The Elephant Story

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.

In light of this fairly-horrible revelation, we can pray.  We need to pray.

God, You have not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound, disciplined mind.  Let the same mind be in me that was in Christ Jesus.  Let my mind be steadfast, trusting in You alone for perfect peace.  2 Tim. 1.7; Phil. 2.5; Is. 26.3

Father, forgive the stakes of discouragement that I may have driven into anyone else’s heart and soul, as I forgive the ones that go unseen in mine, but are affecting my life.  Help me remember Your faithfulness, remember Your goodness and help me recall Your everlasting love towards me.  Don’t let my pierced heart and memory dictate the life I lead.  For even when my heart condemns me, God, You are greater than my heart.  Mt. 6.8-10; Ps. 86.15; Ps. 103.17; Ps. 116.12; 1 Jn. 3.19-21

5 thoughts on “The Elephant Story

  1. I’ve definitely been meditating on 2 Timothy 1:7 the past couple of weeks…seems all these words about fear, doubts, and the lies of the enemy from past statements of other people are from the Lord and are lining up and coinciding lately – good stuff!

  2. Agreements, rights? Isn’t it funny how we don’t know we have the power to change them? Because the God we serve is mightier than anything? We need only ask… such a hard lesson.

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