Overcoming Obstacles

“And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5

We push. We pull. Straining, agonizing, worrying, and fighting. Sometimes we are victorious and sometimes we are not. Overcoming is hard, but it is possible and it is worth it. Think about all of the things that you have already overcome. As a baby, you overcame and learned to walk. As a child, you overcame and learned to read and write. (You may still be struggling with fractions but, even that can be overcome.)  

When we overcome in areas that challenge us, we are encouraged to keep fighting and overcome in other areas of our lives. The Bible tells us in Romans 5 that “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Therefore, we can face James 1:2-3 head on and know that we will come out on the other side victorious.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

As hard as it is while we are in the process of overcoming to stay positive and “glory in our sufferings”, it is the reflection on our “sufferings” that produces the perseverance we need. When we see and really realize where we started and how far we’ve come, we are encouraged and can therefore encourage others, even while we are still suffering! This changes our character. We are no longer the weak person we once were. We have overcome something significant and we are changed because of it. This contributes to our future hope. Hope in God and hope in ourselves. We know we can do it next time because we’ve done it before.

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with (perseverance) endurance the race God has set before us.” Romans 12:1

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Resolutions – The Revised Version

beautiful bloom blooming blossom

Photo by David Brezina on Pexels.com

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

We all do it. 

We SAY we are going to do things differently THIS year. We have a bag full of resolutions that we intend to start the new year with. Then, one by one, they fall away and reveal the same old person we have been forever. 

So, take a moment. Really reflect on your core person. This is what you are trying to change and make into something you think is better. However, change is hard and most people HATE it. 

Why are you doing it, again? 

Let’s take a closer look at your motivations. WHY do you want to change something? You need a reason that is going to keep you motivated for the rest of your life, not just for this year. Because real change requires real sacrifice and real work. And real change, not a resolution, is what you want. Are you trying to change because YOU want to, or for someone else? You have to be personally invested in the change or it will not happen. 

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

For example, most people want to lose weight or get in shape. Gyms make the bulk of their money in the first few months of the year due to “resolutions”. Why? To look better? To feel better? To live longer? What’s YOUR motivation? Instead of resolving to lose weight and get in shape maybe you should resolve to eat healthier and exercise more. Forget about setting unattainable goals that will just end up discouraging you and eventually causing you to quit altogether. Set a goal for TODAY.

TODAY I will eat healthier than I did yesterday. Make one small change. Drink a bottle of water instead of a soda. Or, for every soda you drink, drink a bottle of water. Eat five less bites. Or, pause for five seconds between bites. Start with one meal then move on to another. Don’t rush your change, THINK about it. Remember your reasons for changing.

Also, find someone to keep you accountable. Journaling is a good way to keep up with your progress, but, the journal is not going to call you when you are skipping workouts or eating like a garbage can. Find someone who will encourage you to meet your goals, not tear you down and make you feel worse.

Speaking of goals. Let’s revise this whole “resolutions” idea. Resolutions have lost their meaning in our society. We set them and break them like that’s how it works. The true definition of resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something, yet we treat it like it is temporary. Since that seems to be the case, let’s change the word to goals. Make a list of the things that you most want to accomplish, no more than twelve, and start to plan.

Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord! Lamentations 3:40

Set daily goals, weekly goals, or monthly goals. Take small bites of the progress you want to achieve. Do you have a goal to read the Bible more? Set a daily goal for five minutes or  five verses. DON’T bite off more than you can chew. If you are reading for application, five might be all you can handle! Meditate on those five minutes or verses. What do they mean? How do they apply to your life? What does God want you to know about Him through that reading? Don’t rush, THINK about it. Again, journaling is a great tool to help you get the most out of your time with God.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:10-11

God wants you to be successful! Lean on Him when you feel discouraged. Call that accountability partner. When you fall down, get back up and try it again. Remember the real definition of resolution and strive to achieve it.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Accountability

I did it. 

I joined an accountability group. 

As much as accountability scares me, I knew it was the right thing for me to do. I need someone to call me out, congratulate me, encourage me, and, most especially, pray for me. As a group we decided to each choose a word for the year and share it with each other. We have prayed about what our word should be and the purpose of the word in our lives. 

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

My word for this year is follow through. Yes, I know technically that’s two words, but it has the one definition I need for my year: “to press on in an activity or process especially to a conclusion.” I chose this word because I have been having a hard time with it. There were so many things I wanted to do last year (and, in the previous years) that I didn’t accomplish because I didn’t follow through. I didn’t. It is no one’s fault but mine. I do not want a repeat of the disappointment I experienced, therefore, I am focusing on following through.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

I would encourage you to do the same. If you are a list maker like me, make a list of what you want to accomplish this year, break it down into manageable “bites” and make a plan to follow through. Ask some trusted friends to help keep you accountable and look forward to a fabulous year.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. Ecclesiastes 4:9

 

Intentional

Good Morning!

I know it’s been a while, but there was a good reason. I’ve created a 40-day devotional titled Intentional – Developing A Deeper Relationship With God. I have been working on it for several months and it is now available on Amazon in print (recommended) or ebook.

All profits from the sale of this devotional go straight back into funding future mission projects and to purchasing the devotionals to give. I have intentionally priced the devotional for only $6 so that you can buy one for yourself and buy one to give to a friend or family member.

The devotional is intended to help you draw closer to God through a series of questions, applications, and reflections. It calls you to be intentional in your worship, your service, your witness, your study, and your communication with God and others.

Thank you all so much for your continued support.

Intentional – Developing A Deeper Relationship With God