Tag Archives: overcoming challenges

How to Overcome Obstacles

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”
                                                                                                Colossians 1:10-12

Obstacles.

For as long as I can remember, encountering obstacles would make me crumple up in despair. Without attempting to overcome the blockade, I would remain trapped back where my dream originally began.

Not very productive, I know. 

So yesterday, while strolling along the Chattachoochee river and sipping on Haitian coffee, I wasn’t at all surprised when the Lord began to speak to me about this specific issue – my inability to consistently overcome obstacles. Instead of shying away from this holy and paternal insight on my life, I chose to meet Him with enthusiasm and wonder. I wanted to discover how this behavior could be overcome. No longer did I want to regret my yet unrealized dreams.

And this is where it all begins, beloved. With the desire to change.

What is an obstacle?

According to Websters, obstacles are defined as something that impedes (delays) progress or achievement; a barrier, a hindrance, or a blocking.

Even this definition alone makes me annoyed.

But, I challenge you to take a look at what some of our world’s greatest leaders have said concerning this issue of overcoming obstacles.

 “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
 
“The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” – B.C. Forbes
 
“Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory.” – Mahatma Gandhi

These leaders were great because they did great things. And they did great things because they simply overcame their obstacles. I want to do this, too.

How about you?

I want to be great through Christ. I want to own a successful company. I want to publish books. I want to speak more languages. I want to impact nations for Christ. I want to be a submissive wife. I  want to earn my PhD. I want a Bed ‘n’ Breakfast on a farm to host missionaries.  I want to learn to sail. I want an incredible marriage. I want to touch thousands upon thousands of lives (through His grace).

Deep within my core, I know these dreams will require much more than just a vision and good intentions to be realized. I will have to mature in overcoming obstacles in order to experience a life of greatness. And so will you, my friend.

What unrealized dreams do you have waiting at the doorstep of your heart?

Here are three ideas the Lord spoke into my mind yesterday afternoon:

1. Set your eyes on the goal, but don’t overlook the journey. I am a visionary, which means I naturally focus most of my attention on the expected outcome (the goal). Because so much detail and planning goes into the actual vision of the end result, I become incredibly distraught when things don’t go according to plan. Which leads me to the next point…

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

2. Remain flexible and seek alternate solutions. This statement is synonymous with two simple but important words: “problem-solver.” And this is not my forte. The idea of picking myself up (with the aid of Christ), contemplating a myriad of alternate solutions, and failing countless times before encountering success seems noble (yet daunting). But it’d be much easier to just cry and postpone the goal till a more “fit season,” delaying the gratification for another time. Many refer to this more candidly as “procrastination.” However, through the strength of Jesus Christ, we can persevere. The notion is simple: Don’t give up until you find the best solution to meet your goal.

“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11

3. Expect obstacles before reaching the goal. If we ever set out to change our reality by pursuing a dream or a goal, we must expect obstacles. Along with accepting that our plans may need to adapt along the way. Once we confront the obstacle, slow down, and begin problem-solving, then we can then truly determine if the goal is worth the pursuit. This often fuels a deeper sense of enjoyment and fulfillment once we finally obtain the goal or dream. All great things come at a great cost.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

May we press on to reach the goals which are set out before us and may the God Eternal receive all the glory! Know someone who would be encouraged by this article? Please pass it along using any of our social outlets listed below. Thank you for choosing HIs Daily Dose today!

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Victim or Victor: How Perspective Dictates Our Reality

Have you ever felt like a victim? Or, on the other hand, when have you felt like a victor? Interestingly, our tendency to feel one way or another is heavily dependent on how we choose to perceive our circumstances. In His incredible gentleness, the Lord has been reminding me of this truth once again. Allow me to share what the Lord whispered to my heart as we strolled among the morning dew.

“Christy, you are not a victim to the schemes of the enemy. Is the devil bad (and evil)? Yes. We know know that. Is he against you? Does he oppose you? Yes, we both know this as well. But, what about Me? Am I not the Victor? I have conquered the grave.  I am the Victor. I hold the Victor’s prize (crown). I am victorious. I am the Victor, Christy.”

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57 

“For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4 

Earlier this morning, I had woken up groggy and apathetic about the day because of eery dreams that plagued my sleep. As soon as I arrived at my destination (to meet the Lord and spend time together), my car died again (briefly). I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel discouraged and distracted. Then, as I walked to a quiet spot surrounded by the sounds of flowing water and birds chirping, my hot coffee spilled on me. My focus had shifted from Jesus (who I desperately needed) to my circumstances. I felt frustrated. Or, more accurately, I felt victimized by the whims of the enemy.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

As I plopped onto a bench and opened the Word, I cried out to the Lord and asked the Holy Spirit to guide me through His truth. And guess what passage screamed from the page?

“Shout for joy to the Lord; all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. ” Psalm 100:1-5

Talk about serving me  a piece of humble pie. I had forgotten that the best way to combat feelings of defeat was to praise God. Instead of concentrating on my challenges and the fact that the enemy was out to destroy me, I needed to be thankful. There was so much to be grateful for in that moment, and I just needed to shift my focus back onto the positive…back onto God.

This is what the Lord continued to speak to my heart:

“Do you want to focus on the person who has lost the game or the One who has won it? Satan is already overcome, Christy. His power is limited. But, I am not. I am the Great I AM. I have all power. I have all abilities, all knowledge, all wisdom, all the resources and encouragement that you could ever need. I am that One – Jesus Christ. And I am the winner. I have won this match over life and death. Don’t believe for one minute that you are overcome by his tactics, because you are not. Why? Because I live in you. The people that focus on the loser, Satan himself, hang their heads down low in defeat. Too many of my children do this. They’re always focused on being attacked and place entirely too much emphasis on the devil’s schemes to get them.

