give-up on your dreams, or do you fight back?
“A setback is a set-up for a comeback” –Joel Osteen.
Imagine if N.W.A never fought the censorship of their music–it would’ve set a pattern of music censorship in a myriad of genres. Furthermore, I imagine their success would not be as diverse and widespread as it is today. Failure and setbacks can be allies to success if we don’t allow them to make us quit and give up. How are you handling your setbacks? How are you handling your recent failure?
3. Be Relentless- Isn’t it crazy that we are often so fearful of fighting for our own dreams? One of my favorite character traits about N.W.A as portrayed in the movie, was their attitude of relentlessness. They were relentless about being ruthless. Though being ruthless is far being a fruit of the spirit within the realm of Christianity, the act of being committed to being one thing and then perfecting that thing at all costs, is noteworthy.
In the movie, you’ll see that the group was committed to being known as the most “ruthless” group of rappers ever known. Ruthless in their music; ruthless in defending their music; ruthless in business dealings–just ruthless, period. The group developed a relentless dedication toward being ruthless.
As crazy and odd as this may sound, I couldn’t help but to admire their sense of relentlessness to being portrayed as ruthless. Moreover, I couldn’t help but to ask why I hadn’t been more ruthless and relentless with some of my dreams. Why hadn’t I believed in myself at all costs? Why had I allowed others to make my dreams feel small and insignificant at times?
No matter how many times we fail or give up on ourselves we can find comfort in knowing that Jesus loves us with an ever lasting, relentless love. The same relentless love that restores us each time we fall, is the same relentless love that never ceases to declare that: we are chosen; we are accepted; we are approved; we are favored; and it declares that our greatest days are still in front of us.
No matter what life throws at you, be relentless as you pursue your calling and walk in your purpose. Let no one and nothing allow you to give up on the promises or dreams in your heart. Be relentless.
4. Do Not Despise the Day of Small Beginnings–N.W.A may be one of the greatest examples of humble beginnings. Their career began in an impoverished neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, but transcended into a billion dollar industry years later.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zech. 4:10)
I love stories of triumph because they provide great reminders on the importance of not being discouraged by our small beginnings.
In today’s age of social media it’s so easy to allow ourselves to feel small and insignificant just by scrolling through our social media timelines. For example, we see a photo of someone on a yacht in Miami, while we’re inside of a cubicle on a cloudy, rainy day, so we begin to feel less accomplished than our peers. We see someone else post photos of recent travels and we assume they’re banking thousands. We then look at our bank account and begin to feel inadequate because we’re still living paycheck-to-paycheck. These situations often cause us to resent our journey.
However, we forget that small beginnings are some of the richest experiences that we’ll ever be blessed to encounter. They are ripe with valuable lessons that equip us to be leaders and mentors to others someday. These experiences also teach us the elements of integrity, character and sound judgment. Nuggets of life such as these, can only be learned in a slow-cooker of small beginnings. They cannot be acquired on the fast, microwave track to success.
The precious time that God is spending with us during these small, slow-moving moments of success are invaluable. These moments are equipping us with the tools and knowledge for latter increase. They are preparing us for greater expansion. Thank God for today’s destination—it will soon be used as God’s platform to launch you higher.
5. Dream Big with a Small Crew-
Since the movie’s release in theaters last week, there have been several interviews with the former members of N.W.A. In each interview that I’ve watched, it has been amazing to observe the loyalty, respect and brotherhood the members have maintained even though group disbanded in 1991. As you watch the movie, you’ll learn that the key to their success as a group came from their ability to simply be a group.
They were a group of 5 young teens, who shared a vision and shared a desire to see it come to pass.
They were intentional about keeping their dreams and vision amongst themselves. They were also protective against others taking advantage of their dreams. Can you imagine the outcome of their success had they shared their ideas with people who weren’t part of their group? There may have never been a N.W.A, if they didn’t take steps to protect their dreams and intellectual property.
In the same way that each member was intentional about keeping “group business” amongst group members only, we too must be intentional about the company we keep and regarding the dreams we share.
Scripture instructs us to “guard our hearts” because it determines the course of our lives (Prov. 4: 23). That means, to be mindful over the cargo in your heart; don’t share your precious cargo with just anyone. Even Jesus, kept a tight crew called the 12 Disciples. If you weren’t a disciple, there was certain information that you weren’t privy to during that time. Together, Jesus and the 12 Disciples, performed miraculous works and touched countless lives.
We too, can impact change and accomplish great things with a group of dedicated people but we must be intentional about who has access to our dreams and goals (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). A tight crew that is dedicated to supporting and encouraging you can be one of your greatest resources. Choose your friends wisely and share your dreams with discernment. Everyone isn’t a friend and every “friend” shouldn’t know your business.
Take a personal inventory and assess your circle.
In closing, if you haven’t seen “Straight Outta Compton” I encourage you to go see it! It’s seriously one of the best films I’ve ever seen and it left me mighty inspired!