When the Going Gets Tough
So you stepped out boldly and you stepped into something new. You took that initial step that God wanted you to take and you put all your heart into it. It felt good and it felt great because you knew that you had obeyed God and submitted to His leading.
However, playing it fast forward a little bit, you look back now and are starting to wonder if that truly was the Lord’s voice or leading. The feelings aren’t so victorious anymore and the going has become tough. The vision that you initially had and started out with has begun to fade. Instead of a crystal clear view and focus, you have a blurry sight before you, and you once again wonder if you have gotten lost or missed it.
It feels like you are walking through a desert, where there is just sand around you and all you can see is sand. No clear path, no greenery and no life.
If you are feeling this way; welcome, you have hit the transition time!
But before you get discouraged or want to give up in despair, you need to realize that this is a normal phase that is part of everyone’s journey.
Three Parts to a Journey
There are always three parts to a journey.
- A Beginning
- A Transition time
- A Goal
The Beginning Phase
When God showed you the new that He wants to take you in, He showed you part of the goal and the plan that He has for you. It got you so excited that you began this journey without even thinking more about it. You stepped out and started walking, keeping your heart fixed on the goal.
What you perhaps didn’t take so much into account is the middle phase: the transition time.
Unfortunately, this is the longest part out of the three and the one that you will find yourself in most likely for the bigger part of the journey. It’s the phase where you get tested the most, will be challenged to the core and your motives will be purged.
It can be likened to a journey that you take to hike up a certain mountain.
When you stand at the foot of the mountain and you look up you get an awesome feeling. It might feel a bit overwhelming first, because the mountain is just so huge and so big. Having grown up in Switzerland we had mountains that were immensely big and high. They overshadowed the whole valley and looked just so majestic in strength.
It was always a view that made my heart jump, and the idea of hiking up to the top of the mountain and reaching it’s peak, came with a lot of excitement. And so the journey starts out with tons of good feelings, adrenaline and joy.
However, when you have been walking for a couple of hours around that mountain, and you look back you feel like you have gotten nowhere. It can get so discouraging because you cannot see either anymore, the beginning or the end. All you can see are the stony walls surrounding you and the small path leading between them.
Every now and then you get a small place of grass, like a plateau, where you can rest a bit and perhaps even sit down. But otherwise it feels like walking on and on without getting anywhere. The journey has become tough.
Fix Your Eyes Back On the Goal
In this stage it is important to remember why you started out in the first place. It was not just because you thought it was such a great idea. No, it was because God said He wants to take you to a new place in your life. He wants to take you all the way to the top, so that you can see His view and see more of the land that He has for you.
Don’t allow discouragement to settle in and block you from pressing on. I know this is easier said than done. But in Christ it is possible and if you fix your eyes back on Him instead of the way you feel right now, your feelings will change as well. If you speak forth His Word and what He said you will accomplish with His help, the strength will come back and you will be able to make it all the way.
I think the worst someone can do is to turn halfway and go backward again. Take it back to the mountain climbing story above and imagine you decide halfway through, that this is not worth it and it’s better to go back down into the dark valley again. You will feel even more discouraged and on top also defeated because you gave in at the wrong moment.
What you didn’t realize though was that had you just gone around the next corner of your hike, you would have seen the sun and already part of the amazing view that you were hoping to see in the first place.
Often just before the breakthrough comes, the going gets the toughest. The darkness becomes the darkest, and the motivation to press on any further and really conquer it to the end wants to leave you.
It happens in the natural and it happens in the spiritual. It is part of everyone’s walk.
Victorious to the End
If you see people that seem to be going from strength to strength and from glory to glory, it is because they know how to press on through during the times when it gets tough. We all are facing them, every single person.
But the way we approach them and embrace them is what will make the difference.
Again there are three ways you can approach these times and respond to them:
- You stop altogether and progress backward – kind of walking backward and going down the mountain again
- You complain the whole, long way – if there are others walking with you, you drag them down with your negativity and make the journey unbearable
- You fix our eyes on the goal and press on through until you reach the mark – you rely on His strength to take you to the end
Since I touched already on the ones that stop and progress backwards, I don’t want to cover much more on here.
I want to make this clear though; there is no such thing as just stopping. Sure you can take breaks and you can rest and you can reconsider why you are doing what you are doing. But if you stop for too long, you begin to progress backwards if you like it or not. You will automatically be left behind and slip back into the old again. Because you are neither in the old or the new and to feel comfortable, you will have to go either way.
So you either revert back to where you have started out, or you make a choice to go all the way.
Are you one of those that keep complaining all the way, saying ‘when will we be there, Jesus? When will we reach the goal and the peak of the mountain?’
While He is more than willing to encourage you every step along the way and help you through, it seems to make the journey drag on forever and kind of uncomfortable.
Have you ever driven in a car where the kids in the back ask every two minutes when the journey is going to be over? It can drive you absolutely nuts. Unless you get them sidetracked, and get them to see something interesting instead, they will go on forever and you will be a wreck by the end of the journey.
Thank the Lord for His patience with us and for being always there to encourage and not losing His cool in the process. I do admire that in Him.
But truly, the journey gets hard like this and the fun is gone. And all because of your attitude towards it. I know you cannot change your feelings by gritting your teeth, no matter how hard you try. But you can change your attitude by an act of your will and by making a choice. Your feelings can be changed through pictures and by changing the thoughts you are letting in.
The Victorious Ones – This Can Be You!
And then we have those that truly make it to the end.
This is what you want to aspire to become like. And in fact, if you know the truth this is what you already are deep within. Because you are more than a conqueror through Christ. You are the head and not the tail, you are above and not beneath.
If you stepped unto this new journey and the Lord opened the way, He wants to take you ALL the way. It might come with a lot of detours, but the goal is nonetheless before you. How fast you get there or how many detours you are taking is up to you. As long as you keep walking and pressing on forward, no matter what.
So if your going has gotten tough, fix your eyes back on the Lord. Stop complaining about the way He chose to lead you and embrace it. Stop seeing the struggles, but see how far you already have come and allow Him to show you once more the end result and the end goal of your journey.
Change your attitude towards your walk or your circumstances that you are in because of the road He has chosen for you. Perhaps you cannot change the situation right now, and you are not meant to, but you sure can change your attitude and choose to walk it out with determination and persistence.
The Lord knows all the stages you are facing and He is with you all the way. Look into His eyes and follow His voice and you will soon see the fullness of what He has promised to you!
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