(NaturalNews) The world is beating a path to the door of Nick Vujicic.
When I called, his publicist was managing 8,000 press inquiries and turning down 300 speaking engagements per week. The meteoric rise of his evangelical ministry, LifeWithoutLimbs.org, and for-profit motivational speaking firm, AttitudeIsAltitude.com, is becoming the stuff of legend. Why?
Nick was born without limbs. Arriving in this world without warning of his condition or any medical explanation, his father had to leave the birthing room to vomit. The nurses on duty broke out in tears and the doctor refused to show the baby to his mother.
Gaining fuller consciousness of his extreme disability; realizing he would never wrap his arms around his mother's neck or hold hands with his future wife, Nick attempted to drown himself in the bathtub at age eight.
Now, Nick holds a double degree in accounting and financial planning. As a speaker he has traveled across twenty-four countries and spoken to three million people face to face, with crowds of up to 110,000 people. He is the President and Founder of two companies and has been invited to address world leaders in business, government and religion. He brings his message to schools, universities and prisons - and there seems to be no end in sight. Nick has crossed every boundary.
"That's the wonderful thing about my life," said Nick. "People can relate to a man without limbs, but not because they can relate to anything about my brokenness. They look at my brokenness and they know I have credibility because I'm wearing a smile. I've got peace in my eyes. I have confidence in life and achievement and success. Everyone wants those things - and all of a sudden people are envious of a man without arms and legs."
Whether or not you believe his message of hope in heaven, there is no question that his life is extraordinary. While his message is not new, his delivery is unprecedented. Nick is singular, and a man who has taken unimaginable misfortune and turned it into an unlikely gift for millions.
As an aside, this interview is the lengthiest ever published in the five-year history of Healthy Times Newspaper. I couldn't get myself to cut any of it, so we made space.
Mike: In the midst of the global meltdown, what do you have to say to people who have experienced loss?
Nick: It is such a trying time for everybody. The global economic crisis started coming to the surface when we were in the middle of a world tour. We saw how the effects were coming through, even to the poorer countries like Liberia and Ghana and the not so developed parts of Egypt. It's amazing to see how it ripples.
Basically, there are truths throughout life and principles we can adopt that help us stay the course in times like these. I'm not a person to say that I understand anybody else's pain, but I will say this: We put so many things up as security in our lives. We have security in our relationships. We have security in money and possessions, materialistic things and pleasures as well. However, one of the things I learned as a kid - if you put your happiness in temporary things, your happiness will be temporary. It is very possible to be complete on the outside, but broken on the inside.
I can be angry for what I don't have or I can be thankful for what I do have. Right now everybody is focusing on what they've lost and it's so painful, you know, losing something. But we still have some things to be thankful for.
Gratitude is fundamental to keeping positive attitude. I've met so many kinds of people. I've met orphans. I've met sex slaves, people dying in hospitals - and they are still grateful for things in their lives. I've thought to myself if there are people out there with less and they are grateful, then what is that?
I believe everybody can have a real perspective. One of the things I've realized in my life is that being in a broken home, for example, is worse than having no arms and no legs. Perspective is such a key. What can heal a broken heart? Drugs, sex and alcohol don't fill the heart like love, joy or peace. And money can't buy those things. A billionaire on his deathbed isn't going to ask for another business deal. Let's make some more money. He'll be saying, "I want peace with God. I want peace with my creator. I want peace with my family." Those things come free.
I'm just talking about things in life that actually matter, like knowing that together, in time and with unity, we can overcome any circumstance. Not to say that anybody understands my pain, but to say that I am not alone.
I have been to a point where I felt like I had nothing. At age eight, it's not like I lost something, I just felt like I had no light at the end of the tunnel. It was like I was in a dark room and that was the scariest time of my life. Here I was in this pain that no one could understand. Nobody could help and no one could explain. When I cried, all I could ask for was someone to hold me while I cried, but that doesn't change my circumstance.
I didn't really feel like there was any hope for me at all. I went to a mainstream school. The Australian school used me as an example to integrate the first special needs child into a mainstream school in 1989-1990. You know, the fact of that was that everywhere I went I had a lot of unwanted attention.
