3 Fears to Overcome When You’re Feeling Stuck

Sometimes I avoid writing just like I avoid prayer and time with the Lord. I know why I do it. I avoid these things because I’m feeling ashamed or unworthy. I avoid because I’m afraid I might not like what the Lord has to say about my wishes or my needs or my complaints.

I avoid because it’s easier than trying to change.

Do you ever do it, friend? Do you ever run like Jonah in the opposite direction? Do you hide away from the Lord like Adam and Eve and hope He won’t notice your absence?

Honestly, the last thing I felt like doing was praying this morning because I knew I had some confessing to do. The second-to-last thing I felt like doing was writing to you all because I know I’ve messed up, blown it, wasted valuable time, and squandered opportunities.

It’s the worst feeling in the world – feeling stuck – wanting to change, yet feeling like you can’t.

Last year, I set some big goals for myself, but to be honest, I only did so half-heartedly, and I failed to fully reach a few of them. I’ve always been resistant to goal-setting, a sort of inner rebellion against holding myself accountable. Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering why.

Why am I, a planner by nature, so opposed to making plans for reaching specific goals?

Why do I avoid the very process that could help me when I’m feeling stuck?

As I was praying this morning, I realized there are several fears that are holding me back from my God-given success story (because He is in the business of changing lives, after all), and I wonder if they just might be holding you back, too, friend.

Fear. It keeps us feeling stuck, unable to move, to change, to succeed. Overcoming these 3 fears will help you move toward the goals you are desperate to reach!

These three fears will keep us feeling stuck if we let them!

1. Fear of failure

If I set real, specific goals, then I’m taking the chance that I might fail, and failure is a perfectionist’s worst nightmare. We literally dream about it sometimes. The easy and safe path is to avoid setting goals at all, or to set vague goals so that we can partially achieve. What it really comes down to is an all-or-nothing mindset that fails to recognize the imperfect progress that I write about so often here.

2. Fear of self

Listen, friends, I know my own heart. I know there is this part of me that wants to achieve success so that I will look good to others. I know there is a part of me that wants success for selfish, unspiritual reasons. How do I keep fleshly pride at bay?

What if I set real, specific goals and then realize they were really my plans and not the Lord’s? I’ll have wasted all of that time, and I’ll be out of God’s will. Now, some of you may be chuckling at me at this point, but this is and has been a real fear of mine from a young age! It’s part of a perfectionist’s nature to do anything to avoid being wrong, and that plays into my spiritual life and some of yours, as well, I’m sure.

3. Fear of the hard work

If I spend time asking the Lord what He wants from me this next year, He might ask me to do things that seem way too hard! What if He asks me to uproot my entire family, or uproot our ministry, or do something really hard for a food-addicted person like me – give up sugar?!!

The truth is you and I might fail.

We might get it wrong to begin with, or we might convince ourselves the work is too difficult and give up part way through. There is no guarantee of success, no promise of perfect achievement, at least not in this lifetime.

So why take the risk?

Because the alternative is remaining stuck.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of feeling stuck.

I’m fed up.

I’m ready for real and lasting change.

I’m determined not to let the enemy’s lies hold me down any longer because I fall short of perfection. For several years now, I’ve been writing about looking for progress, yet somewhere along the line, I fell for the lie that it’s all or nothing all over again.

And as sad as I am about that, it’s okay, it really is. It’s okay because…

Grace.

Grace is what allows us to grab on to the rescue rope. Grace reminds us that when we can’t pull ourselves up, He promises not to let go. Grace teaches us to let our Father do the heavy lifting so that our burden will be light!

Those fears we have when we’re feeling stuck? They’ll still be there.

They’ll sneak back up on us late at night when we lay down to sleep. They’ll plague us when we slip back into old habits. They’ll whisper, “You can’t do it.”

The enemy of our souls seeks to devour us, but we can be protected if we’ll just put on our spiritual armor and choose to do battle in faith.

You and I? We must choose to believe the promise of God’s Word that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. That we are more than conquerors in Christ. That even when we can’t, He can! And most importantly, that He loves us still.

He loves us still.

I don’t have all of the answers when it comes to setting goals, friend, but I know the One who does, and I trust that even if we set the wrong goals, even if we fail miserably, even if pride gets in the way, He will set us straight.

