|Are you settling for merely existing? Have you put your dreams on hold? What is holding you back?|
Do you have an unfulfilled dream or unreached goal that is gnawing away at you? Have you given up because you feel it will never come to pass? Or, are you just putting it off for someday far in the future? Perhaps it is just too overwhelming to even think about right now. Or, it is such a daunting task that you will just have to wait and get around to it when you have more time or energy.
Many of us have the best of intentions, yet we beat ourselves up when we realize how much time has slipped away without our making even a hint of progress toward our dreams. What is it you hope to accomplish? Are you any closer today than when you first began dreaming about it? It could be something as small as cleaning out a disorganized office desk or as big as going back to school for your master’s degree. Here are some common unfulfilled dreams or goals in which many of us may be putting off:
• Losing weight, eating healthy, or starting an exercise routine
• Changing careers or advancing in present career
• Organizing and cleaning one’s house, or attic, or garage, or closets
• Owning a home
• Running for Office
• Writing that first book or recording that first CD
• Launching a full-time ministry
• Owning your own business
• Going back to school and finally getting that degree
• And the list goes on and on and on …
What is it that keeps us from achieving our goals, and why do we let it eat at us rather doing something about it? From my experience, the hardest step in almost any undertaking is the first step. Once we take that first step, however, momentum will most certainly take over and propel us forward. The initial effort may be excruciating, but it will be worth the hard work once we see ourselves making real progress toward our dreams. It is just a matter of conquering that first step! Confucius say, “The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.”
It has been my observation that some of the most resistant enemies of progress are perfectionism, fear, lack of confidence, lack of self-discipline, and being deficient of the resources or support necessary to achieve success.
Perfectionism is one of the biggest causes of procrastination. It is the belief that no matter how hard we try, it is never going to be good enough or just right. We can become so anxious about the details that we miss the big picture entirely. So for fear of failure, we opt instead for no action at all. The cure for this is to break the task into smaller steps, then force yourself to do that first step and leave it alone. Learn to be content with excellence rather than perfection. We must adjust our standards and be reminded of the ultimate goal rather than getting lost in the minute details.
Fear is one of the most paralyzing enemies of all; however, it is not all bad. Conquering fear can be one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world, such as riding a scary roller coaster or sledding down a steep, snowy hill. In the same way, taking the leap and adjusting our lives to make our dreams happen can be one of the most thrilling rides of all. Take inventory of your fears and conquer them with courage and truth. Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is moving forward in spite of fear. You don’t have to be fearless, but you can be courageous!
Lack of confidence is really a lie that holds us back from trying something new because we do not believe we are good enough, smart enough, strong enough, good-looking enough, or whatever enough. Well, who told you that you were not enough? It is time you crushed that lie head on, and the only way to do that is with truth. Know the truth of who you are and what you have through Christ. He made you exactly as you are and has given you your abilities. Wherever there may a deficit, He will fill in the gap. He will never leave you, and He will never call you to do something without also equipping you. If He has called you to do it, then you have nothing to worry about, because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. (Philippians 4:13) Yes, you can!
Lack of self-discipline is synonymous with laziness, slothfulness, and idleness. What a tragedy to waste our lives and settle for mediocrity because we could not drum up the self-discipline to make a change. We must remember that the very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit that is alive and active inside of us. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control, and that is the fiercest weapon against laziness. We have it inside of us, but we must choose to employ it. Discipline and diligence can be our best friends. As Scripture says, “Sloth makes you poor; diligence brings wealth.” (Proverbs 10:4 MSG)
Deficiency of needed resources or support can be the final stop that keeps us from our goals. My advice here is to list what is needed; bring your request to God; and then make the adjustments necessary to obtain it. If it is finances that are in the way, for example, find a way to earn, save, or raise the funds needed rather than becoming discouraged about the lack thereof. Explore all possibilities, such as student loans, fund raisers, or additional employment. Perhaps this will require some very hard work and may even defer your dreams a bit, but at least you will be moving in the right direction. Whatever the need may be, do not let lack of any kind stop you from making progress. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NIV)
Now that we have dispelled any excuses that are keeping us stagnate, let us move forward with confidence. Just as Nehemiah and his crew had to lay the first brick to rebuild the wall; Moses had to overcome his anxiety and speak to Pharaoh before he could lead the Israelites out of Egypt; and David had to swing that first stone to topple the evil giant, Goliath; you too can slay the giants in your life that are keeping you from achieving all that you have dreamed.
Understand that God has already turned the odds in your favor, and you have been set up to win. All you have to do is take that first step, with His help, to make it happen. Get off that couch and get started today! Do not delay! You can do it!