In a book by Bobb Biehl, he tells the story of a day he spent “working” in a circus.
A quick phone invitation from a friend and Bobb was on a plane heading for the circus. Just for “fun,” and to “clear out the cobwebs,” Bobb and his friend moved props from ring to ring and got dirty and dusty and tired.
During a break Bobb struck up a conversation with a man who trained animals for movies.
“How is it that you can stake down a ten-ton elephant with the same sized stake that you use for this little fellow?” I asked. The little fellow weighed three-hundred pounds.
“It’s easy when you know two things: elephants really do have great memories, but they aren’t very smart. When they are babies, we stake them down. They try to tug away from the stake maybe ten-thousand times before they realize that they can’t possibly get away. At that point their ‘elephant memory’ takes over and they remember for the rest of their lives that they can’t get away from the stake.”
To paraphrase Bobb’s point – humans are sometimes like elephants. When we are young, some unthinking, insensitive person says “You are not good at this,” or “You’re never going to be able to do that.” Perhaps they decreed, “You weren’t cut out to accomplish [insert-your-dream-here],” or something worse. And just like that – boom, a metal stake has been driven into our minds and our hearts. And even though we grow up and possess many skills and talents and abilities and walk with the grace and favor of the Father in our lives, we are still held back by carelessly-driven or even accidentally-pounded-in stakes, mis-statements placed in our minds so long ago.