Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Limitless

Nick Vujicic is an amazing Australian evangelist who travels the world encouraging young people to recognize their potential, live their dreams without fear, and have confidence in their worth. He married Kanae Myahara in February of 2012, and just five months ago, their first son Kiyoshi James Vujicic was born. For many men this is, however enjoyable, an occurrence to be expected, and not often receiving extra attention. But Vujicic has amazed people with these natural accomplishments because in achieving them he has overcome a disability that would cause many people to back away from the attempt. Nick has no arms or legs--and he has never had them.

Born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia, Nick wasn't allowed to attend regular public school do to his disabilities, and would have been placed in a special learning class. But his parents didn't want him believing that he was different--or less--than anyone else, and when the laws changed he was allowed to go to public school with other children who had all their limbs. For many years he struggled from depression due to his disability and at one point during adolescence contemplated suicide. But eventually his depression turned around to a keen enjoyment of life. During high school he began speaking to young people's groups and churches, eventually going on to found Life Without Limbs, an organization that brings the news of salvation through Jesus Christ all over the world: to churches, school, prisons orphanages and many other places. He also founded the organization Attitude is Altitude, using his own story to give people a message of the importance of big dreams and a positive self-image. And these messages are touching countless lives, leaving roomfuls of people in tears at hearing from a man with these physical challenges that they are beautiful in God's sight. In spite of his disability, Nick has done many things that normal people will never do, and travelled many places that I, with all of my limbs intact, will probably never see.

In light of his story which I only paid attention to recently, I decided to pick up his devotional through Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books program that I participate in. It was recently available, I didn't know much about him, and I though "Why not? Here's a chance to learn more."

On Kindle it's a fairly short 140 pages, easily read in an afternoon, or if you wish, one section a day. There are 50 devotionals in all, ranging from subjects such as living your dreams, perseverance, hope, blessings, faith, and individual beauty. You'll find many of these subjects in the average run of Christian devotionals, and there's nothing too deep, but I did find a few good quotes that did prove to be an inspiration and a springboard for deeper contemplations.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:


While you often hear about people's struggles with post traumatic stress, psychologists have also found that those who deal successfully with health challenges can experience post traumatic or adversarial growth. ~Devotion 3


This was helpful, because sometimes extra stress makes you wonder if you're just going to crack, but  if these reports are true, God uses it to help you grow. That was a small relief.

When you are searching for God's will in your life, whether it's trying to make decisions or looking for opportunities, you can't always expect a sign from God. Those are rare and wonderful occasions. What I've come to look for instead is a sense of peace. ~Devotion 4
Sometimes in our culture we've come to think that knowing God's direction requires a choir of angels and a light from heaven; but often times we don't get that. Does it mean that we don't have God's guiding anymore? Absolutely not. A sense of peace is often the indication I use as well to determine if I'm going in the right direction, of course making sure it is aligned with Scripture. Which leads into another quote of his from the same devotion: "I believe if I'm headed the wrong way, God will change my heart and guide me." I've always believed this as well, but never put it into words before. God doesn't let us wander around with no attempt to guide us. He shows us His Way and His Will clearly, again and again. We see in Scripture that He even repeatedly warned and directed people who had no desire to follow his way, so how much more he will direct his children.
These quotes were particularly relatable:
I'm grateful to have opportunities, and often it seems like I'm walking down the corridor of a giant hotel with hundreds of doors waiting to be opened. It's difficult to know which doors are right for me, but through my surrender, patience, and trust in Him, God guides me. ~Devotion 4
No one should feel sorry for me or play down their own challenges by comparing them to mine. We all have problems and concerns. Comparing yours to mine may be helpful, but the real perspective you should adopt is that God is bigger than any problems any of us might have. ~Devotion 11

And this one is an interesting idea: 
You and I should do whatever we can to keep our youthful joy alive. If your life is too predictable, don't go postal. Take a ridiculous ride back to whatever it was that gave you joy as a child." ~Devotion 15

In our cynical society, we often look down on the joy and simple trust of children. But the fact is, when we take the initiative to take risks, to live with a passionate pursuit of the dreams God has given us, we receive a much greater fulfillment than if we play life safe and attempt to do everything in the way it's always been done.  
Laughter has been shown to reduce stress by releasing endorphin hormones, the body's natural relaxant, thereby boosting your immune system and improving your blood flow, while also increasing oxygen to the brain. ~Devotion 19
 
According to recent psychological studies, a darker mood can make you look at your work more critically and analytically....As long as you are aware and in control of your emotions, negative thoughts can produce positive consequences. Only when you let your emotions control your actions do you risk spiraling down into depression and self-destructive behaviors. ~Devotion 22

I realized as a child that being angry about what I didn't have or frustrated about what I couldn't do only pushed people away from me, but when I looked for opportunities to serve others, people were drawn to me. I've learned not to wait around but to push ahead and make my own breaks, because one always seems to lead to another.  ~Devotion 28

This last quote, of them all, is very true. When we are bitter because other people didn't help us get something done or fulfill a dream of ours; when we respond in frustration because we weren't handed what we always wanted to do, people push us away and shut us out. There is already enough pain in the world, and most of us don't want to bear the pain of guilt for other people's unfulfilled dreams. If you have the dream than you go get it done, and never ever rely its fulfillment on other people's actions. It's your dream, not theirs; so you're the one that's going to have to accomplish it.

Ahem. I'm a little passionate on that subject. 
God does not waste his time, so he doesn't waste mine either. ~Devotion 31
Amen. Point taken.

Normally I don't read devotionals, and upon concluding this one I probably won't read it again. Once was enough, and I wrote down all the quotes I wanted to remember from it; I think I would enjoy his biography a little more, and for me what he put in the devotional would be more effective listening to him give it on a DVD presentation. But the life of Nick Vujicic is certainly a challenge, and an inspiration: he can golf, fish, dive, and even take care of himself in many of the ways normal people can, down to brushing his teeth (though he saves his energy now for different things, and makes use of caretakers for the normal everyday matters.)
Nick's suffering is a result of mankind's sin; a result that will one day be wiped away and resolved when we are taken into Heaven. But there are several kinds of suffering: suffering unto death, suffering unto repentance, and suffering unto God's glory. Like the man born blind in John 9, he suffers "so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

And one day we will rejoice not only for the results of that suffering, but also as we see that suffering taken away.

*This book was given to me at no cost by Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.*

Blessings,
Lady Bibliophile

4 comments:

  1. Good review! What an amazing story! :) I enjoyed the quotes you put up. Taking risks is important in the walk of life-like Bilbo did. ;) Imagine what a boring hobbit he would have been if he hadn't accepted Gandolf's invitation.
    Enjoyed your post! :D
    Love,
    Sister

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    1. Thank-you, Junior B! Very true. When we stay back because we are afraid of risks--sometimes even the risk of doing the wrong thing--we miss out on an amazing testimony, and all the accomplishments that God wants to work through us. :)

      Love and cuddles,
      Sister

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  2. I have long been inspired by Nick Vujicic's life, Schuyler... he is truly an inspirational man, and I was especially so touched when I heard that he had gotten married and had a first child. I also think that he must have married a really amazing woman. Thanks for sharing these inspiring quotes by the way, Schuyler :).

    God bless!

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    1. I can't believe how much he has accomplished. It truly is a conviction when I feel discouraged--and perhaps what I take most from him is that there is no obstacle too great. God is powerful over all. :)

      ~Schuyler

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