It is natural to avoid hardship. No one wants to struggle. No one wants to suffer. But what are we sacrificing in our avoidance of the struggle? What are we forfeiting as we make where we are comfortable enough to stay, instead of moving forward to where we are called?
What holds you back? Ultimately it’s the stories you believe. Everything you believe either holds you back or propels you forward. Your beliefs are causing you to settle for just enough, or they’re pushing you on to the fullness of life Jesus came to give you.
What have you believed, and is it even true?
I grew up with the most fun-loving mom who made every day an adventure. She taught me how to make everything more exciting and memorable. She also taught me that being skinny was more desirable than being healthy, and people like us weren’t made to be skinny. She taught me the best meal was the missed meal. It was better to just not eat, and if you did eat, make it 5 crackers and a Diet Coke. She taught me feeling good in your jeans would require misery in the process.
So, I believed her. I believed health was less important than a flat tummy. I believed crackers and Diet Coke were the perfectly proportioned meal, and anytime I ate more than that I felt guilt. I believed misery would be required to look good, and eventually I was so tired of the misery, I gave up. Why? Because that’s what my mom taught me to do. I simply believed it.
Now that I know better, I can do better.
You’ve likely been told things that simply aren’t true. You’ve believed mis-truths and you’ve built your life on them. And honestly, when you look around, you know better. You know it’s not right. Now it’s up to you to do better here Sis.
The Israelites were God’s chosen people, destined for a Promised Land that would flow with milk and honey. You know why it was called the “Promised Land”? It was because God had promised it to them. It was for them. He was making a way out of captivity in Egypt, through the Red Sea, and into the Promised Land for them. But something happened along the way that changed the course of their lives. What happened is they believed the wrong story.
As the Israelites fled from Egypt, they were miraculously guided by God. Exodus 13:21 “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”
Then, God does the impossible to protect them, and he makes a way right through the Red Sea. Exodus 14: 21-22 “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”
And of course God provides food for them miraculously. Exodus 16:4 The Lord says “I will rain down bread from heaven for you.”
These people have undeniable PROOF of God’s guidance, provision and protection. All of this happened in a matter of days. Shouldn’t their confidence be through the roof? Shouldn’t they know God is doing the impossible on their behalf? Shouldn’t they be rip roaring ready to see what in the world God is going to do for them next?
And shouldn’t you know the same? Hasn’t God brought you through some impossible situations in the past? Hasn’t he always provided for you? Hasn’t he made a way when there seemed to be no way? You’re just like the Israelites with chapters and chapters of God’s mighty works on your behalf. Now, what will you do with that moving forward?
Here’s the mistake the Israelites made … they stopped. They got scared, they got overwhelmed, and they stopped.
Why? Because 10 of 12 people told them it would be too hard. For real, that’s what happened. They came to the border of their Promised Land, and they sent in 12 spies to check to see what the land and the people there were like. The spies came back with one cluster of grapes that was so large it required 2 people to carry it. Figs and pomegrantes too. And for people standing out in a wilderness where absolutely nothing grew, this was huge! Provision was in abundance in this land just ahead. They had proof!
But, there was one problem. The people already living on this land were big. 10 of the spies said these people were giants and they made the Israelites look like grasshopers. But 2 of the spies said in Numbers 14: 7-9 “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”
But who do you think the Israelites listened to? The 10 who spoke in fear, or the 2 who spoke in faith?
I don’t even need to tell you this because you know for yourself, but the voice of fear is loud. Fear takes ahold of us and causes us to forget everything we know. We lose sight of all God has already done for us, and we forfeit what he was going to do next.
Has fear caused you to forget what God has already done, and forfeit what he was going to do next? How much longer will you listen to that fear? How much longer will you be held back by the stories you have believed?
The truth is, this land had been promised to the Israelites. It was theirs for the taking. The way had been made, but the way was not taken. Ignoring the 2 who spoke in faith, they listened to the 10 who spoke in fear, and they turned an 11 day journey through the wilderness into a 40 year wandering.
40 years. All of them, except for the 2 spies who spoke in faith, died in their wandering. God ensured the 2 who believed would live to see the Promised Land. Entire generations died, and the next generations paid the price.
My sister, understand, the stories you believe not only affect you, they affect the generations after you. I still battle with the stories about food told to me by my mom. Once I knew better, It was my responsibility to teach my daughters better.
Are you teaching the same old stories that screwed you up? Are you passing down fear instead of faith? Are you missing what was always for you, and staying stuck in what was just supposed to be the way there?
Stepping into the fullness of what God has for you won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it. His promises are true, and his promises are for you. No more dismissing yourself from them. No more allowing fear to hold you back in a life short of the promises that are yours.
Get yourself in the midst of the right people who speak in faith. 2 believed. 10 did not. Do the math. That’s 83%! 83% will speak negatively and dismiss the possibilities. Only 17% will dare to believe God will do what he says he will do. That means you will need to drown out the overwhelming majority of the voices, and be intentional with the ones you listen to.
Who are the voices you can trust? Where are your 17%? Now where are the 83%? TURN THAT NONSENSE OFF SISTER!
God is teaching you better now. And when you know better, you can do better. As you start doing better, you show others how to do better.
May you be one of the few who speaks into the possibility and believes every word of God’s promises. May you refuse to believe the stories that tell you otherwise. May you remember what God has already done, and know with absolute certainty he will finish the good work he started in you!