Kids these days, they'll tease you if you've got a crooked nose. Well, I was no exception. It just is one of those fears that we all have to deal with. F-E-A-R. I think that is the greatest disability of all. When you don't know what you can achieve until you try it, what if you never get the courage to try? Courage is so important. When you are in a business and it collapses, will you have the courage to keep going? The courage to try again, or will you give up?
Maybe something is around the corner. I tell many people you don't know what's around the corner. There is hope around the corner until you give up. They can do anything they put their mind to. This kid came up to me, he's six foot seven and he said, "Nick, I was going to tell you something." I said, 'What?' He said, "I don't think that everything is possible. I've got a disease in my body that makes me grow too tall." He says that in three years he will be more than seven foot and that he will never be able to fly a plane because he is too tall. He says, "Nick, it's not true that everything is possible."
I said, 'You are absolutely right, but don't give up.' I said, 'You don't know what's around the corner.' I saw him at the school a year later and he came up to me crying, crying, crying. I'd forgotten who he was. I speak 250 times a year. He reminded me of his story and he's crying, crying, crying and he says, "Nick, these are tears of joy because you told me, thank you for your advice." He says, "You told me to keep on going and don't give up and see what's around the corner. I picked up a guitar months later and I am now in love with my guitar. I'm now in a band and loving it. I've never been so happy."
So, just because we lose something or something doesn't work out the way we hoped, it doesn't mean that all is lost. FEAR: let me give you the acronym for fear. False Evidence Appearing Real. That's in the context of irrational fear that can disable you more than having no arms and no legs. Think about that for a moment. The cure for FEAR is FAITH, which stands for Full Assurance In The Heart. That is talking about discovering the truth of the value of your purpose and your destiny. I'm not less valuable if I've just lost a million dollars. I'm not a failure if I just failed at a project. Every failure is a step closer to success if you refuse to give up.
Mike: I've been considering your point on gratitude. What an extreme test of the principle. You are talking to people who have lost everything. Many people in western society have lost their home; they've lost their retirement or their job. Or, you talk to people who've lost their innocence, or a loved one, or live in a war torn society, or the sex slaves that you've worked with.
And here you show up and say, "I want you to be grateful regardless." I can't imagine a more extreme test of the principle. When you've lost everything, how do you get yourself to be grateful anyway?
Nick: This is where my faith comes out. Without my faith in God, nothing makes sense. If this life is it for me, then that's it! But, that's not it for me. My hope is in heaven and my hope is knowing that there is an eternal glory waiting for me. It is while I am here that I can actually use my circumstance to bring someone else to the knowledge of coming to the truth of heaven. Now, if you look at it that way, if I lose my mother to cancer, I would be able to encourage someone else whose mother also died of cancer to let her know that they are not alone and that God is with them. That's the strength.
Mike: So, hope is only for believers?
Nick: What hope is there, Mike, that we can give to a woman who was kidnapped at ten years old and had two kids while she was a sex slave. Then her child died and she is now HIV positive at the age of twenty? Her parents don't want her anymore. What is her hope? There has to be an absolute truth. There has to be an absolute hope, like you said, that crosses all circumstances because it is so painful out there.
She came up to me and said, "God chose not to heal me of HIV or AIDS, but I know I can still have a purpose in my circumstance to bring another woman to Jesus Christ. For me, without my faith, without God, I would have committed suicide already."
Why doesn't God give me arms and legs? So I can be an encouragement for somebody else. That is the line. If I don't get a miracle, then I am the miracle for somebody else. Let's say you went through your most difficult struggle and in the end you met somebody else who was going to commit suicide and they said to you, "How did you get through what I am going through right now?"
See, last year I spoke at a church and there was this little boy with no arms and no legs. The doctors had told his parents, "We don't now why he was born that way. He's going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life. He's not going to walk, he's not going to go to school, and he's not going to do anything. They had no idea of any other baby that was born that way. Then, I just happened to be at their church last year and there we were. The father brought him up on stage and you could hear a pin drop in front of three thousand people. They all started clapping because they saw a miracle with their own eyes.
