Archives for posts with tag: Growth

Empty Well

It is so important for us to read the bible in context.  So often, we memorize key verses and phrases, and neglect to see the bigger picture.  This morning, as I thought about this blog on empty wells, Galatians 6:2 came to mind: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” (NIV).  But as I meditated on the verse, I realized that it was the second verse of the chapter.  What did the previous verse say?  In fact, the previous verse served as a cautionary statement.  It said: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted,” (NIV).  The New Life Version reads, “You who are stronger Christians should lead that one back into the right way. Do not be proud as you do it. Watch yourself, because you may be tempted also.”  Firstly, the verse calls for the “stronger Christians” to lead his brother/sister back into the right way.  Secondly, it cautions the “leading” individuals to refrain from becoming proud and to be careful of falling into the same trap.  The truth is, we all have areas where we are strong and areas where we falter.  Moreover, these areas may vary by season and/or circumstances.  It is important for us to understand that while God has called us to bear one another’s burdens, there is only one Savior.  We were not designed to save everyone.  In fact, if we do not continue to replenish our wells, then we run the risk of running emotionally and spiritually dry.

If you are consistently playing the role of the go-to person in your relationships, there will come a point where your well will run dry.  If you incessantly pour out and do not replenish your reserve, you will bottom out.  This could have multiple physical, mental and spiritual ramifications.  Below are a few things that I have found helpful during some of my darkest moments.

  1. Be kind to yourself
    1. Know that some days you will fly, and some days you will fall. Some people will think you are the greatest, and some will think that you are the worse.  However, neither one of these things define who you are.  Only God defines you.  He made you, and He knows who He has called you to be.  No one else has that authority, including you!
  1. Keep inventory of your “well” reserve
    1. Most credit counselors advise against credit card use. Why?  With credit card usage, there is a tendency to spend more than we have.  Debit card are just as bad.  I would venture to say that most people are not balancing their account ledger after each swipe of their card.  It’s no wonder the banking industry makes so much money on overdraft fees.  The same is true of our emotional bank account.  If we are not keeping an accurate account of our balance, there will be a tendency to over extend and/or over commit.  If we don’t keep accurate accounting, we will spend more than we have to give.  This brings me to Item #3.
  1. Learn to say “No!”
    1. Saying “no” is way more than simply refusing a request. Sometimes saying “no” could mean declining to answer an email, a text or a missed called.  For some, this is the biggest step towards establishing healthy boundaries in relationships.
  1. Keep inventory of those who are making deposits and withdrawal into and away from your wells
    1. Relationships are seldom equal. However, our relationships must be mutually beneficial.  In other words, we will have relationships where one person brings more to the table than the other.  The important thing for us to remember is that we should maintain a healthy balance of the different types of relationships in our lives.  Again, if we are always giving more than we are receiving, then our relationships are out of sync, which will eventually lead to a dry well.
  1. Take note during your hour of darkness.
    1. Who are the ones calling solely to check on you—not to gossip, not to vent, but simply to check on your well being?  Oftentimes, when you tend to be the strong one in your relationships, people erroneously think that you don’t have problems or that your problems are secondary to theirs.  Please understand that is an unfair and unrealistic expectation.  The people in your life must be able to acknowledge that you too are human, and as such, you too have your cross to bear.
  1. Know that you cannot be everything to anyone person.
    1. I recently had a conversation with a friend who said to me that in relationships, we meet our needs by drawing from the many wells in our lives. Whenever, we start to draw predominantly from one well, we put that other person in an unfair position, which is too much pressure to place on any one person.

Now, after having said all that, I will say this:  When we are weak, God will make us strong.  There are times when God will push us beyond what we thought we could do or where we thought we could go.  However, the problem in many of our lives is that we fail to ask Him for His counsel, and we busy ourselves with things, people and tasks that He never commissioned us to take on.  Sometimes, God is doing a work in our lives and He is doing work in others’ lives as well.  My final parting note is that we should seek God in all that we do, and He will give us the guidance that we so desire.

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One of the things that I love most about working out is actually one of the things I “hate” the most.  It’s that sore feeling.  Feeling sore reminds me that my muscles have been challenged.  The soreness lets me know that what I am doing is actually working.  Sure I hate walking down stairs after have done leg exercises, but I love knowing that my legs will be toned.  Thankfully, that soreness is fleeting.  Those of you who have worked out for any period of time, know that the more frequently we challenge our muscles, the less likely they are to fatigue and ache the next time we do the same exercises or use the same amount of weight.  In fact, there comes a period in the workout regime when we have to increase the weight in order to get the same or better results.  With any workout routine, there is a tendency for our bodies to plateau.  Similarly, this plateau phenomenon is not just limited to our bodies.  Our spirits function in the same capacity as well.

