Be Visible – Let Life See Your Life

Opportunity introduces itself to whomever it sees, but if you hide yourself you’ll remain unacquainted.

Todd Beal

We normally think of opportunity as the single chance to buy something at a one-time rock-bottom price, the one chance to get recognized, the one chance to go on the trip of a lifetime with all expenses paid, or anything else that promises to lift us up and out of ordinary life. With stars in our eyes, we tell each other: “When my ship comes in, my days of slaving away are over; I’ll be living on easy street”. Hitting life’s jackpot is certainly thrilling to think about, but unfortunately it can only make our daily existence less burdensome; it cannot make us a better person. These one-time chances don’t come as a result of careful planning, responsible behavior, good work ethic or any other positive personal quality; they only come when we are in the right place at the right time and, through no merit of our own, fall into our lap as good fortune.

Real opportunity on the other hand, as opposed to chance, is life’s invitation to join it – any time, all the time – and just how much of that invitation we can accept depends entirely upon what we become, personally. The degree to which we develop our skills, talents, and personal qualities – according to our unique personality – is the same degree to which opportunity invites us to partake in the richness of life. Real opportunity, unlike chance, is our guaranteed reward for self-progress, personal betterment; it is a natural law of life. If I develop my talents into skills, life will invite me to use those skills. If I humble myself to receive true and unselfish love into my heart, life will invite me to share that love with others, gain their trust, and receive their love in return. If I develop personal honor and loyalty, life will invite me into good and lasting friendships, business partnerships, respect from my peers, and put me in good standing with all who come to know me. Real opportunity is not chance, but is our life-long invitation to receive its reward for becoming who and what we were designed to be, and depends only on our willingness to deserve that reward through the hard work of self-progress.

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About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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16 Responses to Be Visible – Let Life See Your Life

  1. Great job distinguishing between “luck” and opportunity. Although luck can be a by-product of the randomness inherent in life, true opportunity as you describe it is usually the result of careful preparation and discipline. This is why the fates of a self-made millionaire versus a lottery winner are usually so different. At one point in time, they can both have great wealth. One will continue to receive and grow that fortune, while the other, unprepared for such wealth, will squander it away and find himself in the same financial situation as before. The spiritual parallel is manifest in Jesus’ parable of the talents, where what was taken from the “slothful servant” was given to he who had earned the most.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Todd Beal says:

      Yes, good parallel: I wouldn’t have thought to apply this post to that parable but I’m glad that you did. How would we apply the parable/post parallel to our personal gifts: thought, loyalty, love, etc?

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      • All of our abilities and gifts are developed according to what we “invest” in them. My son showed an early ability with music and playing the piano by ear. He was excited at first but began losing interest when he started taking formal lessons and saw the discipline that would be required to master the instrument. It took a lot of encouragement and yes, parental directive to keep him on that bench for the practice required.

        In the love that grows between marriage partners who become truly interdependent, a similar effort is required. It’s easy enough for two young people who find each other attractive to stay together, but when time brings physical changes, an intimate knowledge of flaws and the friction caused by familiarity and disappointments, the required investment of effort becomes larger. If my wife gets angry at me due to a miscommunication or jumping to conclusions, I can either react with indignation and retaliation, or I can see it as an opportunity to calmly explain my position and apologize (yes, apologize even if I didn’t do anything wrong, one of the most difficult skills for most men to master and one I’m still working on). Love is built by seeing and seizing opportunity after opportunity, while the self-centered man will usually pass them all by and wonder why he isn’t getting much out of his relationships. The opportunities you describe can sometimes be seen as weakness by those with worldly attitudes, but the results enjoyed by those who take advantage of them speak for themselves.

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        • Todd Beal says:

          So would you say that real opportunity is the return on our investment, whatever the arena?

          Great reply, by the way.

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          • Yes, though I don’t want to sound like I’m saying that developing yourself is a selfish thing. It’s kind of a paradox, that the best way to serve yourself is to serve others. I think that’s what Jesus meant when he said that we find our lives by losing them. A prophet once told his people, “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.” When I serve someone else using my talents and abilities, I am covering a lot of ground – I am serving God, lifting someone else up, and bettering myself all at once. There is no more efficient way to improve the world.

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  2. I agree with all you have said about opportunity and the comparison with chance or “luck”. I believe many MAKE their opportunities. After all, an unqualified person is not going to get the opportunity to achieve in a work situation.

    While I fully agree with you, my view of opportunity – as it applies to me personally – is somewhat different. I am not interested in self promotion so I do not seek to make opportunities for advancement. My perspective of “opportunity” is to USE the opportunities that present themselves. For example, if I can help or encourage someone by spending a few moments listening to their woes and lending a shoulder or giving a helpful word of advice, and I fail to do so, I have LOST that opportunity. If the Lord lays on my heart to call someone and I fail to do so, I have LOST an opportunity both to help someone else and to receive blessing myself.

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Actually, upon careful reading, you will find that this post is not about self-promotion, nor is it in any way closely related. Real opportunity is our guaranteed reward for working hand in hand with truth, allowing it to manifest inwardly and then consequently outwardly. Michael Knudsen provided a good example of this in his reference to Jesus’ parable of the talents.

