Are you good at makeup, organizing, decorating, math, cleaning, cooking, exercise, socializing, baking, talking, etc? I believe that God gives each of us unique talents and abilities, which we often take for granted because they seem “easy” to us.
On the other side, I’ll bet there are some things that you’re good at doing now, but probably not very good when you started doing these things. For example, when I first started ironing shirts, I was awful. But over time, I’ve become more proficient with practice and now I’m much better.
Instead of framing things from a failure and quitting perspective, let’s consider that most of the stuff we do is practice and we are on the journey of continual improvement. For me, this helps me stay away from shame, discouragement and even quitting. Let’s celebrate practice and stay away from failing 🙂
As much as I don’t want to admit this, I’m concerned that I have a disturbing pattern in my life: leaving things half done :/
While I don’t leave everything half done, there are definitely things that I don’t finish, such as: not completing my bookshelf project, starting innumerable books but not finishing them, doing half of the ironing, writing part of a story, etc. Of course this could be very discouraging if I let myself quagmire in this awareness, but I have a fail-safe solution: God doesn’t quit!
In Philippians 1:6 it says, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Be encouraged that you’re a masterpiece in the making & the Holy Spirit is continuing to shape & grow you, never quitting, getting discouraged or giving up on you! God’s not finished!
I just finished taping the video curriculum for my book, Heavenly Help. This is noteworthy because I taped it the first time in August last year. That attempt was an exercise in frustration from start to finish. I was still recovering from a concussion that I suffered from a snowboarding accident, there were all kinds of technical difficulties, we had production challenges & it just wasn’t good. Today is an entirely different experience & heaps more effective!!
This encouraged me to remember the value of persistence & not giving up when I get discouraged. Be encouraged! Just because you try something & it doesn’t work, doesn’t mean you should automatically quit & give up. Some things require some persistence & trying again 🙂
“Where is Jo-Jo?” I’d circled through the stark malnutrition clinic in Angola with Saving Moses, looking for the struggling little baby that I’d met just before we took a break for lunch. I remembered seeing Jo-Jo’s mom: she was extremely tired and her nerves were obviously frayed. But I was hopeful for Jo-Jo, since she was in our clinic now and could receive some medical care and a steady supply of the malnutrition formula that has kept literally thousands of babies from dying.
I talked with my friends about Jo-Jo over lunch and I was eager return to the clinic and encourage her mom that we would do our level best to help her frail daughter to survive and even thrive. I walked through our clinic again, slower this time, looking for little Jo-Jo in her bright red shirt. I couldn’t find her so I asked our translator to check in with the nurse to see where Jo-Jo was. “Her mom took her and left,” was the nurse’s reply. “We have to find her! She doesn’t stand a chance of surviving without our help! Where’s her file, find her address, call the phone number, let’s go to her house, let DO SOMETHING!!!” I was really upset and I could tell the nurse was also very disturbed. We looked at Jo-Jo’s chart, found a phone number and only the name of the neighborhood where she lived, since Angola doesn’t use an address system like we do in the US. There was no chance of finding her in the neighborhood listed, it was HUGE. When we called the number listed on the chart, there was no answer. So how could we keep trying to find Jo-Jo? Could we send someone to her neighborhood in the very remote chance we’d find her?
We did this and we kept calling the phone number, but we never found Jo-Jo and given the extremely frail state of her little body, I would suppose that she died. This has really bothered me for a very long time because Jo-Jo’s mom seemed to have given up all hope for her daughter to live. What kind of hell does a mom go through to get to the point of giving up hope for her baby to live? Could I have been more sensitive to the mom’s exhausted state? What would I do differently in this situation for the future?
Some things are deeply disturbing and this is probably a good thing because such experiences can interrupt our comfortable living and provoke us to bring genuine love and life to the world in which we live. Let’s keep looking for ways to let God love the world through us.
We have all had our share of setbacks & mishaps, no matter if you’re the best or worst planner in the world. When something bad happens that you didn’t expect, it’s not the time to have a melt down. In fact, in the face of adveristy & setbacks, it’s often the best time to test your grit & resilience.
For example, this morning I read about how Jesus delivered two men from demonic possession & instead of their town being excited about such wonderful news, the town turned out to demand that Jesus leave their vicinity. While the town’s rejection could have been framed as a debilitating setback, Jesus chose to move on to the next town. The town’s rejection didn’t affect His identity.
