I love analogies, I also love God’s little lessons he teaches us in small and simple ways. Although small may not be the right word for an analogy that involves an elephant! I have learned to play life to win by becoming aware of these little lessons.
Many years ago, as a young boy I had the chance to ride an elephant when a traveling Circus came into town. After I dismounted, the trainer would put a rope with a small loop at the end of it around the elephant’s ankle. The rope was attached to a stake that was hammered into the ground. When i saw this i thought to my self that the elephant would easily break free on run away, which made me a little nervous and I saw that this was how they kept the elephant from running off at the circus, but I didn’t have much faith in the small rope. An astonishing idea if you think about it. An animal that weighs thousands of pounds is kept in place by a single piece of rope and a small wood stake. How is this possible? I asked the trainer if the elephant would get away? He told me that when elephants are babies, the trainer uses this same method of keeping the elephant in place with a simalar rope and stake. When the elephant is little, it is small and weak enough to be controlled by this method. You might have heard the saying, “an elephant never forgets.”? Well, in this case, when the elephant realizes that he can’t escape, he stops trying to move away. As he gets older, stronger, and bigger, he doesn’t forget the lesson he learned when he was a baby, and never tries to break free from the rope, believing he can’t do it. The huge and powerful animal that is completely capable of walking away, pulling the little rope and stake with him, is completely controlled and kept from moving simply by something that it learned when it was little.
How many times have we learned things, where taught things when we were little that keep us from being who we are meant to be? We’ve learned to believe false hoods and been given misinformation about ourselves, and these things act as the rope and stake to us today, keeping us from moving on to our fullest and playing life to win. “You’re too big, you’re to small, you’re not smart enough, not fast enough. You’ll never be anything. You’re worthless. You can’t do that, no one in the family ever has. You shouldn’t try that you’re a minority. You’re not funny, you’re stupid, why don’t you try to be more like….” The actions, comments, and words spoken to us as we are growing up can sometimes be powerfully embeded into who we think we are and what we become. Some of us who have been totally stripped of our self-confidence and God-confidence because of the hurtful things someone said to us a long time ago. Sadly, many of us have just accepted these falsehoods on our character and have quit trying to move past them, believing they are truth. They keep us from accomplishing what God put us on earth to do. Our big dream is passed by as we play life not to loose and settle for comfort and our learned sense of what we call security. They keep us from trying new things. They make us believe that this is it even though we may have that feeling there is more, we know the rope and stake keep us at bay, thus not being free to play life to win. We become more focused on not messing ourselves up anymore instead of being focused on coming out of our shells to help ourselves and others. We move into a safe zone of life and begin to play life not to loose! Although we may think and feel that we are too small too weak and unable to pull away from the rope and stake in our life, there is that small voice in our heart and mind placed there by God urging us to pull the stake out of the ground, dissolve the rope thread-by-thread, and set us free from the things that have held us back for far too long.
We all were created for excellence. We all have a big dream. Not A “good life” as defined by the world, but a “Great Life” by our own design! But we were created to live the best, God-filled life possible, with all the love, success our big dream has to offer. But we must choose to live out that dream and take action now towards it. We must Play life to win in all we do! That means that we choose to step forward instead of staying still. We must align ourselves with those that have broken the rope and stake and let those the falsehoods and negative self defeating words that act as a rope and stake that keep us from moving forward. Playing life to win, instead of not to loose requires you and I to take action and take on our life and our dream. Remember, we have only one life. . .Play to Win!
-John Ferguson May, 2000