Stay in the Game
It’s easy to have a good attitude and pursue your dreams as long as everything is going your way. That doesn’t take a lot of faith. But what about the difficult times when a relationship doesn’t work out, you get a bad health report, or a friend does you wrong? It’s easy to lose your passion when you are hurting. Many people are sitting on the sidelines of life because they’re injured. They are nursing their wounds and not moving forward because of what they’ve been through.
You may have a reason to feel sorry for yourself, but you don’t have a right. God promised to give you beauty for those ashes. He said He would pay you back double for the wrongs, but you have to do your part. If you are to see the beauty, if you’re to get double, you have to shake off the self-pity. Shake off the discouragement and get back in the game. We all have wounds, but you can’t let a loss, a health issue, or a divorce be your excuse to sit on the sidelines. Sometimes in life you have to play in pain.
If you are to become all God created you to be, you can’t let an injury, hurt, or disappointment cause you to sit on the sidelines, either. Bandage what’s hurting. Forgive the person who did you wrong. Let go of what didn’t work out and get back in the game.
Keep the Right Perspective
We all face challenges, but it’s not the size of the problem that’s important. It’s our perception of that problem. It’s how big or small we make it in our minds. When Moses sent twelve men to spy out the Promised Land, ten came back and said, “We’ll never defeat the inhabitants. There are giants in the land. They live in fortified cities.” But the two other spies, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a different report. They said, “Yes, the people are big, but our God is bigger. We are well able to take the land. Let us go in at once.”
Both groups saw the same giants and the same situation; the only difference was their perspective. One group focused on the size of their God; the other group focused on the size of their enemy. Out of the two million people camped next door to the Promised Land, only two made it in, Joshua and Caleb.
Could it be that your perspective is keeping you out of your promised land? If you see your challenges as impossible and you tell yourself, “I’ll never get out of debt, and I’ll never overcome this sickness, and I’ll never accomplish my dreams,” then just like them, your wrong perspective can keep you from becoming all God’s created you to be.
You Can Handle It
We all go through disappointments, challenges, and unfair situations. It’s easy to let it overwhelm us to where we think, This is too much. I can’t deal with this illness. I can’t handle this difficult child. I can’t take this traffic. This relationship issue is going to be the end of me. It’s driving me crazy. I give up. It’s over.
God would not have allowed it if you couldn’t handle it. But as long as you’re telling yourself it’s too much, you’ll talk yourself out of it. Have a new perspective. You are not weak. You are full of can-do power. You are strong in the Lord. All through the day, whether you’re stuck in traffic or facing a major disappointment, your attitude should be: I can handle it. I can handle this grouchy boss. I can handle this difficult child. I can handle these people talking about me behind my back. I can handle this legal situation. You can’t have a weak, defeated mentality. You have to have a warrior mentality.
The apostle Paul put it this way: “I have strength for all things through Christ who empowers me” (Philippians 4:13). Listen to his declaration: “I am ready for anything. I am equal to anything through Him who infuses strength into me.” Paul was stating, “The enemy may hit me with his best shot, but it won’t stop me. I’m more than a conqueror.”
Your Second Wind Is on the Way
We all grow tired sometimes, tired of trying to make a business grow, tired of dealing with a sickness, tired of raising a difficult child, tired of being lonely and waiting to meet the right person. We can even be doing what we love, whether it’s living in the house of our dreams, raising great children, or working at a good job, but if we’re not careful we can lose our passion and allow weariness to set in.
The word weary means “to lose the sense of pleasure, to not feel the enjoyment that you once felt.” When soldiers are first sent overseas, they’re excited. They can’t wait to make a difference. Then when the battle goes on and on, fatigue can set in. The same can happen to any of us who’ve been fighting for something over a long period.
The problem is that when you allow yourself to become weary, you’ll be tempted to quit—to quit growing, to quit standing for that wayward child, to quit believing that you’ll become healthy and whole, or to quit pursuing your goals and dreams. On the way to our victories we will always face the weariness test. We will be tempted to become discouraged and give up. The test never comes when we’re fresh. It never comes when we first start out. It always comes when we’re tired. That’s when we’re the most vulnerable.
The apostle Paul said in Galatians 6:9, “Don’t grow weary in doing what’s right, for in due season you shall reap if you faint not.” Two words are the key to this whole passage: faint not. In other words, if you don’t give up, if you shake off the weariness, if you put on a new attitude knowing that God is still in control, if you dig your heels in and say, “I’ve come too far to stop now,” if you “faint not,” you will see the promise come to pass.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to start things—a diet, school, a family. Starting is easy. Finishing is what can be difficult. Almost any young lady can have a baby, but it takes a mother to raise that child with love and care. Any two people can get married, but it takes commitment to stick with it for the long haul. Anyone can have a dream, but it takes determination, perseverance, and a made-up mind to see it come to pass.
The question is not, “Will you start?” but “Will you finish?” Will you finish the diet? Will you finish school? Will you finish raising your children? Many people start off well. They have big dreams. They’re excited about their future. But along the way they have some setbacks. It’s taking longer than they thought. Somebody didn’t do what they said. Over time, they get discouraged and think, What’s the use? It’s never going to work out.
But God is called “the author and the finisher of our faith.” He has not only given you the grace to start; He has given you the grace to finish. When you are tempted to get discouraged, give up on a dream, give up on a relationship, or give up on a project, you have to remind yourself, I was not created to give up. I was not created to quit. I was created to finish.
You have to shake off the discouragement. Shake off the self-pity. Shake off what somebody said. If you will keep moving forward in faith, honoring God, you will come into a strength that you didn’t have before, a force pushing you forward. That’s finishing grace. That’s God breathing in your direction, helping you to become who He created you to be.