How often do we refuse to listen to God or the Spirit speaking to us because we are stuck on the certain way we desire for ourselves?
I think too often we become comfortable with where we are in life. We become lazy. We live with the small confines of our comfort zone.We are afraid to take chances. We are afraid to put in the extra work because we can’t see what the results of it may be.
The story of Mathew 25: 14-29 comes to mind when I think about this topic. I think about the third servant who was too afraid to do anything with the money he was given. So rather than try to multiply it or invest it, he dug a hole in the ground and hid it. He was so afraid he might lose what he already had that he didn’t see the beauty of possibility. He didn’t see the beauty in growth. He didn’t have faith.
I think that sometimes we use social media, Netflix, the internet etc. as crutches. They are excuses we use to remain stagnant. They are excuses we use because we are lazy and fear the trials that growth may bring.
They are excuses we use because we are too afraid to stand on our own; we are afraid we are not strong enough. We fear what lies ahead of us: the overwhelming reality of education, relationships, finances, and spiritual strength.
In turn, these crutches cause us to lose sight of who we are and our purpose. These crutches also cause us to lose sight of God.
We must get rid of these crutches in order to find our strength. We must spend time alone to GROW our individuality and to grow in our relationship with God. Because once we know our authentic selves and have an image of who God intended us to be, we can better serve the world.
“What we need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. That test is part of the purpose God had for us in the creation.”
This spiritual preparation greatly prepares us for our lives here on earth. Spiritual and temporal self-reliance are absolutely necessary if you are to succeed. We need to be self-reliant because ultimately we are in charge of our own lives.
We are the pilots. We are in charge of navigating the obstacles ahead. Pilots don’t focus on their next flight, they focus on getting all those on board safely to the ground before moving onto the next. Similarly, we don’t need to focus on future tasks or trials; we need to focus on the present. We need to take it one day at a time. We need to focus on our daily tasks and growth so we can thoroughly prepare ourselves for whatever the future may throw our way.
“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things…I am tempted to think…There are no little things.”
How powerful is that?! The tiniest decision we make during your day can have great consequences in our lives!
For example, one day you may decide you are too tired after class or work to start an assignment or do chores, and decide to watch Netflix instead. You don’t feel guilty about it, its just one day right? Well then tomorrow comes, and you find yourself in the same situation. You think again to yourself, “it’s just one day, tomorrow I’ll be better.” Before you know it, you’ve gotten into a cycle. You’ve established a new routine for yourself. And if we can agree on one thing, it’s that routines are hard to break.
Routines are extremely easy to establish…scarily easy in fact, yet horribly difficult to get out of. And soon you’ll find that the little decision you made one day turned into a never-ending cycle.
This analogy can be carried over into many aspects of your life. Another example may be daily scripture study. “I just don’t have enough time,” you say. Well you had enough time to scroll aimlessly through your phone for 30 minutes, so you certainly have time. And scripture study is something you need to make time for!
Scripture study, prayer, church, and spending time working on personal and spiritual growth are absolutely essential if you want to be an effective human. These things will allow you to figure out who you are. They allow you to answer the question: “ what areas of my life do I need to strengthen so I can strengthen others?”
I will end by telling a quick story about a man and his saw. Suppose you were walking through the forest one day and came across a man feverishly sawing at a tree. You ask him how long he has been working. He replies, “for five hours.” You then ask him, “why don’t you take a break and sharpen your saw? It would make the job go much quicker.” To which he replies, “I do not have time, I am too busy sawing.”
Do you get it?? The man could have finished the job twice as fast if he would have taken time to himself, to rest, re-energize, and sharpen his saw. But instead, he remained stuck in his ways. He was stuck in a routine that was not effective. He didn’t see the importance of rest. He didn’t see the importance of taking time to sharpen his saw.
I feel that we have all been this man at one point (or more) in our lives. We have all refused to listen to someone because we thought our way was better. Maybe that someone was God. Maybe it was our parents. But we need to recognize the importance in taking time to ourselves in order to sharpen our saws. We need to take time to grow. We need to take time to listen. We need to take time to strengthen our testimonies.
So take chances, be vulnerable, be grateful for failure, and keep growing. You are beautifully unique and important. It’s up to you to grow and pursue your purpose. Because once you find your purpose, you can better serve God and the world.