Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Plateaus: Trusting that God is Always at Work in Us

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation, but all they are is room for growth. Why are they room for growth? Because they represent an opportunity to change. 



We all hit plateaus. We all have days, weeks, even years of no movement. Are you standing still right now? I am. In several aspects. Spiritually. Relationally. Mentally.

Plateaus

I recently wrote a memoir about my struggle with anxiety for an English assignment. I used an analogy that these challenges we face are like injuries. The healing process builds thicker skin. In our case, stronger faith. It is another disguised challenge put in place to strengthen us.

How, then, do we make it easier to face? How do we look beyond the disguise and see what God is revealing and showing? That’s a tough one. I think in the simplest terms we must trust. Trust that God’s not done with us. Trust that when God says He doesn’t leave us where He finds us, He means it.

How do we remain hopeful that there will be another uphill? To be truthful, I have no idea. But, I would love to journey through it with you. Let’s find the answer together, as I march through my own personal plateau…

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation. But all they are is room for growth because they represent an opportunity to change. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anxiety #community #personalgrowth #growth

True Confessions

For about a month now I’ve been having a constant “off day” if you know what I mean. I’ve had a couple of rough panic attacks and long-lasting moments of anxiety. Smelly teenage boys have somehow wiggled into my priority list and I cannot focus for the life of me! For example, in the midst of that last sentence, I looked up for really no reason at all and got completely distracted by a cloud floating by through the window.

Where is the self-awareness and realization that something outside has crept inside?

I still experience anxiety to an extent, but this elongated unassuredness has certainly shown to be more than an episode of my chemical brain structure. I’ve also begun to show unhealthy eating habits, and I can’t seem to stay awake for a whole day despite the 8+ hours of sleep I get every night. What the heck?! It’s quite frustrating. Compared to who and where I was seven months ago, I was in tip-top shape. So why the change?

Always Moving

I took for granted the high ground I’d worked so hard to reach. I lost focus on God’s role and I lost sight of the bottom I’d once stood on. And I only allowed myself to see that I was going nowhere. Something I need to remind myself of, and that I’d implore everyone to remember is, when you hit these seasons of flat ground, you’re still moving forward. You’re still going.

What’s going on in your life that you’ve unintentionally neglected? Or deemed not as important? For me, I need to take care of myself more (in light of how God sees me). I need to allow myself room to feel things I think I should or shouldn’t feel. I’m trying to suppress feelings I don’t want to feel. Then they pile up waiting to be felt. If I were on the flip side and someone came to me with this challenge, how would I respond? Would I offer grace? Of course! Then why is it so hard for me to accept?

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5:14, NIV

All the Feels

I’m piling things up instead of dealing with them. Instead of appreciating the place I’m in, I’ve taken it for granted and now I seem to be in another valley. Ladies, feelings are a piece of work. But what does God have to say about all these feelings? Let’s look back at the Bible.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:9, NIV

Well, that’s a bit intense. The verse is intense, but what is the context? Where do I find myself in the midst of God’s promises and Christ’s hope for me? Not the whole world, but me. Is what I’m going through just a couple bad pieces of fruit or is the root system bad? How do I reach out to ask for help? God understands my heart. He understands my need for crying out and people to cry out to.

Reach Out

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6, ESV

In harmony. I love that. Different notes working together to make one beautiful sound. Millions of image bearers working together for one glorious King. How then do we hold back our struggles? We serve a loving, caring God who has given us loving, caring people with which to share our struggles. When you hit these plateaus, because you will, and when you walk through these valleys, because you will, who are you reaching out to? Are you surrendering to your pride to receive help? Please, reach. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the community God’s placed me in. Reach out.

We serve a loving, caring God who has given us loving, caring people with which to share our struggles with. In harmony. When we hit plateaus, all we need to do is reach out! Click To Tweet

We often look at plateaus with a negative connotation. But all they are is room for growth because they represent an opportunity to change. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anxiety #community #personalgrowth #growth
Ronald Baars

determination, resolution, goals, motivations, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Motivations: Allowing Scripture to Guide Your Growth

Having a plan for personal growth is a positive venture. Being aware of the true motivations behind that desire can help determine the maturity actually derived from the pursuit of such goals. 



Some people thrive on New Year’s resolutions. Having a plan forward motivates them to be purposeful about their goals. Whether it’s wellness, organization, education, or something else entirely, the ultimate objective is self-improvement. Get your stuff together! Make your dreams come true!

Others may opt-out of resolutions, citing they’d rather not make a promise they don’t intend to keep. This approach could be genius, or it may be an act of self-preservation. Regardless, it reminds me of the Dad’s number one rule in the movie The Croods: “Never not be afraid.”

