When your goals seem unattainable, will you take one step closer to God, pause, and ponder what He has in mind for you? Perhaps your pursuits were set too high, or maybe unexpected circumstances blew your world up, and now an adjustment is needed. Conversing with the Lord sounds logical, yet do you often take a different route and end up frustrated and feeling like a failure?
Last year, when those I love entered a dark, brutal place, I willingly stepped in to embrace life amidst the return of mental illness in its gravest form. Yet, I refused to entirely apply the words the Lord whispered in my ear—prepare to pivot and extend grace.
Instead, I offered grace to others in abundance and declined to provide any to myself. Slowly but surely, instead of taking one step closer to God, distance arose between the one I needed most and my inner peace.
When We Can’t Let Go…
Possibly like me, you often tirelessly pursue the accomplishment of your goal at all costs. After all, if God was in the initial planning of those goals, letting down the Lord and those we serve seems like too much to bear. We don’t step closer to God; instead, we push ourselves away, depleting our reserves, and heading for an inevitable crash.
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:4-5 NIV).
When We Compare…
To make matters worse, we often look around and compare ourselves with others. After all, we don’t want to delay our progress as we watch friends, fellow speakers, writers, and ministry leaders appear to make it look easy as they accomplish much. Or we rationalize that we have endured far worse in the past, so slowing down now seems absurd.
Is it hard for you to step closer to God while comparing yourself to others or to your past accomplishments?
When Our Goals are Unattainable…
Perhaps Jesus wants to take us in a new direction or place a “pause” our current plans. Of course, that can leave us frustrated and disappointed; we are human. Yet, if the change is the Lord’s plan, isn’t that what we ultimately want? We know His plan is perfect.
Take One Step Closer to God
As my eyelids refused to stop twitching, the tone in my voice became snappy, and my soul yearned for my best friend—the Lord. I recognized that taking one step closer to God was the only answer that made sense.
Even as I reluctantly began to pivot and obey, He wanted more. My lofty goals would have to wait, as God had something better in mind. My job was to put my complete trust in Him once again and in His timing.
“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8 ESV).
It’s hard to take one step closer to God when we’re so busy surviving the unexpected, comparing ourselves with others, or refusing to follow His leading. Yet, God’s plan is always perfect, and intimacy with Him is always the ideal goal.
Question: When your goals seem unattainable, what is one action you take to step closer to God?