Don’t let setbacks, rejections, shortfalls or the unexpected poison your soul. Get up & keep going because Gal 6:9 says that we’ll receive a reward if we don’t quit or give up! Don’t forget that Heavenly Help can be extremely helpful with strengthening your soul!
I like progress, improvement and growing. I like being better today than I was a few months ago – and this is in every area of my life: physical health, intimacy with God, quality relationships, effectiveness with Saving Moses and LOTS more! I don’t like to be stagnant or stationary and I totaly LOATHE going backwards. So here are a few things I’m learning of late about progress:
sometimes progress is incremental and gradual rather than gigantic and massive
progress can happen in different contexts: doing PT with a recent shoulder surgery, I’m learning that progress happens in several ways (getting stronger, more flexible, getter ability to use, etc)
progress requires committment to change – if you don’t want to change, don’t expect to make progress
celebrate progress no matter the size or context: acknowledging progress breeds more progress
sometimes what seems like a step backwards is actually progress moving forward – don’t get discouraged
encourage others who are trying to get better
keep going: sometimes progress seems to be stagnant, but often these seasons of pause are nothing more than plateau set ups for greater progress if you’ll just keep going
progress requires truth; deception is the enemy of genuine growth & development 🙂
I’m back in India having been here about 3 years ago & I’m looking forward to another adventure. Three years ago (maybe 4), I came here for the purpose of starting nightcare with saving Moses. My first attempt was almost comical now that I have some hindsight. I had some very grandiose plans in my thinking & they quickly evaporated into thin but very humid air.
Now that I’m back, I still have it in my heart to start nightcare here & I’m praying for God to direct our steps, relationships & the time we have here.
For the ideas & dreams that God has put in your heart, here is some encouragement (feel free to forward to anyone discouraged):
*dont quit – it’s easy to be discouraged with set backs, but make the decision not to quit
*let God help you grow in the process of achieving these dreams – be a better & not bitter person through the process
*trust God – lets fully embrace the truth that God is good & loving, causing all things to work together for our good as we stay in love with God 🙂
I was in 5th grade when I first tried to play basketball & I was 100% horrible. Neither of my parents are particularly athletic nor did they have alot of athletic background or experience. Furthermore, we didn’t have lots of sports stuff when I was growing up so my recess basketball games at school were the extent of getting some initial experience. For whatever reason, I wanted to be good at basketball so I decided to keep trying even though I was awful. I didn’t have much success at the beginning of my efforts, but I kept trying. I had horrible shooting form because I wasn’t strong enough to get the ball to the hoop. I couldn’t dribble to save my life & I was more uncoordinated than any 5th grade girl in my class, but I kept trying. When I entered 6th grade, I joined a school that had a girls basketball team & I shockingly made the Varisty squad, but was soon demoted to JV, but I kept trying. Throughout my middle school years, I continued to play basketball & because I kept trying, I began to improve. When I was in 8th grade, we had a freethrow competition to see who could make the most free throws out of 50 attempts. I tried really hard & came in 2nd on my team. I went on to play basketball in high school and kept trying to get better. I continued to improve and was privileged to be on a team that went on to win the state championship 🙂
Moral of the story: long-term success requires that we keep trying
Happy post Thanksgiving! I hope your day went well, with lots of peace, joy and enjoyable food 🙂 A few days ago, I posted about how I don’t really care for cooking turkey because of the litany of failed attempts my family has endured over many years. Well, I’m happy to report that yesterday’s turkey was totally tasty! It wasn’t burned, not too dry, not undercooked nor any of the other ways that I’ve ruined turkeys over many years – yahoo!!!
So here’s some encouragement. Think of something that you’ve been trying to get good at for a long time, then consider a few things:
perhaps the lessons you’ve learned from the failures just helped you to understand better what doesn’t work
be thankful that you don’t have to make the same list of mistakes – you can make new ones
perhaps you next attempt will be the one that brings you success
if you next attempt doesn’t succeed consider that you’re one step further from failure & closer to success 🙂
When I was recently in Angola with Saving Moses I had an experience that has really been haunting me. If I understood the situation correctly, I met a mom who had seemed to give up hope on her baby surviving and I’m deeply affected by this – so much that this experience is really starting to challenge some of my thinking. I think that there are situations where I quit too easily for various reasons (disappointment, discouragement, lack of progress, bad reports, setbacks, etc). Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean that I should quit or give up. And even if I’m only making microscopic progress, I’m challenging myself not to quit.
