How do you “keep on keeping on” in the midst of struggle and stress? How do you keep doing right when everything feels so wrong?
Even when you are walking in your purpose…You will STILL GO THRU something! There is no short-cut, quick road to success and excellence. So when troubles, transitions and contradictions arise remember these things:
#1 Keep an Eternal or Long View Perspective
Ask yourself the question: “Will what I am struggling with, brooding and stewing over really matter 200 years from now? A year from now? Will I remember this? Will anyone else remember this? Is it really that important? This is especially true when it comes to other people – their opinions, who’s mad at you, who likes you, who said/did what, etc. If, in the grand scheme of your life and purpose, you determine that it does not really matter in the long view, then why is it dominating your mind in the short-term view? What is another thought that you can chose think about instead of this issue that years from now you may not even remember or if you do it will seem very insignificant?
We are reminded in Colossians 3:2 (AMP) to “Set our minds and keep them set on things above (the higher things), not on things of the earth.” Simply put, this means to elevate your mind to think the way God thinks, to see and function at a higher level. This requires not allowing yourself to get overly bogged down in your earthly, fluctuating circumstances as if they are permanent and forever. Eternal things are forever. Your earthly circumstances are not.
#2 Do Everything for the Glory of God
While you are in this earth realm, you are living in an earthly body which is the temple of God, if you are a believer. God dwells in you. You are a carrier of presence of God. You are called and chosen to bring glory to God while you are living until He calls you home. This perspective will enable you to endure and go through the hard stuff when your feelings want to quit. Why? Because if your motives are all about self, you will quit when life gets too hard. Impure motives involve doing things for the wrong reasons – to impress others and receive praise, to get a “like” on social media, to be seen, to feel good about yourself based on your smarts, performance, possessions, and other selfish reasons.
If you do things for the reasons above, instead of for the glory of God, when the results you want do not manifest and things go wrong, you will quit, murmur and complain. Yet, if you know that taking care of your family responsibilities even when it is hard, being good to people when they are not so good, leading, sacrificing and making a difference for God’s glory (not your own gratification and puffing up), then you will do it knowing that God is watching.
That thought alone is enough to help you do right when it feels wrong. If you are doing out of a love of God to honor Him with your life, then He will provide the enabling strength and the grace to endure. If you don’t serve for the glory of God, you will serve from your own strength in a spirit of striving because your motives stem from the ego or flesh and not from Him.
#3 Recognize & Appreciate the Sovereignty of God
The last time I checked, God is God. He is not taken by surprise by our circumstances. We are. Nothing catches God off guard. But we are often caught off guard. God does not fret about what went wrong. Why should we? In His Sovereignty, he allowed the situation to come about the way that it did. He allowed it to further His purposes in our life and for His eternal purposes that we know not of. Our free will choices and the choices of others are still under his Sovereignty.
We must remember what Romans 8:28 says: All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. They work together for good, but may not necessary feel good.
And when we fret, fume and fuss, the devil goes and tells it in hell to the rest of the demons about how easy it was to get us out of our peace and make us useless that day. Why should we give the devil ammunition and reason to laugh at our fretting instead of simply trusting in God’s timing and sovereignty in our lives?
#4 Learn to Lean on God and Love You
Dwell in and spend time with God daily. You need God’s strength, grace and power so that you become more rooted, grounded fixed and founded in His Love. It takes effort to keep your mind on Him and His love for you but so very critical to your emotional and mental health. Without knowing and receiving God’s love on a daily basis you will never really learn to accept and love yourself as a fearfully and wonderfully made man or woman of God.
This is the process of healing and deliverance and it is also the process in which we finally learn to forgive ourselves and accept ourselves for the person we are right now and are in the process of becoming. This is not a license to remain stuck in sin but rather an acknowledgement that you are not perfect, but are a redeemed, whole and loved child of God, ever growing and being changed from glory to glory as you learn to lean on Christ.
The offenses, experiences, and struggles that cause you to doubt yourself, feel rejected by others must be dealt with and not pushed to the side or swept under the rug or you will attract more of the same thing. We must allow God to heal those emotions and learn to forgive self and others for the past. How does beating yourself up, feeling ashamed and condemned about your past help? It does not! It keeps us stuck. We must learn how to love and trust again.
#5 Every Experience is a Lesson – Don’t take it so Personal
It happened. Yes it did. Once we absorb it and think about it, no matter how painful is, at some point in order to move forward and live again, we must learn the lesson and let it go.
Instead, what we tend to do is to take the lesson plus the pain and all of the extra baggage, plus a big dose of shame, condemnation, blame, and a host of other negative emotions and drag it around with us forever.
We take every offense and experience personally and allow it to penetrate our heart and sit there long enough do significant damage. This is what causes us to stay stuck and struggle. This is what delays blessings, progress and full manifestation of all of the prayers we keep praying. We just have a hard time letting go of stuff. Every single situation and relationship problem is an experience. We do not have to let it linger. Observe it and your response to it. Detach emotionally to think clearly, long enough and logically enough to learn the lesson. Ask God to help you, give you wisdom, heal you and guide you in the situation.
Do the best you can and keep it moving. It is an experience to be learned from but not the focus of your entire life. It is not something that you must cling to, drag around and nurse in your head and heart forever. Let. It. Go.
#6 Guard Your Heart & Renew Your Mind
In Proverbs we are called to keep our heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23) We are also commanded in 2 Cor. 10:5 to cast down imaginations (thoughts) that exalt itself against the knowledge of God. We are called to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
If you fail to keep your heart, cast down thoughts contrary to God’s word, and renew your mind, you will do the opposite of what is listed above in items #1 through #5.
Instead of keeping an eternal perspective you will…
Live a low level life with a temporary, transient world view. You won’t arise above your circumstance long enough to fulfil your God ordained purpose.
Instead of doing things for the glory of God you will…
Do things for the wrong reasons (people, possessions, positions, and platforms) and become frustrated when you achieve your goals and find out it was all wrong and instead of feeling fulfilled you still have voids.
Instead of resting in God’s sovereignty when things happen that you do not understand you will…
Always be fretting and frustrated and the devil knows that if he can keep you in this state, you won’t be very effective as a Christian.
And finally, instead of leaning on God and learning to be loved and how to love again, you will….
Lean on your own understanding, never get real and be healed, and live a surface, shallow type of life. You never really fully learned how to walk in and receive the healing, the wholeness and fullness of life that Christ offers. You did not want to take the time to be still long enough to know God and His Love because healing can be painful at first.
Beloved, let this not be your testimony! Don’t give up doing right when everything in your circumstances scream and you feel all wrong on your job, in your home, your marriage, with the kids, ministry, business, etc.!!! Be steadfast in your eternal perspective. Hold your ground for the glory of God. Remember that He is Sovereign and don’t let the devil gain a foothold laughing while you fret. Lean on God and learn to love again. Keep in the mind that it is an experience to learn and not an offense to carry around forever. And finally, above all else guard your heart for out of it flows your very life.
Until next time, remain blessed and in Him,