There once was a boy whose biggest dream was to be on TV one day. In sixth grade, he had an assignment. The assignment was simply to write on a piece of paper your name and what you wanted to be. This boy wrote "I want to be on TV." He was the last student in class to stand up and read out his answer to the class. After reading his answer, the boy was called up to the front of the class by his teacher. Feeling proud, he walked up to the front, thinking his answer was the best and he was going to get rewarded.
But boy, was he wrong.
Instead, the teacher called him up to the front to humiliate him. "Why did you write this? Who do you know that's ever been on TV?" This little boy already had a stuttering problem, and due to the humiliation, he couldn't get a word out. "You can't even talk, how do you expect to be on TV?" She replied to his stutters. He was devestated.
Fast forward to his late twenties. He had been living in his car for three years, trying to start a comedy career. He would bathe in fancy hotels' public bathrooms with fancy linens towels, wet them in the sink with soap, go the stalls, and wash his body. One day, a convention was in town. With the flood of people coming in and out of the bathroom, he got stuck in the stall for a while. He sat down on the toilet and started crying. He couldn't take it anymore. He called home to an answering machine that his parents had set up for him. This answering machine was specifically for people trying to reach him. On the answering machine was a special message. It was from Chuck Sutton from Showtime at the Apollo in New York. He said, "We saw a tape of you and want you to come perform Sunday night. We're going to put you on TV." He heard this message on Thursday. He had a total of twenty-five dollars and was down in Florida. What seemed to be possibly the greatest break of his life was so close and yet so far.
He went back to his car and cried again. He said, "God, how could you do this to me? This is my biggest dream, and yet I can't even make it?" He decided to listen to the recording one more time, just to make sure it was that Sunday. Sure enough, it was that Sunday, only three days away. But just as he was about to hang up, he heard a beep, meaning he had another message. The message was a request for him to do a gig in Florida, close to where he was, and was going to pay $150 for Friday night. He called back immediately and agreed to do the show. After doing the show, the crowd loved him so much that the club owner asked him to do another show the next night for another $150. He called Chuck Sutton, and the next day, he was on a plane to New York. On the plane, he wrote a very specific joke.
That night, on TV, he told that joke. And that was the joke that made him famous. He has been on TV ever since that night.
His name is Steve Harvey.
Imagine if Steve let his sixth-grade teacher crush his dreams. He could have thought, "You're right. How is this little stuttering boy from this small town ever going to make it on TV?" Imagine if after a few months of living in his car, Steve said, "Forget this comedy stuff. It's never going to happen at this rate." But Steve never gave up. He knew his calling in life was to be a comedian and have an impact on TV. He knew his passions so well that he did not let anyone stop him. He was the only one who saw his dream the way he did, and he didn't let anyone who couldn't see his dream stop him.
We can all learn a lesson from Steve. Life throws everything at us to try to discourage us from pursuing our dreams. But the ones who keep pursuing, the ones who don't let discouragement take them down, those are the ones we hear about. Those are the ones who successfully achieve their dreams. Discouragement is inevitable. Plans will fail, people will be negative. It's how we chose to react to the discouragement that defines our character. Will we allow people's negative reactions to stop us from pursuing our God-given dreams and goals?
God didn't forget about Steve in those three years of homelessness, even though that's exactly the way Steve felt. God has not forgotten you in the times when you felt lost, discouraged, and hopeless. Rather, He is preparing you for the very thing you were made to do. Don't let discouragement drag you down. Take it as a growing experience that will launch you into your future success. Trust God and don't give up.
If you want to hear more on Steve and his story, watch these videos. I highly recommend them, as they are very inspirational.
Steve's sixth grade assignment
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