Sometimes in all my writing and encouraging others I forget to encourage myself. I focus on being of help to others while silently allowing doubt and fear to keep me from stretching out and reaching for those things that I aspire to. After reading the fourth chapter of Job I realized that in spite of how great a man he was revered as, he had the same issue. His friend Eliphaz had to remind him to, " Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands.Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Should not your piety be your confidence..." (Job 4:3-6 NIV). This passage helped me to remember that these feelings come about because I am human. It even happened to Job! But, staying in these feelings and allowing them to suppress my drive and ambition is unacceptable. I find myself at times thinking of every excuse for why something won't work, that I forget to focus on the benefits that will be gained when it does work, causing me to settle for less than the best. I began searching within myself to figure out when did I start placing limitations on my potential and abilities. This is not who I am. Apparently I'd let the adverse results of previous ventures deter me from embarking on new ones. I saw getting a result other than my desired one as bad, rather than different, causing me too look at less-than-perfect circumstances the same way. I began looking at things through the eyes of the 10 spies rather than living up to my to middle name, Joshua. While the spies saw the giants in the land of Canaan, Joshua and Caleb saw a land of milk and honey! "Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, 'We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it" (Numbers 13:30 NIV). Joshua and Caleb only focused on the reward and were eventually the only 2 of their generation to enter into the land. Only a few will have the vision to see greatness in the midst of adversity, and even fewer will have the courage to attain it. Don't let anyone or anything cause you to falter on your journey to success, not even your own mind.
Thinking back on the previous two parts of the series, we discussed the fact that we can not let our setbacks hinder us from completing the work that still lies ahead of us (Part 1: There's Work To Be Done). Then, we talked about recognizing when the situation isn't really about us, but rather something that has an effect on us because of our association (Part 2: It's Not Even About You). Now, what if it really is about you and you've made to decision to continue doing the work that is set before you but you are still not seeing the results you envisioned? We have to realize that It's All About The Timing. We can not speed up nor slow down the process, just be ready. The saying is true, "Opportunity only comes once in a lifetime." So we have to do our due diligence in preparing for that defining moment. Have you ever wanted something but didn't quite have enough to get it? So, you spend the money you have on something else and a couple days later it goes on sale! That happened to me recently and I was heartbroken. I realized that by being impatient, I missed out on my blessing. It wasn't meant for me to have the total amount for the item because when the time was right, I wouldn't need it. I think about David running out to fight Goliath after hearing him curse God. David's older brothers tried to hush him up and send him home because they were afraid that he would get himself killed, or even or worse, get them killed. But what no one else knew was that David had been preparing for his defining moment while tending to his father's sheep. "Saul replied, 'You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth'. But David said to Saul, 'Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them..." (1 Sam 17:33-36 NIV). Dealing with adversity while tending to his father's sheep built David's confidence for this very moment. Many times we allow obstacles to serve as stumbling blocks rather than stepping stones due to our outlook on them. Some of us seem to think that, "nothing good ever happens to us," but, in reality we are being trained for our defining moment! It took David having to fight LIONS and BEARS in order to not only possess the skill, but gain the confidence to defeat Goliath. And, it was his defeat of Goliath that propelled him to the kingdom of Israel and right hand man to the King, a position that he would eventually occupy (which we talked about in Part 1). So, when you start to think, "nothing good ever happens to you," remember that you are in preparation for that defining moment. It's All About The Timing.
If you're anything like me, it takes a lot to truly get you down. I've learned to take many things in stride by understanding that God knows all and, His will is more important than my own. That doesn't mean that I don't find myself disappointed when I make plans that do not fall into place. Sometimes I tend to forget that "Planning Life Without Considering Life's Plan For Me" typically leads to a dead end. I've always loved the Serenity Prayer, especially the beginning, "God grant me the serenity to accept the the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." We too often worry about things we have no control over and allow them to hinder us from moving on. We let the hurt caused by the actions of others to depress us, or allow the disappointment of not getting a promotion to discourage us from doing our best. We cannot be held hostage by our "feelings." After Saul was rejected as king of Israel, the Prophet Samuel mourned to the point God had to ask him, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king" (1 Samuel 16:1 NIV). Even Samuel had to be reminded that there was still work to be done! If you've ever experienced heartbreak, disappointment, discouragement, etc then you know that it can affect every aspect of your life if you let it. We can miss out on greater plans that God has for us if we can't relinquish past disappointments. God sent Samuel to annoint David as king to replace Saul. Yes, the same David that killed Goliath, was considered a man after God's own heart, and would produce the bloodline that Jesus would eventually be born of! What a consolation prize that ended up being! So, regardless of what situation you are recovering from, sit down and ask yourself: Why Are You Still Crying? There's Work To Be Done.