      As a quick refresher of the post, refer to paragraph 2, sentence 3 of the elaboration; ”Real opportunity, unlike chance, is our guaranteed reward for self-progress, personal betterment; it is a natural law of life. If I develop my talents into skills, life will invite me to use those skills. If I humble myself to receive true and unselfish love into my heart, life will invite me to share that love with others, gain their trust, and receive their love in return.”

      Real opportunity is life’s invitation to join it. Real opportunity always gives a uniquely personalized invitation based on an individual’s God-created design, and also on the degree to which that person allows God’s truth to internally work its transformation. This transformation is not exclusive to the heart but also includes our mind and our will, thus transforming our personality’s potential into real capability and our natural talents into skills. However, this will not/cannot happen unless we allow ourselves to see those personal aspects that God’s truth seeks permission to transform. Truth cannot change us unless we firstly allow that change to personally manifest – which goes against our human nature – and secondly work with truth to make that change, build that skill, learn new thought patterns and habits, identify and positively change out of control emotional states, and will ourselves to love others with the love that only truth provides.

      Real opportunity has nothing to do with self-promotion, but has everything to do with truth promoting us as we give way to truth’s manifestation in us and through us into others. The extent to which we personally work with truth, allowing this to happen, is the same extent to which truth becomes visible to both others and our self. Self-promotion hides truth, but real opportunity is truth promoting us because we first allowed truth to promote itself through us: pretty awesome indeed, what a partnership!

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  3. pbus1 says:

    Hello Todd,

    I have a question. First of all, I am looking at this post, in its totality, which includes your article and the comments. My question is, how do you think “favor”, fits into the scheme of things, as it relates to the contents of the entire post?

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Paulette,

      A single verse comes to mind. [Romans 8:28 ESV] And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

      This is the true definition of favor. All other is merit-based action, prompted by conditional human reward: “I do this because you did that”. Upon birth, each of us receives a life-long opportunity to let truth transform our personal design into God’s synonymous plan for that design. The sooner I recognize my blueprint, the sooner I recognize that favor is not my just reward for satisfying the selfish demands of others, but is instead the resultant foundational vantage of living out God’s plan for my life.

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      • Todd Beal says:

        Paulette,

        Concerning how “favor” fits into the entire scheme of things, “favor”, as laid out in my previous reply to your comment, is synonymous with real opportunity.  Either one contextually works in place of the other.

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      • Lance Ponder says:

        Lk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! — “with whom He is pleased” is a pretty good definition of favored, don’t you think?

        The word favor appears in English 130 to 170 times depending on your translation. It makes for a fun word study.

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        • Todd Beal says:

          | Lk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! — “with whom He is pleased” is a pretty good definition of favored, don’t you think? |

          Yes, and this is possible only through our willful attempt at self-development as directed/instructed by the Holy Spirit.

          | The word favor appears in English 130 to 170 times depending on your translation. It makes for a fun word study. |

          I love that statistic.

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  4. pbus1 says:

    Hello Todd,

    [The word favor appears in English 130 to 170 times, depending on your translation. It makes for a fun word study.]

    That is definitely true. For example, I thought of “favor”, when you spoke of being in the right place at the right time, and due to no merit of our own, a blessing befalls us! I am not quoting you verbatim, but I believe, that is the essence of what you said. After reading that, the favor that was shown unto Ruth by Boaz, in the second chapter of the book of Ruth, came to mind. Therefore, put simply, favor is something that is undeserved, unmerited and freely bestowed upon us by God, through Christ Jesus! I do agree, that favor is synonymous with real opportunity!

    Paulette

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    • Todd Beal says:

      I will also point out that this undeserved merit (real opportunity) is contingent on continual, and willful, personal (personality) and spiritual (our relationship with Jesus Christ) growth as directed by the Holy Spirit through truth. In other words, we can be forgiven, yet because of a stagnating personality, real opportunity is non-existent. We can have the most robust persona in the world, working night and day to both understand and change our personality, but if we are not spiritually alive, real opportunity (favor) is non-existent. They both go together.

      This is why I take such issue with “Christians” who knock “self-growth”, psychology, working on one’s self, etc. I grew up in a semi-extreme culture of evangelicalism, where the aforementioned was/is referred to as humanism, self-centeredness, selfishness, and so on. And yet often times, these are the very individuals whose personalities range from stagnant to repulsive. It is not enough to be forgiven; it is not enough to schedule a regular prayer time; it is not enough to show up at church and sing uplifting and worshipful songs; it is not enough to read ten chapters of the Bible on a daily basis. If we willfully overlook the state of our personality – our thought patterns, emotions, moods –then there is no possible way that we can be effective as lights to the world, period, let alone maintain a close fellowship with God.

      If anyone at all ever authoritatively and thoroughly addressed this issue, it was the apostle Paul. If we can’t take his word for it, as personally given him by Jesus Christ himself, then we may as well toss the entire Bible out on the street and forget about salvation all together, favor included!

      Paulette, I am not directing my fervor against you – quite the contrary. That was the result of years of pent up frustration toward a Church that is asleep at the wheel!

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    • Todd Beal says:

      By the way Paulette, I appreciate the way you worked your way through this issue. Very few make the attempt at taking an honest look at something, whatever it is.

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