Like me, I would assume you have moments in life where you feel held back from forward motion surrounding your relationship and life with Christ. This holding back can stem from stubbornness, a lack of faith, guilt/shame over sin, feeling unwelcomed in a relationship with Christ, or maybe even hurt from people representing Christ and his church. Being held back is often a prevalent result of judging something about ourselves as unacceptable, so we don’t want others, specifically God, to see it. We believe another person will consider us intolerable. Maybe even God himself. Augustine Of Hippo spoke to these feelings of being held back when he wrote,
“I held my heart back from positively accepting anything since I was afraid of another fall, and in this condition of suspense, I was being all the more killed.”
Accomplishing forward motion can mean letting go of the comforts of what feels familiar and reaching toward something unknown. Sometimes, we walk away from the usual without fully understanding what’s next. This can be lonely, and no matter what happens, when we move forward with God, we cannot expect everyone to understand our choices, and we can not make decisions based on whether or not we gain their approval.
It’s effortless to trust when people are applauding our success, but we cannot seek to live solely for the applause of others. Frankly, the cheering eventually stops, and the curtain on certain seasons closes. Loving applause and pats on the back make sense, as most of us are attracted to success. Almost nobody wants to be in a movement or company at the beginning. Contrasting to this very idea is God; he delights in beginnings, and as we walk toward him; he will meet us as The Bible teaches us in Psalms 34:4 (The Message) “God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears.”
As we journey forward, let me propose five things to release as we move closer to God. This is not an all-inclusive list but five actual weights that I have seen in my life and in the lives of others. A reminder as you read these words, if you feel stuck or incapable of moving your feet toward His promises, hold tight to the words written in Joshua 1:9 (The Message), “Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”
Negativity will suck the life out of you:
You cannot be a positive person if you are surrounded by negativity all the time. Negativity is like venom that slowly drains the promises of God from your life. It can demean, destroy, and dispose you of your future. When the grip of negativity restricts your motion, you know it’s time to place your mind on positive things.
Philippians 4:7–9 (Amplified Bible): “And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.
Everything isn’t easy:
We should stop expecting life is going to be so smooth. There are bumps along the way: some anticipated, and many … not. Trust me (cue Whitney Houston); you do not even know your own strength. After all, You can do more than you ever imagined; through Christ that gives you strength.
Hebrews 10:36 (New International Version) “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
Someone else lives at your old address:
Would of, could of, should of. There are moments that you wish you could go back and have a do-over. Many of these moments are full of great memories and life, full of devastation and remorse. Hold fast to the good and throw away the trash. God
Ecclesiastes 7:10 (New Living Translation), “Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.”
Let go of resentment:
Why do we often insist carry around baggage from our past? It is weighing us down, and we won’t have room for everything else we want if we do not release things we hold on to. Let go of the resentment, failures, hate for others, and broken places. There is death attached to living with the memories. There is hope attached to placing them in the arms of Jesus.
Colossian 3:1–2 (The Message), “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ — that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”
You’ve got this; don’t give up:
Don’t give up; the darkest days are temporary, and the sun will shine again. Even in the darkest of storms, the sun hasn’t left the sky, and its warmth and rays are shining even when they are not seen. One day soon, all that hard work and sacrifice will come together. Stop listening to lie that you are stuck; if you’re overweight, work out and lose the weight. If you face an addiction, reach out and tell someone. Put down your device, and put down the bottle. Don’t give up.
2 Corinthians 4:12: “Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.”
I am learning that there are often unexpected roads as we live our lives with Christ. Honestly, I write these words to you with coffee in one hand and a suitcase in the other. For I am on the journey as well, and God will once again plant us in a promised territory, the place where God dwells. We’ve got this, and God has us.
As we close, join me in listening to the song, Unexpected Roads by Mosaic MSC. Here is the link: https://open.spotify.com/track/2QB144MI3R76p3KMcfPu7B?si=d077a39fa1704ff2
Oh, lead me down unexpected roads
I don’t know where I’m goin’
I know I can rely on You
I will stand here in the middle of the journey
Ready for what’s coming
As long as I’m with You