A Different Way To Look At "Setbacks"

I’ve spoken/written often about getting out of your comfort zone or taking a leap of faith, and how doing so results in growth.  I took a HUGE leap of faith 7 years ago and have regularly moved out of my comfort in various ways over these last few years, and this has been a springboard for growth both personally and spiritually. As I’ve stepped into the unknown and God has given me grace to increasingly allow Him to guide me on the path, my faith has grown tremendously.  I’ve experienced God’s loving kindness and trustworthiness in deep and meaningful ways and have learned to listen for and discern His voice more clearly.  I’ve come to enjoy the presence of Jesus walking the path God has laid out before me in ways that feel more “real” and more personal than ever before in my walk as a follower of Jesus.  There have been a lot of “good” things that have happened in these several years that have been very clearly God’s blessing.  I imagine I’m not alone in wishing that it could be like that all the time, but I’m here to tell you that’s JUST. NOT. THE. CASE.  There will be hard times.  There will be setbacks.  There will be delays.  There will be times in which we question or doubt and wonder what in the world God is doing (or, in our minds, NOT doing). 

Those times are difficult and maybe even painful, and it’s important that we take time to acknowledge and grieve them.  But when we live life “abiding in Jesus” and “delighting in the Lord,” He meets with us in the midst of the grief.  He gives us courage to persevere, and, as He promises in Romans 8:28, He uses those times “for the good of those who love Him and are called unto His purpose.” 

We ALL experience valleys in life.  Every single person on this planet - even those people who seem to have it all together faces setbacks, heartaches, and pain – so don’t let the enemy convince you that there must be something wrong with you if this is YOUR time.  I know I’ve struggled with that lie.  As I’ve walked in what has felt like particularly difficult valleys on this path of purpose, I have felt a range of emotions…. fear, shame, and anxiety, yet experiencing His peace.  Frustrated with God and His timing/ways, yet grateful for His presence and provision.  Certainty that I’m on the path He’s called me to yet at the same time doubting that very same thing.  Encouraged by His trustworthiness and believing that He is faithful and has good plans for me yet discouraged by the present circumstances.  Sad, yet grateful for His joy in the midst of sadness.  Feeling stuck, yet somehow feeling hope for the fulfillment of the vision God has given me related to my purpose here on this planet.

I write this to encourage you (and to remind myself!!!) that even when you KNOW you are walking the path of purpose God has laid out for you, there may be setbacks (or at what you PERCEIVE as setbacks) along the way.  There may even be instances in which God redirects or asks us to change course. These are spaces in which there is potential for the enemy to sneak in or just simply walk boldly through the door and create fear, doubt, and shame. But they are also spaces in which, if we allow Him, Jesus will minister to us in kind and loving ways. When we can allow ourselves to “come boldly before the throne of grace,” (Hebrews 4:16) to bring our requests to the Father, we will receive His mercy and grace.  When we humbly lay our frustrations and heartache at the feet of Jesus, He will pick them up and carry them and will use them to grow us and to grow our faith! 

These are some things I’m learning and processing as I experience perceived setbacks or challenges,  or when things aren’t going as I planned:
💜 God is in control.  “A man's mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the LORD directs his steps and establishes them.” Proverbs 16:9
💜We will have trouble in this life, but Jesus has already overcome them.  When we know Him, we can have peace and know that we are victorious because HE is victorious!  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
💜 God may just use this time to “do something new” – something completely unexpected in your life – something that YOU could not do in your own strength.  I know He has done that in mine.   "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
💜God doesn’t just want us to experience His destination.  He has work for us to do along the way.   There are faith lessons to learn….character to build. “And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Romans 5:3-4
💜 So, we:
•  WAIT for the Lord and HIS timing. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” ~ Psalm 27:14.
• We trust and PRAY.  “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” ~Romans 12:12.
• We acknowledge and HOPE in His faithfulness. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  The Lord is my portion.  I will hope in Him.”  This verse brings up a question Are you struggling in this dark time with believing His faithfulness?  Of truly hoping in Him? Perhaps you need to lament something with the Lord.  There is precedent and a process for that – just take a look at the book of Lamentations.  He knows your thoughts, but sometimes laying out your grief on the table and expressing it out loud (or in writing) to Him allows Jesus to do a deep work of healing in your life.
• And, as counterintuitive as it may seem when we are struggling, we WORSHIP.  God is WORTHY of our praise, worship, and adoration every day – on good, beautiful, “everything is going my way” days, and on dark, “what in the world is happening?!?!” days.  If you’re not “feeling it” because of what you’re going through,  lay that out with Him.  Humble yourself in His presence and ask the Holy Spirit to speak through the haze of grief and struggle and remind you of the TRUTH of who God is, and then just sit quietly for a bit and let God minister to you. 

1 Chronicles 16:11 says, “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually.”  How do we seek Him? 
💜 Read scriptures about the glory of God. 
💜Sing songs that describe His majesty. 
💜 Even in the midst of grieving a loss or a setback, we can find things for which to be grateful – reasons to praise the Lord.  And as we do, our focus begins to turn away from the yuck of where we are and on to HIM.  It’s in that moment that we begin to understand “the peace that passes understanding” and to experience the JOY of the Lord.  Joy that is our strength in a time during which we may be feeling weak.  ðŸ’œEven as I write this I am overwhelmed with the knowledge of who He is and that He is such a good Father. 

If you’re experiencing a setback or a challenging time as you walk your path of purpose, or maybe you don’t even know if you’re walking in God’s purpose for you, press in to Him.  Reach out to another believer who can pray for/with you.  Know that He sees you, and He hears your prayers. I am living proof.

#purpose #GodsPlan #Godstiming #pursueyourpurpose #faithoverfear


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