Have you ever felt like you’re trying so freaking hard, but not really making the progress worthy of your effort? Like dang, why am I not further along than I am? Why is this taking so long? Why am I so tired? Why isn’t what I’m doing working?
Well, have you stopped to see what you’re tangled in? What are you dragging behind you? Why are you stuck? What is causing this drag and is there something you can do about it?
Earlier this year I hosted one of our BIG Life Retreats in Florida. On adventure day, I took everyone out on kayaks to the most beautiful fresh water springs along the coast and we swam with the manatee. It was a glorious experience. These beastly sea creatures would ever so gently come up right under your kayak and in their curiosity, they just hang out with you.
At one point in our adventures, my kayak partner, Jen, and I climbed back into our kayak after a swim and we began paddling back. We both noticed how tired our arms were. It had been a long day on the water. We noticed how slowly we were making progress. The wind must have been blowing hard against us, but we couldn’t really feel it on our faces. We looked around at everyone else, wondering if they too were struggling to paddle as we were, and nope … they were blowing right by us with laughter and very little effort. Dang, we must have been in a bad current.
I thought of every reason why this was so hard for us and how we would just have to keep pushing through. With our arms on fire, I said to Jen, “Gosh, it’s crazy how much harder it is now than it was before. It’s almost like we’re dragging something.”
Silence. It was if time stood still and my mind took time to rewind to see myself in slow motion throwing out the anchor to swim, climbing back in the kayak afterwards and setting off on our hard paddle. THE ANCHOR WAS STILL DRAGGING BEHIND US. No, our arms weren’t just really tired after a long day on the water. No the wind wasn’t blowing hard against us. No, we weren’t caught in a bad current. We were dragging our own dang anchor!
It’s amazing how zippy Jen and I were after we lifted the anchor. We were like Olympic level kayakers, barreling through the springs!
How many times are we going through life, dragging anchor and complaining how hard it is? We’re blaming it on everything and everyone else, but the truth is, we’re struggling because of what we’re dragging behind us.
Hebrews 12:1 “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
What is hindering you? What has you all entangled? Seriously, Sis, what’s holding you back?
The funny thing is, we grow accustom to our struggles and make friends with them instead of trying to figure out why we’re struggling.
WHY ARE YOU STRUGGLING? Why has this become so hard for you? Are you going to continue to blame it on all these things you can’t control, or are you going to really check and see if there’s something you need to throw off?
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed aches and pains in my body that I assumed were just normal as a girl like me who’s always been 30 suddenly wakes up in her mid 40’s. One particular pain was in my ankles. Every morning when I would wake up, I could barely stand because of the pain in my ankles and the top of my feet. I would hobble around for the first few minutes of every day until eventually the pain would go away. I assumed this was just part of growing older.
Then I took my body through a 14 day cleanse where I eliminated practically everything other than fruits and vegetables. Would you believe, this pain in my ankles and feet completely went away in those 14 days? What is this magic? Oh and the huge puffy bags under my eyes that I had dealt with for 20 years were suddenly significantly reduced. My hands weren’t all swollen when I woke up.
I know this is crazy and probably super duper rare, but get this … I WAS EATING THE WRONG THINGS!
I know, I know, I know, I’m probably the only person in the world who was eating food that wasn’t good for their body. I know I probably stand alone in this, but my body was responding with unfavorable symptoms because of the food I was eating. This probably doesn’t apply to you in any way … right? RIGHT.
Ends up, while my mouth loves dairy, I mean like loves, loves, loves every kind of cheese ever created, well … the rest of my body doesn’t. All that cheese I was eating on the daily was causing a whole lot of problems I had been trying to make friends with.
Girl, stop making friends with your problems and figure out what’s causing them!
THROW OFF EVERYTHING THAT HINDERS AND THE SIN THAT SO EASILY ENTANGLES. You’ve got a life to live and you’ve got to stop making it harder on yourself than it has to be.
Is this speaking to you yet? Are you checking your life’s boat to see if you’re dragging anchor?
Okay, let me throw out another personal example. Once again, I’m absolutely sure I’m like the only person in the history of ever to struggle with this one, but I was struggling with getting done all I needed to get done in a day. It was like time passed so quickly and I was always feeling stressed and behind. I had such a hard time focusing. I was always scattered, here but not fully here, busy but not efficient or effective. At the end of the day, I had very little to show for the hours I had lived.
DRAGGING ANCHOR! There was something that was hindering me. Something I was totally entangled in. On a quest to figure out what my anchor was, I started becoming more aware of my habits and tendencies. Guess what I was doing … go ahead and take a wild guess. I was constantly checking my phone.
Yip, my eyes were fixated on my little 3 x 6 inch screen, scrolling. Every second I wasn’t busy doing something else, I was mindlessly on my phone. And many of those seconds I should have been doing something else, but I was distracted and stuck in a black hole that was sucking my time and attention.
So, I cut the line. Yip. I did something drastic. I deleted all social media off my phone. It’s gone. Now in order for me to be on, it is intentional time sitting down with my iPad or laptop. Not in my truck, not standing in line at the store, not when I should be working out or focusing on more important things. It’s not there, I can’t do it. It’s been deleted. And I figured out this much as well … I can’t be trusted to put it back on my phone. I go right back to dragging anchor again.
Oh it took some time to break the habit of grabbing my phone every 90 seconds. It took some serious breaking up with my continual need for entertainment and distraction. But now I find myself getting more things done in a single day than I was doing in a week. I find myself coming to the end of the day actually knowing what I did, and being proud of what I did. I find myself more engaged with my own life and less engaged with the lives of random people spending their lives trying to show me only what they want me to see.
God has given you this life to live. This is your race to run. What is hindering you? Don’t just assume there’s nothing you can do about it, dig deeper. Jim Rohn, one of my very first teachers and mentors said, “If you don’t like where you are, move! You’re not a tree!”
Along with this life God has given you, he has also given you a supreme power above all the other creatures he created. You have the power to think and reason, the power to make decisions and make changes, the power to figure out what is hindering you and cut that line!
Why do you feel the way you feel? Why do you struggle with what you struggle with? Why are you where you are today?
Could it be what you’re eating?
Could it be what you’re drinking?
Could it be who you’re hanging around with?
Could it be what you’re watching, reading or listening to?
Could it be when you’re waking up or how you’re waking up?
Could it be that little habit?
Could it be that guilty pleasure?
Could it be that thing you didn’t do, and you know you should do, but you really don’t want to do it?
Could it be that thing you know you shouldn’t do, but you really like doing it, so you just keep doing it?
Could it be that thing you’re thinking about right now … and now you want to pretend like you weren’t thinking about it, because dang, that’s probably it.
Lord, what are we entangled in? Is there anything we can do to move forward better? What are we missing? What are we overlooking? What are we dragging behind us, causing us to struggle when this struggle was not designed by you?
May you be so bold as to cut some lines today. Delete if necessary. Eliminate as needed. Make a change. Do something radically different. Make big, bold, courageous commitments and tell others about it.
Confess it, ask God to help you with it, and start paddling a whole lot easier, Sis. I am. Join me.
A girl like you wasn’t made to be dragging anchor. A girl like you was made to be moving forward in this life, making progress, and going places! Let nothing hold you back from living the life God created you to live!