Have you ever felt like you had the odds stacked against you? Or maybe, you’ve felt disqualified because of things completely out of your control.
I have, and there have been countless times. I’m sure you’re probably thinking of situations when you’ve felt like an underdog as well.
Let me give you some examples of odds I’ve had to overcome. I grew up in a town where the poverty rate is well over the national average, and the average household income is nearly half of what the rest of the country makes.
On top of that, I grew up in a single-parent household along with my grandmother, aunt, and cousin. This isn’t groundbreaking, as nearly one-third of black children live in single-parent homes. It’s also worth noting that I’m a black man.
Here are a few alarming statistics about us:
- Black males 18 and older are only 5.5% of the college student population, and only 1 in 6 receive a college degree.
- However, 1 in 3 black males will spend some amount of time locked up. Black people as a whole only make up 13% of the U.S. population, but black males represent 38% of the prison population.
- Black males who live below the poverty line are nearly three times more likely to die than those who grow up above the poverty line.
SPOILER ALERT: My movie ends a bit different!
I’ve been able to persevere given the challenges thrown my way. Not to brag, but I’m college educated, never been in trouble with the law, I’m married, and this year I just shifted into entrepreneur mode.
With Sunday being Easter, I spent some time reflecting on perseverance.
Think about it, Jesus had so many obstacles. He came to His own people and they rejected Him. He was threatened to be killed from the moment He was born. Even His own friends betrayed Him. All the while, He continued to heal and perform miracles. Ultimately, He persevered as the stone rolled away from His grave and He proved who He was.
I’m not here to preach, but I do think He gave us some tangible things to consider as we persevere against our own challenges:
- Find time to spend with God – I’m talking every day. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or late at night, find time to listen and get direction.
- Don’t let your situation dictate your destination – Where you are, or where you’re from will never determine where you are going. Sure, you can point to examples of others shortcomings – but ultimately, your success is determined by you and only you.
- Be determined – Here’s a cool quote I found the other day, “Perseverance is stubbornness with purpose”. If you’re going to be stubborn (like I can be), be stubborn with determination to reach your goals.
Everyone loves a good underdog story. Circumstances didn’t take me out, and they won’t take you out unless you let them. Don’t lose hope at the brink of adversity. Instead, embrace it. Your tragedies will soon be your triumphs. And the coolest part of it all is that it will inspire someone else, giving them an example just like Jesus did for us.