Having a plan for personal growth isn't bad. But we must be aware of the motivations behind that desire to determine the maturity of pursuing such goals. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #determination #scripture #goals #personalgrowth #resolution #motivation

Resolutions

Crushed dreams and unrealized goals often lead to a hardness of heart. Survival instinct kicks in and before we realize it, joy for the simple things has left us and we can’t seem to take our guard down.

This year, in lieu of a New Year’s resolution, I made a list.

  • More of:
  • Less of:
  • Start:

Personally, I have been on both sides of the fence at one time or another. Until recently, I fell into the “forget that!” category. But this year I decided to use Hebrews 12:14 as a jumping off point for growth…

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14, ESV

Motivations

I’ve always been a fan of keeping the peace. Over the last year or two, I came to understand my motivations for being a peacemaker was oftentimes for personal gain. I aimed to make sure everyone was happy and pleased with me so I would feel comfortable, not so they would experience the peace of Christ through my tranquility.

That is where the beauty of the second half of Hebrews 12:14 comes in: “and [strive] for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” It goes beyond giving people warm fuzzies and glitter. Those are fun gifts! Who doesn’t like to feel harmonious? Yet I am making it my aim to go one step further.

Pursuing righteousness that comes from Christ for the purpose of helping others to know and believe the love God has for them, not stopping at the good vibes modern society tells us to achieve. As followers of Jesus, we are compelled to reflect Him in the very way we live our lives.

That’s where my little list comes in.

Determination

  • More of: Memorizing God’s Word

…train yourself for godliness;

1 Timothy 4:7b, ESV

Psalm 119 is full of David talking about how wonderful God’s Word is and how useful it is for training in godliness. Hebrews 4:12 calls God’s Word living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword.

Peppered throughout the Bible, God’s Word is described as flawless, useful for teaching and training in righteousness, a light. Matthew 24:35 says heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word is forever. Sister, let us hold on to and soak in that which is eternal!

  • Less of: Sarcasm

Yep. This is a hard one for me. I never saw the movie Anger Management, but I heard a line from it: “Sarcasm is anger’s ugly cousin.” Me? Angry? Surely not. Undoubtedly it came from crushed dreams or unrealized goals.

There is a fine line between being funny and being passive-aggressive. And not to brag, but I’ve gotten pretty good at blurring the line. On second thought, that’s nothing to brag about. It’s honestly a hostile place for the heart to be.

In God’s mercy, I had two friends on separate occasions call me out on it. It stung and ticked me off, but they did so in a loving way, exhorting me to “check your heart, sis” before dropping a sarcastic comment. Once again with the motivations! I am catching myself more often before letting the sarcasm fly and seeking to unearth the force behind the remarks.

Something New

  • Start: Sticking to a weekly task

So far this aspect of my list has been more off-the-cuff, but also fun. The first several days in the new year I determined to have a clean kitchen before going to bed.

The next week I made sure the living/dining room area was tidy. Pillows placed, couch throw folded (even if I wasn’t the one who used it), trash picked up, etc. I would argue it is universally soothing to have one clean room in your home to relax in!

Then it was to make my bed every day, and so on. On the surface, these are small, yet attainable victories, but they aren’t just about me. They affect my family in a positive way that shows value.

I don’t know that I would have been able to accomplish these tasks a few years ago when my children were younger. Who am I kidding? I didn’t accomplish it! And that is okay. The point is not about the action, it is about the motivations behind the action.

Jesus loved us and gave Himself up for us. For me this month, a way to reflect Christ’s love to my family is finding ways to create a calm environment. We are in a busy season, full of new things and crazy growth! So for my military husband, a quiet, tidy space gives him life. For our two teenage daughters at school with 4000 other kids, having a place to relax in is rejuvenating. And for our son who is navigating what it means to be a godly son, brother, and friend, home is security.

Keep It Up

Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith.

1 Timothy 6:11-12, ESV

Tomorrow will hold something new. Each day we have breath, presents a fresh opportunity to exhibit the love of God in the life of someone else. It doesn’t have to be momentous. Remember who you’re doing it for. If I grab my neighbor’s trash bag from their porch and take it to the dumpster, God sees and is pleased. I don’t need to find a way to let them know it was me!

May we live like we have an audience of One.

Tomorrow will hold something new. Each day we have breath, presents a fresh opportunity to exhibit the love of God in the life of someone else. It doesn't have to be momentous. Click To Tweet

Having a plan for personal growth isn't bad. But we must be aware of the motivations behind that desire to determine the maturity of pursuing such goals. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #determination #scripture #goals #personalgrowth #resolution #motivation

Annie Spratt