If we choose to walk hand-in-hand with Him, rather than running like Jonah or hiding like Adam and Eve, we can be confident in our direction.

Let’s get unstuck together.

Jen :)

P.S.  If you’re ready for change that really lasts, my friend Arabah Joy has created a workshop called Grace Goals for goal setting that is biblically based (affiliate).  It’s one of the things I appreciate about her most – her material is always doctrinally sound and rooted in scripture. The second-best thing I like about Arabah Joy is that she keeps her products affordable, too. ;)

If you’re tired of feeling stuck, the first step to getting unstuck is to make a real plan for change!

Are you frustrated and feeling stuck? Did you fail to meet last year's goals? Or perhaps you're not sure where to start in setting goals for next year?  Grace Goals is a biblical approach to goal setting that can take the fear right out of planning for success!

Here’s what the printable Grace Goals workbook will assist you with:

  • Identifying the key area God wants you to take possession of
  • Setting practical, godly goals to take your promised land
  • Developing a doable, personal plan for change
  • Learning why grace is the enablement you need
  • Recognizing and appropriating grace in your daily life

Let today be the day of your fresh start!

If this year wasn't quite what you planned, then you need a fresh start!  Learn how to set goals by using this biblical approach. Experience the transforming power of allowing God to lead your efforts!

 

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

 

What You Need to Know about Your Work-in-Progress Status

It’s Friday and you’ve survived another week, maybe even another month. Sometimes you wonder how much longer you can keep at it, how much longer you can grind your way through the hard work we call life.

And some days, the hard work defeats us, owns us, and we become less than – less of a wife, less of a mother, less of a daughter of the King, less than we truly desire to be.

We’re tempted then to blame the weariness, the dead weight we’ve been dragging for so long, on our hectic lives.

I’m just too busy.

The phrase slips into my mind so easily, yet I know it’s only a half-truth. Yes, I’ve been busy, but not just with the family schedule. My mind has been busy, too – busy with worries, thoughts, plans, dreams, and even dissatisfaction.

We’re weary women, you and me, and we long for some space to smooth down our frayed edges and quiet our souls, yet we’ve somehow lost the way.

If I’m honest, I have to admit that my biggest problem isn’t my hectic schedule, though. No – the biggest problem is that when my schedule is crazy, my perfectionism and need to control kicks into overdrive. I’m tempted to think if I just work harder and longer, then I can keep myself afloat. 

If I just do everything right….

Unfortunately, I’m not perfect and neither are you. No matter how hard we try, we’re bound to fail at something along the way.

And fail, I have.

I’ve been a grumpy mama and a distracted wife. I’ve offended others in my haste and frustration. I’ve neglected to connect to the only Power Source who can really keep me going in the tough times. I’ve been trying way too hard to do something I cannot possibly do on my own, and boy, is it painful!

Why do we do this to ourselves, my sisters in Christ?  Why do we expect the impossible rather than resting in what we already know to be true?

~I’m sharing three of my favorite truths to fight against the pull perfectionism over at my friend Kaylene’s blog today. It would make my day if you’d hop on over there to find out what you really need to know about your work-in-progress status (and how to get a freebie)!

Sometimes you wonder how much longer you can grind your way through the hard work we call life. You feel too busy, like you're always failing at one thing or another. What you really need to know are these 3 truths about your work-in-progress status.

 

 

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

 

 

Through My Grace-Colored Glasses

Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again.  He just won’t leave me alone. He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord.

Some days I can ignore him and others I just can’t seem to escape. And I know it’s Perfectionism and not the Holy Spirit because of his voice.  He whispers lies to me: “you’ll never change” or “you’re never going to be good enough” or “why even bother anymore.”

I’ve been enslaved by his words before, but last night was different.

You see, my husband and I stayed up much too late because we were arguing about a financial issue.

I felt angry and disappointed and fearful.  The familiar panic of how can I possibly do right in this situation and still get my point across welled up within me, and I knew a battle was swiftly approaching.

I know some of you are chuckling right now, and rightfully so!

It’s the quandary every woman who ever lived on the face of Earth deals with: to obey the Lord and demonstrate respect for my husband or to take control and make my voice heard?

God’s way or my way?