I’ve read lots of things that encourage us to persevere, don’t quit, endure & keep going. The Bible applauds faithfulness & endurance on multiple occasions. But I think that we have to be careful that we don’t let the “endurance” trait to justify being stubborn & refusing to change.
I want to endure & be faithful to Jesus & Give Him the total freedom to change & shape me to be more & more like Him. For me, it’s cool to be stubborn in keeping my relationship with Jesus vibrant but it’s not ok to be stubborn & refuse to change or grow – that kind of stubborn is brittle & very susceptible to being broken 🙂
Earlier this year, I began to write my first Saving Moses book. When I’ve written books in the past, I’ve found it to be most helpful to take several days by myself and to totally submerge myself into the writing and then come up for air three or four days later. It sounds intense and it is 🙂
With my Saving Moses book, however, I’ve been trying a different approach. Throughout the first few months of this year, I would take one day a week and devote it to writing about my journey along the incredible adventure of growing with Saving Moses. Truthfully, the one day a week approach isn’t as efficient for me as the totally submersion technique, but at this time in my life, this is how I can make some incremental progress and that’s ok 🙂
The glitch came in April when I had to take a pause for various reasons. I knew that this pause would be for a few months, but now finally today, I get to pick up where I left off with my writing. So here’s my point – just because you have a pause on a goal doesn’t mean that you have to give up and quit. Sometimes a pause can give you some time for reflection, course correction, better focus and greater effectiveness. Don’t quit!
I live in Denver & its snowing today – so beautiful & it reminds me of an important lesson!! When I was in Jr High, I wanted to be really good at basketball (a winter sport) & I knew that I needed to practice ALOT – I wasn’t very good at all. Nevertheless, I remember going to the neighbors house with the basketball hoop & shoveling their driveway LOTS of times so that I could practice layups, etc. I made it a habit that I would shoot no less than 1-2 hours a day after school everyday, no matter what the weather was. I was totally into basketball & was committed to getting better! I did get better but clearly didn’t go on to be any kind of a basketball star. Nevertheless, I walked away from this time in my life with the firm conviction that improvement & progress toward a goal requires steady & consistent persistence.
In my life today, I don’t have the luxury of massive amounts of discretionary time. So the way I look at this idea of steady & consistent persistence in my current life is to do something everyday related to the goal that I’m trying to accomplish. Some days I make huge progress & some days I just make a little, but its progress nonetheless. So keep shoveling! ,)
Sometimes I think we get a little ramped up about making achievements & if you’re like me, it’s disappointing when I don’t make the progress or goal that I want. But maybe God’s objective for us isn’t always the goal or achievement but rather the strength that we develop from trying. Maybe God’s goal is to help us develop endurance & persistence. Maybe God’s goal is a deeper revelation of Who He is to us even more than any achievement, prestige, or recognition.
Maybe we would be able to see greater value in the process than in the outcome, if we pause & listen for God’s wisdom, just maybe ,)
I’ve never been too afraid of adventures – my normal way of living goes as follows: if i’ve never done something before, let’s give it a try & see what happens! Because of this strategy, i’ve tried my hand at making bread, generally learned to bake a chix (yes, I’ve made progress from my last blog), paragliding in China, picked up snowboarding in my late 30s, learned some basic NT Greek, honed my crossing guard skills, spoken in more than 30 different countries & I even enjoy eating durian (google for more info), among many other things.
Some of these things may sound pretty cool to you, but let me tell you the mistakes that went with these adventures:
burned countless bread attempts
more than 10 yrs of baked chix attempts,
dislocated my shoulder while paragliding,
got a concussion through my helmet while learning to snowboard
Greek – lets just say i’m still learning
i didn’t tell you about the parents who have almost hit me while doing traffic, despite wearing my bright orange safety vest 😉
learning to speak w a translator has had more than a few comical & embarassing moments
durian – that’s altogether its own topic
Here’s my point: take some risks, make mistakes, learn & grow. Life can be full of “whoops”, but they usually precede some really cool things if you just stick w it!!!