I am part of and speaking at an upcoming conference this Saturday, April 20th, 2013 being done by Elevated to Excellence, a ministry started by Christina Williams, which speaks value into the life of every person. The theme for this conference is “VICTORIOUS” . . . and right now, many of us on the team do not “feel” that way as has been evidenced by the flood of emails the “team” has been sending back and forth over the last two weeks! I know all of us, me included, have been feeling the onslaught of the enemy these past few weeks in every area of life imaginable! What I know to be true is this . . . EXTRAordinary obedience unleashes EXTRAordinary favor from our Lord which is why there has been EXTRAordinary backlash from the enemy!
And so . . . after three months of silence and not writing anything for my blog, “Fresh Start 007”, I felt led to put this together to encourage and uplift all of us who are in the trenches!
DON’T GIVE UP!!! Many times I have stood on my balcony at home which overlooks green hills and I can’t help but be fascinated with the idea that we, all of us, find the evidence that we go looking for.
For example, these hills, are they a barrier or a challenge? Are they too tall to hike over or a wonderful journey to climb?
Whatever we go looking for, we will find. When we believe that we are not enough, we will find evidence in the world to support that belief. Not because it’s true, but because our minds tend to find what we go looking for . . . even if it isn’t always there.
In my old house, I had an unobstructed view of the Saddleback Mountains. Thinking of a mountain, or even a hill, is a great example for the challenges in our lives. What if it were true that the obstacle, mountain or hill was the path we were supposed to be on?
A few years ago I can remember talking with a man who asked if he should take the MCAT (“Medical College Admission Test”). He was a couple years out of college and instead of becoming a doctor he was working for a limo company, driving for a living. He went on and told me a wonderful story about how after college he traveled to China and taught. It helped him to realize that he wanted to work overseas.
When he came back, he tried to look for a job for about six months, but then gave up. Even though he had found that he wanted to work overseas, he still wondered if the journey he had taken to China had actually changed his life.
I remember asking him what he learned. He told me that he had learned that he wanted to work overseas and that he must be patient. Yet, when he got back home, he started hanging out with all of his old friends who had a different mind-set and standard than what he had acquired while he was overseas. Slowly and surely he began to sink back into his old mind-set and set of standards and, before he knew it, he had re-adopted his old habits.
Scripture tells us: “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find.” Proverbs 12:25-27 NLT
In other words . . . we need to be careful about the friends we choose to spend time with. Why? Because, for better or worse, our friends will “rub-off “on us!
This young man looked for a job for six months and then gave up. The story he made up was that it was just too hard to find a job, so he might as well not even try. Ends up he took the same approach with taking the MCAT tests. I asked him what his biggest challenge was in taking the MCAT. He said it was the money.
Not knowing anything about the cost of an MCAT exam, I was thinking that it was going to cost him about $2,000 to take this test. When this young man told me the cost was $150, I knew something was up. So I chose to go a little deeper with him.
He mentioned that he did not feel academically ready to take the test and that if he took the test and failed, it would be hard to face that kind of failure.
Let’s take a look at this person’s psychology. That is to say, his state of mind. He was basically looking for evidence to support why he was not “good enough.” He was looking at that “MCAT Mountain” as a setback and a stopping point instead of as a challenge and a journey.
I suggested that he could take the MCAT many times and each time get better and better because he would know what areas to study. I also suggested that he hadn’t looked for jobs in EVERY country he wanted to work in (which was a list of about ten countries outside the US). And, I also mentioned that he had adopted the mindset and standards of his current group of friends, and most of them had either resigned or given up on the future in some way.
You see, it’s very rarely the conditions of our lives that stop us, but what we MAKE UP about the conditions of our lives. After our chat, he decided to go look for more jobs AND apply to take the MCAT. I never saw this young man again. It was a one-time divine appointment. Only God knows what happened. All I know is that it was amazing how a brief conversation with a stranger could change a life.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are there any places in your life where you’ve given up?
- Are you surrounded with people who push you to the next level?
- Do you have people in your life who encourage you to believe in yourself?
- Do you have cheerleaders in your life?
- Can you decide to see the mountains in front of you as a wonderful challenge and journey instead of a stopping point?
Let me know.
Romans 8:31, 35-39 NIV
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.