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It happens to the best and most exuberant of us all. You’re moving forward in faith to pursue a dream you believe the Lord has given you, you have the achievable goals set and you’re almost in a full on sprint to the finish line – only to realize your plan isn’t lining up, your goals are not being met and you’re completely out of breath.
Did you hear wrong? Did you plan incorrectly? Did you overestimate your ability? Were you even supposed to start?
When I realize I’ve been questioning my life’s calling or even my momentary dreams – it’s typically after having spent days spinning on these same questions, endless worst case scenarios falling to lower and lower depths and I end up doubting my purpose for even existing. Sounds dramatic, I know, but if we’re honest most all of us have experienced these quiet storms that live in our minds.
(Don’t worry, I get to encouragement soon)
As a precursor to the remainder of this article, I’ll quote an older post on dreaming and perseverance:
[/et_pb_text][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”Blurb” title=”%22Dreaming must always be defined by what the Lord is speaking. This will always be confirmed through trusted leaders and friends that you are walking out life with.” url=”epiclifecreative.com/dream-hope-run” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” icon_color=”#c6d022″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#c6d022″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#c6d022″ icon_placement=”top” animation=”top” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_icon_font_size=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_blurb][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
So what do we do when we believe we’ve heard from the Lord and we feel ourselves facing an insurmountable wall?
Recenter on Jesus
If there’s one thing I know, it’s that discouragement does not come from the Lord. As we can instantly identify that any point of discouragement does not come from Him, we can invite Him into the middle of it. He’s quite large enough and strong enough to handle all our fears. As we invite Him into the midst of it, He comes with His peace.
Take a moment as soon as you realize the spiral has been rolling to find a quite place, even if for just a few moments. Pray a prayer along these lines.
Father, I know You are good even though I don’t always understand. You know my anxieties and my fears, and you care about each one of them. Right now, Father, I ask in Jesus name that by the Holy Spirit you would come into my anxieties. I invite You and Your peace into (name the situation or dream). Thank you for who You are. Help me know You more deeply in the midst of this. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Refocus on the dream
Take a moment to look again at the dream or calling. As you look at it with your heart open, ask Jesus if there are any aspects of it He wants to change or if there were any steps we may have thought we needed to take that we actually didn’t. Try this with a blank piece of paper in front of you and a pen in hand and just listen. Write down anything you think you may be hearing.
(Side note: on more than one occasion, the Lord has given me one dream that just got me ready for the next. If I were still holding onto the first dream I was given, well, among many other things, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.)
It is important that we remain open to the Lord to change and update as He wills. It is not that God is changing His mind on what He wants us to do, but that He was showing us one step in order for us to get to the next.
I love this step! Take a moment to recount God’s faithfulness in your life. If you can, get another piece of paper. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind places of the Lords faithfulness and start writing them down. This can be in any area of your life, from loving community to financial provision.
Next, remind yourself that many giant dreams have small beginnings. We cannot discount God’s faithfulness in what we may consider “small provision.” $1,000 is made up of 100,000 cents. Make a list of all the smaller places you have seen the Lord making a way for you. Conversations that sparked encouragement, leaders that spoke wisdom, financial provision, etc.
While things may not be complete yet, they are on their way!
To finish up, much of my discouragement I’ve felt through the years has come from making far too much of resistance I am facing and focusing on it instead of on Jesus.
Resistance Strengthens Us. Like with working out, when you want to see growth you don’t stay at the same weight, you increase the resistance. When we recognize that we are facing resistance, we can retrain ourselves to look at the benefit of it rather than the inconvenience of it.
Resistance Boldens Us. Does any good athlete who’s behind at halftime turn to their team and say, “let’s go ahead and just let them win?” No! It emboldens them to fight harder for the win, and they rally the team behind them. When we recognize that we are facing resistance we can choose to step up our game and fight harder.
Resistance Means We’re Doing Something Right. For many reasons, both spiritual and physical, we can see this truth. Back to the working out analogy – you don’t increase the weight until your ready for growth. So if there is “weight” being added, it’s because you’re ready for growth and God sees that. On the flip side, if it is a dream the Lord has given you then you can be sure that the enemy will want to bring discouragement. If he’s trying to slow you down, it means he’s concerned with your progress and that you’ll get to the other side, so be encouraged. When we recognize that we are facing resistance, we can be encouraged that we’re doing something right, and it’s confirmation to continue.
Resistance Points Us Back to Jesus. Be so encouraged, if you feel weak – you are! Resistance reminds us of our inability to fulfill anything God has called us to on our own. He designed it that way because He wants to strengthen us in the journey! When we recognize that we are facing resistance, we have an awesome opportunity to strengthen ourselves in the Lord who’s strength is made perfect in our weakness!
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