When it comes to submitting to and respecting my husband, I so often feel like Paul in Romans chapter 7. I know what I want to do, what I should do, yet I feel powerless to actually do it.

I’ve believed so many lies for so long.  

I fail frequently.

But the Lord is faithful, and I’m learning to trust His promises to carry that work in me, in my marriage, until completion in the day of Christ (Phil. 1:6).

 

Later on after our apologies were spoken and we both felt at peace, we finally turned out the lights in hopes for at least a few hours of sleep.

And that’s when it happened.  

Have you ever felt stalked by perfectionism or trapped by failure? "Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again.  He just won’t leave me alone. He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord." Through My Grace-colored Glasses

In the stillness of the dark, my husband’s voice broke through Perfectionism’s insidious whispers, “Thank you for being so calm and patient with me tonight.”

Stunned, my disbelieving heart rejected his kind words and earlier tears returned in full force.

“But I wasn’t patient!” I agonized. “I was so angry and so disappointed and I struggled, I really struggled, not to say mean and hateful things.” The weight of my own sin and failure hung about my neck.

My husband’s reply was quiet, yet firm, “Babe, even though you were angry, you were patient with me. You didn’t bite my head off. You maintained control. You gave me space and that helped me.”

At that moment, the truth of his words broke through Perfectionism’s grasp.  No, I didn’t handle the situation as well as I would have liked; I wasn’t perfect.  Yes, there was definitely room for improvement.

Nevertheless, his words rang true. What normally would have developed into a full-fledged, hours-long fight was briefly resolved.  By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, I realized that we were definitely making progress.

That’s when I saw Perfectionism for what he was – one part self, one part Satan.  

Self was prideful, Satan was deceitful, and the combination of the two brought me chains of defeat that I no longer wish to carry.

In Perfectionism’s chains, I so often measure in black and white, success or failure, perfect or imperfect.

Praise the Lord that my Redeemer is teaching me to put on my Grace-colored glasses and see the shades of success, to celebrate even the smallest steps of progress, to proclaim every small victory because of His work in me, in us.

Stuck in the rut of perfectionism? Here's what you need to know! How an argument with my husband led to my very own pair of grace-colored glasses.

I hope I never forget that moment.  My husband spoke freeing words to me last night, and the Holy Spirit confirmed them within me.

Daughter, you are the good that you so desperately want to be, not because your efforts are so grand and your reach so high, but because you are walking a path of progress, trusting in the promise of redemption.  I never asked you to be perfect, just willing. At the same time, daughter, you are perfect, not in yourself, but in my Son because He already carried these burdens with Him and nailed them to the cross.  They died and were buried with Him.  But you daughter, you rose with Him in perfection, a new creation, beautiful to behold, born of His glory.  And now you no longer live as a slave in Romans 7, but in Romans 8 as more than a conqueror, confident in the promise that you will never be separated from His love!

2 Corinthians 5:17 proclaims, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come. (NASB)”

I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be overwhelmed by such truths, such promises, such magnificent grace.  In the midst of my sorrow and my shame, my Savior showed up and handed me a pair of Grace-colored glasses.

Perfectionism, you’re no longer welcome here.

I’m embracing my work-in-progress status

and the grace that has already set me free!

Jen :)

Is there an area of your life where you need to embrace your work-in-progress status rather than the “failure” label that the Enemy would have you believe?  Why not share it here in the comments and we can pray for one another!

Sharing with: A Look At the Book, Make Your Home Sing Monday, Tell It To Me Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, Wedded Wednesdays, A Little R&R Wednesdays, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Fridays

Fear and Blogging ~ Grace and Truth Week 9

Hello, faithful readers! It’s that time of week again when we all gather ’round for some encouragement. How is everyone? Has the week been victorious?  Has it been rough?  Has it been a roller coaster of in-betweens?

Wherever you are in the spectrum this Friday, keep in mind that Jesus knows; He understands.  Whether we’re sorrowing or rejoicing, struggling or persevering, He’s with us. He’s FOR us. That gives me comfort, friends!

This week I’m happy to introduce you to Shari Lynne who blogs at Faith Filled Food For Moms. In this week’s featured post, Shari writes all about that fear that all of us face in blogging, but honestly, her words could apply to so many areas of life.  Are we doing too much? not enough? right? wrong? and on it goes. We all know the struggle of wanting to do our best at something, yes? :)

I love this line in particular from her post:

Fear…Fear…Fear

Unfortunately this can lead to striving OR it can paralyze us into doing nothing or even worse…quitting!

