Going through a few really hard things early in life caused me to do something fairly risky for a young woman in ministry starting out- I stopped wearing the plastic smile and faking it. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back and relive my twenties. I was wrapped in so many insecurities from feeling like I needed to be perfect and good at everything. I was miserable walking that tightrope, but I wanted freedom and believed with all my heart that a breakthrough would happen if I kept going. I read passages in the Bible about imperfect fishermen learning to be leaders and studied chapters in scripture about a mouthy man denying Christ three times and then later preached a sermon in Acts 2 that cut to the heart of every soul listening. (Acts 2:37)
I believed that God could use a bunch of misfits with their fair share of baggage. But, they had to drop nets and dusty dreams first to follow Him. They had to let go. The only way they could say yes to Jesus was by leaving their old life behind.
Often we give up right before our breakthrough happens. Through a series of conversations with close friends, I discovered a truth that many of us face. It’s not that we are afraid of rejection and failure, we are afraid of success and freedom. I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. It’s easier to make friends with our strongholds and welcome them as friends instead of dealing with them. We are continually in our own way and blocking the door to freedom. We are not over things because busyness has become a badge of honor and makes us feel important and needed, yet owing our junk leaves us feeling needy. We can’t have that, can we? But, our neediness will always precede our miracle. The strongest thing we can do is switch our focus from a self-sufficient have-it-all-together mentality to a God-dependent life and put our trust in Him.
Breakthrough: a movement or advance all the way through and beyond an enemy’s front-line. Surpassing restrictions.
There’s a story of a man in Acts 3 who was carried to the gate of the temple daily who had been lame from birth. This had always been his condition-dependent on others to put something in his hand that could sustain him. He was dependent on the people who carried him to a place where he could be seen and, hopefully, leave that day with money and food to make it through the day. And, the next day he would be in the same place asking for the same things. But, God had a plan far greater than the temporary.
3 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.[a] 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
What brought tears to my eyes today is that this man looked at the disciples expecting to receive something from them. But, his expectations were too low.
I felt like God was saying to me, “You are asking for something so small, but I am wanting to give you far more.”
I was expecting something, but I was settling for small and temporary instead of life altering and lasting.
The thought that my expectations had become too calculated, safe and small wrecked me.
Why look for a handout when we can have the wholeness in Christ that we need?
Maybe you feel like the people that have hurt you have simply been carrying you to a beggars spot and you feel stuck. Sister, you don’t have to beg for the blessings of God. What you need is a breakthrough where you move beyond enemy lines to take hold of the promises of God.
How we recover from low expectations is by focusing on our God who is stronger than any doubts or challenges we face. We can do this by understanding the word of God is alive and active and applies to us. We can move beyond reading the scriptures by saying this passage is for me personally. Each time we do this, our faith grows. We begin to look at our problems through lenses of faith instead of our feelings.
My prayer for you is this- that you will look to God expecting far more from him that what you are right now. That you will walk in faith and not settle only for what you can see. I pray that you and I will not be near-sighted spiritually but instead ask for the kind of blessings that make us leap and dance like it’s our very first time on the dance floor.
Are you ready for 2017 to be your breakthrough year? Let’s do this.
So much love to you,
Going Deeper: Take a few minutes and make it personal by praying the scriptures.
“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV)
Help me to understand that when I don’t know what to pray, you know my heart. I praise you because your Spirit helps me in my weaknesses and intercedes on my behalf.
Right now I am struggling with this______________________________________________________.
But, I will cast down arguments and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. I will take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
Your word tells me that you are not the author of confusion, but of peace. (1 Cor 14: 33)
Help me to find your peace and rest in that.
Show me the thoughts that have taken me captive and lead me to freedom in you in this area of my life.
In Jesus Name,