If you’re struggling in some area of your life with the same stuff year after year and it seems like you always get so far and then never go beyond that, you need to fight fear with a plan.
As a little girl growing up and going on vacation with my family each summer, on the last day of our trip just before heading off to the airport, I would stand on the pier overlooking the ocean and think, “I wonder what my life will be like next year at this time.” And of-course, many changes would take place throughout that following year – some years, it seemed nothing significant would really happen; other years, I would undergo major events.
I know I’m passionate about teaching people how to let go of their pasts and get their eyes on a vision ahead, but just for a moment, I want you to look back over the past year and recognize if you’re still dealing with the same issues you were last year at this time. Has much changed over the past year? What about your weight? Are you still struggling with the same 10 pounds you were last year at this time? What about your savings account? Has it grown? Or has it not moved? Has your marriage changed over the year? Or are you still struggling with the very issues you were last year? What about your relationship with the Lord? Has it grown or is it pretty much the same?
In recent years, I recognized that I was battling the same challenges and same struggles year after year after year. Although changes had taken place in other areas of my life, I couldn’t figure out why certain issues stayed the same. I got out my journal one day and started flipping back to see what the Lord had said to me in my quiet times with Him, and even His words to me hadn’t changed! The wording was a little different but the instruction was the same. Then, I read this statement that explained everything:
“God will not advance your instructions beyond your last act of disobedience.”
Wow! Could it be that I wasn’t doing something God told me to do and that’s why I was still “circling the same mountain” year after year after year? Or could it be that I was only doing part of what God told me to do? Look at the story of Jonah in the Bible. God clearly told him to go to the city of Nineveh, and Jonah went in the exact opposite direction (disobedience). What happened? He got swallowed up by a mess of problems! He had no vision, no hope; he was trapped by his circumstances, miserable, depressed, you name it. Then, once he finally cried out to God, the fish spit him out and God said… “Jonah, go to Nineveh!” In other words, God’s direction never changed. All that happened was Jonah wasted time and went through needless torment simply because he didn’t do what God said the first time. Or…God did not advance his instructions beyond his last act of disobedience.
We all want to be in God’s perfect will. We ask Him to talk to us and lead us into His will for our lives, but many times, what He’s telling us to do and what we want to do aren’t in agreement. But in reality, deep down we know what God is saying. I believe we doubt our ability to hear from God because it just hurts too bad so we don’t take it seriously or we just do part of what God said to do. Remember, partial obedience is still disobedience! And disobedience keeps us locked in our situation producing confusion, lack of peace, stagnation, misery, and on and on.
The reason I know so much about this is simply because I’ve cried out to God (like Jonah) and His instructions never changed. What God wanted me to do was not what I wanted to do and it kept me trapped in my circumstances.
Did it hurt to obey? A giant YES! But the pain does go away. I used to tell myself consistently, “One day it won’t hurt.” I can tell you, first hand, the results of disobeying God never go away. That’s a misery that eats away at your inside because you know what to do but you’re not doing it.
If you’re struggling in some area of your life with the same stuff year after year and it seems like you always get so far and then never go beyond that, you need to see if you’ve done (fully done) the last thing you know God told you to do. If you know you haven’t, then make a decision to press through the pain by doing these 3 things:
#1. Get alone with God. Talk to Him about everything: the pain, the hurts, the fears, the way you feel. Get it all out in the open before God. He knows what you’re going through and how you feel anyway, so just talk to Him about it. Feel safe to have open dialogue with Him because He loves you. Admit your total dependency on Him to help you do whatever He asks of you.
#2. Hear the Word. Order some new CDs from your favorite preachers and set a goal to consistently hear the Word at some time each day. If you need your desires changed, you have to change what you give attention to. Give more attention to the word than to how you feel. Let the word change you from the inside out.
#3. Speak the Word. The most powerful weapon you have is your own mouth. Start confessing that you are “willing and obedient” to God’s instructions. Say, “Lord, conform my will to your will.” And choose to obey. Like my Dad used to tell me when he was correcting me as a child, “Terri Lynn – obey quickly and quietly!”
In other words, don’t reason with God, don’t justify why you keep putting it off. Just do it. Remember, God always rewards obedience and next year at this time . . . you won’t be where you are today.