How true!  We can swing from one extreme to the other if we miss her important advice.  Click on the graphic below to read it!

fear in writing, fear in blogging, wanting to do the best in blogging, how to fear less and blog more, Grace and Truth link-up

Jen :)

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A New Perspective on Setbacks

Yesterday, as I drove home from a good workout, I was feeling so thankful for some progress in regaining strength after my recent extended illness. I was also proud of myself for exercising every day of the week so far.  I felt joy and hope like I haven’t felt for weeks!

Victory was mine!

Just as I reached our back door, I slipped on some ice, fell forward, and banged my knees hard on the cement step.  Fear gripped my heart as I relived the tail-bone-breaking incident of what we now call Buttkill Falls.

I feared a major setback.

Eyes watering, I picked myself up and took a few tentative steps. My right knee hurt the worst, but I could still walk.  It was scraped and already bruising. As I limped into the house, the internal monologue began…

Just like Adam and Eve, the original sinners, I wanted someone to blame, and my husband was the first victim.

I can’t believe he didn’t clear off this walk all the way!  Doesn’t he know that’s not safe?! What if one of the kids fell….

But I didn’t stop there. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, free from the wrath of Egypt yet still not content, I began to question the Lord Himself.

Why, Lord? Are you really going to allow me to be injured again just when I’ve found a good rhythm with my health goals?  Why am I being punished for doing what is right? I’ve worked so hard. Why didn’t you help me, keep me from falling?

Exodus 17:2-3

So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (empahsis mine)

As soon as the prideful thoughts entered my mind, I knew I was wrong – wrong to blame my husband, even more so, wrong to blame my Father God.  And wrong to think that my “good efforts” excused me from any sort of pain or suffering.

So you're facing a setback, and you fear things will never change for you.  And that might just be true if you let a failure stop you in your tracks. But if you want to persevere, you might need a new perspective on setbacks and what they mean. How to Have a New Perspective on Setbacks from Being Confident of This blog

You see, fear took over for a few moments.

I was afraid that another injury would keep me from meeting my health goals. I was afraid that another setback might discourage me to the point of giving up – a pattern that has repeated itself over and over again where my health is concerned.

I was afraid of failing.

I was afraid I would not be able to persevere!

Conviction stung my heart for such sinful thoughts, for my desire to lash out at someone else in my frustration.  “I just want God to help me,” I tried to reason within myself.

But perhaps He already had…

Maybe His best help was to allow me to fall.

Yes, I mean it, truly. While it’s not wrong to be excited about the my progress, the Father gently showed me that, once again,  I was beginning to rely on self alone rather than Him.

Perhaps I needed that fall to remind me that I will only conquer this battle with health and weight by His power and strength. I cannot do it on my own. Without even realizing it, I had slowly slipped back into my “can-do” attitude.

I can do it.

I’ve got this.

I don’t need You right now…

Does it sound familiar, friends? How many times a day do we catch ourselves relying on our own efforts instead of Him?

How many times do we deny the power of Christ in us, in favor of our own human strength?

How often do we place our trust in self alone?

You think I would have learned the lesson by now. He’s only been trying to teach me for the last thirty-plus years!  It’s that work-in-progress that I’m always talking about – aiming toward progress instead of perfection.

I’ll make mistakes.

You’ll make mistakes, too, friends.

Sometimes the setback is a wake-up call to our own sin.

And often the best help our Father God can offer is letting us fall, just as we have to allow our own children to fall at times.  It’s the most difficult, yet most loving thing we can do as parents, yes?

A New Perspective on Setbacks, setbacks to your goals when you face a setback, dealing with setbacks

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

He lets us fall so that we might see our need, so that we might throw off self and run to His arms instead!

He lets us fall because He loves us too much not to.

It’s the best help He can give –

helping us turn from self to Savior!

Jen :)

Side note: My knees seem to be okay, Praise the Lord! One is a little swollen and bruised, but so far only injured externally, from what I can tell. I’m incredibly thankful for His mercy.

Sharing with: Grace and Truth