I have no arms and no legs and no matter what pain I go though, I can be a miracle to someone else and my hope is nothing less than my salvation in Jesus Christ. You can pop out my eyes, take off my nose, pull out my tongue, chop off my ears and burn my body, but you can never take away my salvation, joy and peace that I have inside.
Mike: You're as clear as can be and I appreciate your testimony. And I still feel like you're saying that non-believers can have no hope.
Nick: Let me tell you this. Let's come from a logical point of view first. You can have a million dollars, but can still be miserable while you're driving around in your fancy car. Some are so rich on the outside, but they are drowning on the inside from guilt and shame and fear and regret and all these things. I am the richest man on earth because I have no more fear, I have no more guilt, I have no more shame and that is, to me, what the real value is.
There was an older man in Buffalo, maybe three weeks ago, where the plane crash happened. Forty-four people died in Buffalo. We arrived there the night before. This man is in the cafe and he was telling this younger guy about how he doesn't believe in divine power at all. He says, "I envy religious people because they have a joy that I don't have. They have a peace that I don't have. But, I just can't believe it." Well, if you see that I am enjoying a piece of fruit and that I'm tasting and seeing that it's good and you are seeing that it's good, you won't know for your self until you take a bite of it.
Anyway, if I'm an inspiration to people, then that is my inspiration. For anybody who doesn't have faith in Jesus Christ, I'm not going to say they are going to hell. That's not my place. But the bible clearly states that there is nothing on this world to live for. There is a God shaped hole in all of us, a piece that's missing.
It's the only reason my parents stuck together, because couples with disability-affected children typically get divorced. But, because they believed in God and they took one day at a time, they've seen the fruit - and do you think they are proud of me? Absolutely. Do you think they had to trust God? Absolutely. Do you think they were scared? Absolutely. But, that is when we turn to the bigger power.
I can tell you story after story where teenagers come up and say, "I was looking in the mirror this morning with a knife in my hand. This was supposed to be my last day at school and you saved my life." The parents say, "Nick, you saved my daughter's life. Her new birthday is February 6th. It's been two years since you saved her life." And you know, Mike, I can't even save myself. I'm an evangelist and I can't save anybody. Not even my own soul. It's the Holy Spirit, not me.
Mike: You said live without fear. Do you? You don't have fears, anxieties?
Nick: Put it this way, when I have fear, I have courage to overcome it. Good thing you brought that up. It's not that I don't have fear. Fear has zero affect on me, because my courage is bigger than my fear. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is being able to do things even when you are afraid, not relying on your strength, but on God's strength.
I can't trust myself, you know. Trust. The things I have had to learn about trust with people looking after me! My parents trusted strangers to look after me. You know, you can only be so careful with your life. You don't want to cross the street because you are going to have a car accident. You don't want to fly because you're going to die in a plane crash. Well, that's fear. What are you going to do? Sit in corner? You have to trust. You have to go out and try. When you fail, you have to go out and try again. You make the most of it.
Mike: Making the most of it seems to be an understatement in your case.
Nick: It is. It is not natural. It is supernatural. It's not my strength. It's His strength. Like you said, it's not about a life of survival, it's about thriving.
Mike: As I watch the video clips of you and see how people respond, amazed and touched at how you've overcome and thrived, I have the same response. At the same time, there is a part of me that wants to say this is just a guy, a normal guy. Everybody has tough trials. My trials are pretty intense to me. Everybody's got them and they are hard to bear. Your trials are unusual and you've done extraordinary things, but part of me wants to say, Nick, you are a guy just like any other guy.
Nick: You got it.
Mike: You know what I mean? That's it. You've got to get up in the morning. You've got to get dressed. You go about your day and you have your goals and your challenges. You've got stuff you want to do and you experience frustration and joy. You are a guy just like me or anybody else. Is that part of your experience?
Nick: Yeah, you hit the nail right on the head. That's it. I've got my issues. I've got things in my non-profit I have to deal with and in my for-profit that I've got to deal with...and I have back pain, too. I don't always wake up in the morning with a smile on my face, no way. But because there are powerful forces in my principles, I keep taking baby steps, baby steps. Things don't change overnight. Some things never change.
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