Time has been on my mind. I’m going to be 40 next month! I remember as a kid I used to think 40 was old, but now that I’m at that age, I clearly don’t feel the same way. That age hits different once you have reached it.
I’m big on writing down my goals because they help me stay accountable. I’ve got a bucket list. It’s a list of all the things that I want to achieve before I leave this world. From time to time, I review this list to make sure I’m on the right track. It’s such a blessing to be able to revisit all the milestones I’ve been able to accomplish. I love that feeling of satisfaction of being able to cross something off of my list. I know I’m a nerd, whatever.
After reviewing my list again, I noticed there were a couple of goals that have been on my list for a while…like for several years. I couldn’t help, but zero in on why those goals were still there. They weren’t goals I forgot to cross off or remove because I was no longer interested in achieving them. These were goals I still very much wanted to achieve.
Now, I am well aware a goal without a plan is just a wish. My unattained goals had plans attached to them, but clearly, in some cases, I failed to either properly execute my plan or make adjustments to them since I had yet to accomplish those goals. Why was this the case?
The easy answer most people, myself included would say, “Life got in the way.” That is true. But, if it’s a goal that you REALLY want to achieve, you’re not going to accept that as an answer. You’re going to keep digging until you figure out what’s causing the delay. All of my other goals didn’t this long so what happened?
This got me thinking about the story of Achan in Joshua 7. The CliffsNotes version is that Joshua was used to winning battles because he always had God on his side. Up until this point, Joshua and the Israelites were winning left and right. The next battle Joshua sought to win was Ai.
Joshua sent some spies to the Ai region to check out the situation. The spies came back and essentially said, “Don’t waste time and energy sending our entire army, just send 2K or 3K because there aren’t that many people that live there. We got this.” Joshua was like, “ Great, he took the spies’ advice. The Israelites went to Ai and lost an easy battle. They but ended up retreating. While they were fleeing the folks from Ai killed some Israelites in the process.
Joshua was confused. God, I thought we were aligned. Why weren’t you with us? God responded that there was sin within the tribe. Joshua didn’t realize that sin…in this case someone else’s sin–caused them to lose their battle at Ai. Joshua later discovered a man named Achan admitted that he stole some items. The Israelites stone Achan for his sins. God lets Joshua know that sin is gone, that Joshua should take the whole army back to Ai and that they will win this time.
Now, I’m thinking about this story and looking at my bucket list thinking, “Do I have an Achan in my life?” Are there people, emotions, or habits that are robbing me of being able to achieve my goals?
As much as I hate to admit it, I noticed Achan’s (aka sin) were in my life. For example fear, I get really upset when I think about this Achan. I’m certain the majority of my blessings were delayed due to fear. My fear morphed into me delaying my decision to purchase a home. I kept thinking about what if I lost my job, all the ways the banks and government could cheat me by either not giving me a loan or giving me unfavorable loan rates, redlining, and the list goes on.
I’ve come a very long way in making progress against my battle with fear. Perfect example, I’m very concerned about the increasing amount of control the government is attempting to exert over our lives. There’s been an increase in laws that encourage racism, voter suppression, the ability to easily purchase guns, unnecessary mandates, and now the overturning of Roe vs. Wade.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, on Friday (6/24), the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe vs. Wade. For the record, I think this law being overturned is incredibly WRONG. As I’ve mentioned before, I believe in abortion in cases of rape, incest, or for health reasons such as the mother’s life being in danger. This is what I believe. I would never impose my beliefs onto someone else nor would I want someone to do that to me. My rights stop where yours begin and vice versa.
God gave us all free will. A woman’s right to have an abortion is between her, God, and her doctor. To take that right away from people is not God’s will. The government is attempting to play God by eliminating a woman’s right to make a decision that’s going to affect her body is WRONG. The government is playing God and playing with people’s lives. People have the God-given right to choose what they want to do with their bodies and handle the consequences of their decisions. The government has to understand they are overstepping their authority.
This whole issue is about people’s desire to control women’s bodies plain and simple. If that wasn’t the case then I would like to see the legislation on mandatory vasectomies for men, especially those who choose to procreate all over the place. We should be addressing this issue from both sides right?
After all, it takes two to tango. Abortion won’t be necessary for “birth control” which is how this issue is being argued if men aren’t fertile. This decision has NOTHING to do with Christian beliefs or the sanctity of life. It’s about power and control. Trust and believe these same politicians have their well-hidden doctors on speed dial in case they need an abortion to hide their deceitful behavior.
These hypocrites don’t even take care of the children that already exist. Yet, are trying to force women to bring more unwanted children in this world.
America doesn’t give parents the resources they need so kids can thrive. The irony in this situation is that there’s literally a baby formula shortage, and no desire to change gun laws to protect children, but I digress.
God said that He has not given us the spirit of fear 2 Tim 1:7. I recognize the fact there will always, always be circumstances that generate fear, but now I know how to control my reactions to those circumstances. When I catch myself feeling fearful, I know that’s my invitation to pray. I’ve got a couple of go-to verses that give me the comfort and strength I need to fight back.
Fear can only thrive if your view of God is small. When you place other people’s opinions of you over God and His Word you will without a doubt delay your blessings. God can’t perform miracles in your life if you’re too afraid to step out in faith and don’t believe He has the power to work miracles in your life (Mark 6:5). We can’t receive our blessings until we realize that people can have a say, but only God has the final say. The sooner we learn that lesson we can move on to our next adventure. Too many of us, myself included are slow to catch on so we become impatient.
Our impatience can really mess up our lives. We don’t see the change we wish to see happening fast enough so we either try to help God out or forget to include Him in our plans. In either case, we’re hoping He’ll bless our endeavors without making sure we’re aligned with His plans. Trust me, I’ve done both and both routes will not lead you to happiness.
When you’re impatient that means your intensity to achieve your goal is out of control. As a society, we’ve been conditioned to think that action is progress but it’s not. What society left out is that if God isn’t a part of the equation in your decision-making process the action(s) you take will most likely result in destruction.
The key to removing impatience is wholeheartedly knowing that God’s timing is perfect (Rom 12:2). If you don’t keep your impatience in check you will be like the person in Haggai 1: 5-7. This person was constantly making money but couldn’t maintain the wealth they accumulated because their mindset was not right.
Oftentimes, when we’re impatient, we’ll do whatever it takes to reach our goal. Many times, we’ll even turn into a workaholic without even realizing it.
When I saw that there were big goals on my list, many times I would work myself to death in trying to achieve them. Every waking moment was going towards doing activities I thought would help me achieve my goals. I was idolizing the goal when that attention should have been going to God. I was not working smarter, but harder without a single thing to show for my efforts. Not only did I not achieve my goal, but I was left with a defeated mindset.
My plans weren’t working, so what was the point? I threw myself a pity party instead of checking in with God to determine why things weren’t working for me.
During my pity parties without a doubt, I would somehow find myself being sucked into social media. Social media is a double-edged sword. It can help you spread your message, but it can easily tear you down just as fast. Comparison is the thief of joy. I found myself already feeling down suddenly comparing my low point in life to someone else’s perceived high point in life.
Again, so much of what we see on social network sites is curated. We don’t know if it’s the truth or how that person achieved XYZ. I don’t want to place myself in a position where I feel tempted to compare myself to someone else. I want to spend my time creating a life I’m proud of and not pining away for someone else’s.
These are the major Achan’s I believe kept me from accomplishing some of my goals. Since I’ve acknowledged the errors of my ways, I know it’s only a matter of time before God says, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. I’ve removed all the obstacles and now it’s time for you to go get your blessing.”
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