What about Me? I am the Victor and I live within you. Because I live within you, you must focus on Me. Remember, I take what the enemy intends for harm and I use it for your good. I alone have the ability to do this because I am the Righteous One. I am God. Stop fretting over what the enemy has done, and focus on what I have done. Meditate on My ways; spend time with Me. The devil is a con artist, a phony, and a liar. He tries to present himself as though he has already won, as though he has all the power, BUT he doesn’t. I do. And I live in you. This is incredibly powerful, beloved.”

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 

We all have a choice in how we perceive our reality. May you be encouraged with the knowledge that Jesus is the only One worthy of our undivided attention and the meditations of our hearts. When we focus on Jesus – who He is, why He died, why He (as part of the Trinity) created us, how He (as the only Truth) sees us, and how He has designed us to live on this planet – everything else falls into perspective.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

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The Cost of Impatience

For me, today is a day of vulnerability and honesty. In this trying season, I want to produce a harvest of that amazing fruit known as patience, which isn’t easy. In fact, I’m going to share my heart about a specific episode that prompted this season of travail and triumph.

On a recent Saturday night, Keith and I excitedly planned to dine out a new Midtown spot that we had had been talking about for months. To our surprise, everyone else in Midtown must have been thinking the exact same thing. Since no tables were available that night, we booked a reservation to sit at the bar, and we thankfully started to get dressed for our date.

 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Within minutes of placing our reservation, we received a phone call from the restaurant indicating that a table had indeed just opened up for 8pm, only 15 minutes after we originally planned to go. Now we were even more stoked and started praising the Lord for His favor! We arrived at the restaurant on time and had waited for about 10 minutes when the host politely suggested that we could wait at the bar, and perhaps even eat there if we chose. Not bothered by the brief delay, I jovially responded, “No problem. We’re patient, we’ll just wait to be seated at a table.” In retrospect, this statement was incredibly interesting, and shortly you will see why.

Praying for patience has a high cost, yet its reward is equally as high. Most importantly, patience is essential for our growth in Christ Jesus. He certainly is patient – no doubt about that.

Ten minutes turned into twenty minutes, which quickly turned into forty minutes. As Keith and I sat there wondering when we would be called to sit down, I watched the host lead one couple after another to their respective tables. The host continued to be polite and courteous, while I became progressively more angry as my stomach rumbled in agony.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20

Little by little, I would make remarks: “I can’t believe they are being seated…I hate waiting…I can’t believe we have been here this long.” But once we hit the forty minute mark, I said, “If he seats that couple before us, I am going to be furious. In fact, I am going to tell him this is very inappropriate.” Low and behold, that’s exactly what happened; I followed through with my threat, which precipitated the unfortunate outcome of that evening. As he finally called us up to be seated, I stared at him coldly and told him how incredibly disappointed I was in the situation. “I wish you would have never called us to tell us we’d be seated at a table at 8pm, when it actually wasn’t possible. You were very unprofessional and inappropriate.” I said a few other things, but we proceeded to be seated since we had waited so long.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Proverbs 18:21

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” Colossians 3:8

In all honesty, just typing that makes my stomach curdle and my heart break. I can’t believe I would ever speak to someone in this way, with such a calloused and cold expression. Of course, society would view what I did as totally appropriate, but I don’t serve society, I serve God, and He had a big problem with my actions. A complementary appetizer was provided to us, and I watched as the host nervously walked the floor every few minutes to make sure we were happy. My flesh thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

A few hours later, at 4am, the Lord woke me from my sleep and prompted me to crawl to my knees. God showed me how afraid this man and wife (the restaurant owners) had been about paying the bills, which is why he tried to squeeze in our reservation (to increase their income for the night). The more people eating there, the more money they could make to pay off debt. I was sick to my stomach. How in the world could I have been so hateful, so prideful, and so arrogant in that restaurant, acting like I deserved the best treatment? Who in the world am I?

I sobbed and begged for the Lord’s forgiveness. I had greatly sinned against the host, and I knew the words that I had spoken to him had pierced his heart. Because I chose to sin in my impatience, allowing myself to be taken over with anger, I then multiplied the sin by slandering the man through my rude behavior. The authority God has given me to influence others for Him through the use of words was greatly abused that night. I spoke death (words of criticism) straight into his soul. We must NEVER forget the power of our words.

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Yesterday (after four weeks), I knocked on the door of this restaurant and sheepishly requested to speak with the host. Although he wasn’t in, I left a letter to apologize for my pride and rudeness, and to request his forgiveness for my hurtful actions in sinning against him. I included a copy of my business card (for His Daily Dose) and a gift card to express my sorrow and repentance.

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24

“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” Matthew 5:23-24

In fact, the host may be reading this today. And if you are, I truly hope you can forgive me. Both your kindness in spite of my frustration and the powerful conviction of God Almighty have taught me a very valuable lesson. I am a Christian that deeply loves Jesus Christ, but I’m also a human being full of imperfections that makes mistakes. I’m thankful for the grace of Jesus today and every day, and I apologize that you had to be a part of one of my lessons. May you know that God deeply loves you, and He had a problem with me treating you any differently than Jesus Christ would – with respect, kindness, and love.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Beloved, if there is anyone you have hurt with words or deeds, seek their forgiveness. Regardless of whether you felt entitled to express yourself, we never have permission to be mean-spirited, to slander, to curse, or to hold onto the wrongs of others. That’s not scriptural, and those actions cannot be justified. We must seek to be in unity with others as part of the ministry of reconciliation. May we grow in this area of patience this week and may God receive the glory!

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