There are times in our spiritual journey when we will experience a spiritual plateau phenomenon.  Just as muscling building requires a gradual increase of weights for deeper muscle penetration, spiritual building requires a heavier message for deeper spiritual penetration.  Here is what I mean.  There will come a point in our spiritual journey when superficial, anecdotal messages are not enough.  Sure, we might get the gist or receive an occasional word because God’s Word always provides revelation.  However, our spirits were designed to want more.  At some point, we will need to pack on the weight and increase the heaviness to challenge our spiritual muscles.  This might simply mean attending a new church, reading new books/devotional or even changing our circle of influence/friends.  Think about it this way.  When we first learned to read, we probably started with picture books and eventually graduated to chapter books.  While I’m sure that as an adult it might be fun to read an occasional picture book, and we probably could learn a fact or two, however, reading a picture book as an adult would not be as edifying.  Imagine if all we read as adults were children’s picture books.  Our growth would be stagnant and our knowledge limited.  The reason why as we progressed throughout our formative school years our curriculum increased in difficulty was because growth requires an increase in intensity.  So if we want to see an increase in our spiritual live, we have to turn up the proverbial fire.  We have challenge our spirits.

 

Expired2

Have you ever felt like there has to be more to life than your current circumstance?

Does your Spirit scream, “This version of my life is not the same as the vision on my Spirit?”

If you answered yes, then keep reading.

Many of us are currently suffering from what I would l like to call misguided complacency.  We automatically attribute our wilderness experience to God’s will.  Somehow we have managed to convince ourselves that we are in the position we are in because God wants us to learn some colossal lesson.  The truth is, maybe we should have learned that lesson a long time ago and have moved on by now.  For example, scholars have said that it was only supposed to take the Israelites 11 days to travel through the wilderness, yet it took them 40 years.  It took them an additional 29 years to learn what should have taken them a little over one week.  How many of us are sitting in situations long past our expiration dates?  Many of us are holding the keys to cures; the keys to deliverance; the keys to inventions; and the keys to a lot more.  However, we are still trying to crawl to first-base, while God is trying to tell us to go for the homerun.  With that said, I must say that there are times when God calls us to be still, but I don’t think those moments are as frequent as we proclaim.

As children of God, we are called to be world changers.  In John 17:15, Jesus said, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one, (NIV).  Our purpose is to affect change in the world around us.  However, we cannot impact the type of change necessary if we are not in the positions that we need to be in.  Don’t get me wrong.  God could use us where we are.  He could also transfer our assignment to someone else.  Do not be fooled.  God does not need us.  He desires us.  There is a vast difference.  The point that I am trying to make is that we don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to live up to our potential.  When we do not live up to our potential, we will always have a sense of nonfulfillment.  Our Spirits will always cry out and reach out towards that which it was created to do.

The question now becomes, how do we live up to our potential?  The only way to answer this question is to pray!  We need to ask God to reveal to us where we are and where we need to be.  We need to determine whether we are in a wilderness season and whether we are there beyond our expiration date.   If we have exceeded our expiration date, we need to ask God to reveal to us which lessons He would like us to learn in order to move on.  The Bible says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much,” (Luke 16:10, NIV).  If we can’t handle being a secretary, God won’t promote us to CEO.  If we can’t be honest being an employee, God will not make us a boss.  We need to evaluate our current situations and see how we respond to factors such as stress, conflict/resolution, finances, etc.  Promotion comes only after mastery of our current level.  In school, one isn’t promoted from middle school to high school until he has demonstrated that he has mastered the skills learned in middle school.  The same is true of our spiritual lives.  We have to be prepared for promotion.

The most important nugget to take away from this is that above all things else, God wants us to trust Him and only Him.  So, regardless of where we might find ourselves, God wants us to trust thatHe will guide us and take us to where we need to be.

Today’s Prayer:

Lord, please reveal areas in our lives for growth.  Help us to embrace our current situations, but not talk ourselves into complacency.  If we have exceeded our expiration date in any area of our lives, please reveal our deficits to us and allow us the wisdom, courage and strength to grow.  Open doors of opportunities and close doors that should have never been opened or no longer needs to be opened.  Thwart any plans of the enemy.  We love you.  We praise you.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!!!