We are more than halfway through 2023. Holiday decorations are sprouting in retail outlets. Travel plans are being made for holiday travel. Before you know it, 2023 will be history!
So, as we head into this stretch, what fear has paralyzed you and stunted your forward movement? Which goals remain unchecked? Are you growing spiritually, or has it been stagnated in this season of tremendous change, stupendous challenge and momentous complexity?
If so, follow this five-point believer's blueprint for moving past fear and closing 2023 strong!
One: Release Disappointments.
Three words: Let it go. Let go of the effects of setbacks, disappointments and losses. The sum of those elements is zero. Extricate the lessons then let it be.
Isaiah writes, 'But the Lord says, "Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do." (Isaiah 43:18,19).
Two: Embrace Your Place
So often we fight against where we are and go to great lengths to determine how we got there. There are lessons in our situations that we must apply, but when the smoke clears, we must embrace our place and commit to blossoming where we are planted.
Paul writes, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:12).
Three: Build Your Dreams
When we fight where we are, we lose the tenacity to keep building our ideas. The exiles in Babylon experienced this malady, so God, through his prophet Jeremiah, reminds them that in spite of their current predicament, "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease." (Jeremiah 29:5,6) When we feel we are running on empty, we are really full of blessings!
Four: Trust the Process
This is the most difficult principle! Many times we don't see the process - or at least the fruit of it. We are walking blindly, measuring each step, wondering if the abyss is just ahead. But when we trust God - even when there is no trace of God - during these times, this is where our faith is made! Remember the biblical definition of faith: "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1) It's not what you see, it's what you don't see that makes faith!
Five: Run Straight Toward the Goal
In light of the aforementioned definition of faith, should believers set goals for our lives? Absolutely! We should have spiritual goals, as well as financial, physical and educational goal. Here's the pivot: our utmost goal is the "prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus" as Paul writes, and that goal becomes the guide for the goals in other parts of our lives. So, get up each day and run!
How do we move past fear and close out 2023 in faith in this season of tremendous change, stupendous challenge and momentous complexity?
Release disappointments. Embrace your place. Build your dreams. Trust the process. Run straight toward the goal.
Pastor W. Eric Croomes Executive Pastor of Pastor W. Eric Croomes Ministries, based in Fort Worth, Texas. Reach Pastor C at www.pastorwericcroomes.com