When excuses and hiding doesn't work anymore.
I think we’ve all got a big "But".
And not the kind of butt that we tirelessly work towards by doing hundreds of squats and lunges for. The type of “But” that resides lazily on our tongues and inhibits us from reaching our full potential in life.
“I would really love to go for this new position at work that would provide financial stability for my family and I, BUT then I would have to interview for it and I get really nervous talking to people. I would just be making a fool of myself. Never mind, I’ll just continue sorting files for nine hours a day.”
It's possible that even when we find a passion to do something, but since it’s not “career level” or what our family/peers expect of us, we hide behind our “but” to avoid disappointment from the ones’ that we THINK want the best for us.
Regardless of what "but" you find yourself using throughout the day, we’ve all got a massive one. And once we get used to using this verbal roadblock in our daily lives, it slowly begins to creep into our faith world; obstructing God’s path He so graciously planned for us.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times when I’m lying in bed watching "Psych" for the fourth time thinking about how I really should get up and at least pretend to go on a run. I start this internal campaign in my mind about the benefits of running and how it would make me feel less guilty since I ate that “gotta have it” cake batter, diabetic creation at Coldstone the night before.
“You know you really should go before work Em. BUT then you’ll have to shower, eat, and look somewhat presentable. What if you don’t have enough time? What if you’re late to work AGAIN and instead of being reprimanded, they just send you home? Or even worse…. WHAT IF THEY FIRE YOU!?!?”
Pretty dramatic, right?
In an instant, I went from being on the journey of health and happiness to shamefully singing the "Psych" theme song YET again; although this time synthesized by a mouthful of carrots.
(At least I chose to eat carrots, that’s gotta count for something.)
As easy as it was for the enemy to use my mind to convince me that I didn’t need to be productive due to the fear of possibly of losing my job, he used my “but” to try and drive me away from having faith and following the path that the Lord has worked fervently to keep me on.
Having faith in God’s plan means trusting wholeheartedly in whatever he has designed for you; no matter what, when, where, why, or how this plan arises.
I’ll admit, being a part of a “now” generation and following this blind faith can be tough at times. The society we have built up has established this urgent mindset of needing everything right in the moment we request it.
We don’t even have patience for patience.
We need our UberEats order to get here right NOW. We need to find out if we passed (or failed) the exam we just took right NOW. We need those newly released Adidas right NOW. We need the new iPhone, (even though we just got the newest version less than a year ago) RIGHT N O W!!
So when it comes to walking in faith, completely unaware of when God is going to begin to reveal his plans for you; it is so common for us to back UP and use our “but” to back OUT when we don’t see any progress after a short period of time. Especially when things start to get too challenging for us to handle.
Fear, doubt, and insecurity begin to cloud our judgment and ultimately fear of failure takes over; pushing us further and further away from the divine path.
Fear will make your "but" gigantic. And not in a Kim K way either…
In a split second, we can get buried in the inescapable hole that Satan digs in our minds as we lay in bed at night, creating the worst possible outcomes for our lives.
"I really want to try out for the college baseball team, BUT I know I don’t have enough training as these other players. They’ve been playing for years and have better stats than I do. What if I give it my all and don’t make the team? What if I don’t get any offers from any colleges? What if I’m not good enough to go pro? Or worse, what if all my friends get D1 offers and I get picked up by some random school in a nameless town? That would be so embarrassing. I just won’t bother since I wouldn’t make it anyways."
"I am so honored that my boss offered me the promotion out of the whole sales team, BUT the workload is probably way more challenging than I’m expecting. I’ve only been here for a couple years, what if I’m not capable of handling the position? I wouldn’t want to disappoint my boss or myself, or even worse lose my job. I’ll just stay at the position I’m in now even though I hate it."
Can you relate?
As quick as fear can fill our minds, it can just as rapidly fill up your “but” and steer you in the opposite direction of where the Lord is trying to lead you.
Take the Israelites for example.
God told Moses to send men to the Promise land (land of Canaan) and spy on it, getting the 411 on the land and people. After 40 days of spying, (because they didn’t have drones to hover over the land and watch on their iPad so they had to actually spend time there), they returned to report what they discovered about this divine environment.
The men saw it as fruitful, fortified, large; and the people (descendants of Anak), were strong.
Then Caleb in Numbers 14:30 states,
“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
And once the men heard this, their buts became enormous.
Numbers 14:31-33 goes on to say:
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying “the land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants), and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.
So here’s Caleb ready to take on these massive giants, fully aware of his lack of physical capability to take a beast on; yet fully armored in the faith of Christ. Yet these 11 other “men” who originally followed the Lord’s commands of spying on this place for 40 days, are now digging through every "but" they can find to back out of the plan God had for them because they don’t want to be defeated.
Fear of the future, fear of the outcome, fear of disappointment, and fear of the uncertain will chase you away from the promise of His plan. And once we evict the fear that the enemy places in our hearts, we allow ourselves to get closer to discovering what God has designed for us.
The Lord has already made a plan for you. Before you were even a thought in your parents' minds, God created you. Your whole entire life; every obstacle you would face, every time you would smile, shed a tear, fall in love, fall out of love, grow in knowledge, even fail a test; God planned that for a purpose. And he designed and tailored a specific, beautiful plan for YOU knowing that you would be fully capable of accomplishing it.
But you must have faith. You will walk through those tough times that you don’t want to. The amazing thing is when you choose to follow God’s path without hesitation or doubt, He will walk beside you. He will bring out the confidence, power, fearlessness, and drive that already exists in you. Once you do that, you will conquer every obstacle thrown your way; you will prevail.
Isaiah 1:19 tells us:
“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land”.
So if you stick it out, if you humble yourself and just trust Him; if you trample over that fear and destroy the towering "BUT" that’s blocking your view from His amazing creation, you will see it through.
“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”