Disclaimer: This blog post is going to get biblical. I am often humbled by the fact that my blog is read by diverse people in so many countries (104 countries to date—won’t God do it!) and I appreciate and love all my readers. With that being said, I also know and respect that I have readers who do not share my Christian beliefs. Thus, this long disclaimer is just to let you know ahead of time that this post is going to be biblical [a little more biblical than previous ones]. Nonetheless, I do believe that no matter your religious beliefs, there will be something that you can take away from this post. So don’t run away… at least not yet.
So here goes…God does not give us obstacles…He gives us tools…
Have you ever gone to bed after a terrible day and asked yourself: “What on earth did I do that was so bad for life to give me so many overwhelming battles?” You lay in bed tossing and turning while reviewing and overanalyzing everything you could have possibly done since birth to make you deserve such daily defeats. By midnight, instead of sleeping, you come up with a list of things that were a bit shady and could make anyone look at you twice [trust me we all have things in our past that would make an angel blush]. You keep at it throughout the night and by morning you are exhausted, but you still find the time to start comparing your list of ‘bad things’ against what you know of other people.
Side Note: Comparison, not money is the root of all evil.
By the time you get out of bed [feeling more worn out than you did before you went to bed] you start the blame game, and now that you are tired of pointing the finger at yourself and comparing yourself to others, you turn to blaming God. Accusing God, on its own, isn’t going to satisfy you. I mean…you may feel the need to blame someone, but common sense and all of your Sunday school training should have told you that it may not be a good thing to roll out of bed trying to attack God. Personally, I do not think that it is the wisest thing to do. So instead—like a little child—you get passive aggressive, telling yourself and others that God made these things happen to you…placing obstacles in your life [and you actually start to believe this crap]. BUT…before you walk out of your front door carrying that type of mental and emotional garbage with you, let me break down the truth to you.
God does not get bored in heaven and is not going to take out a jar of battles and obstacles to place in your path. Life is not a board game and God is not rolling a pair of dice beneath the clouds and shouting ‘snake eyes’ on heartbreak or ‘easy eight’ on personal attacks. [Yes, I had to google the dice terms—I am a dominoes girl and don’t know a thing about dice unless I’m playing monopoly.] What God is actually trying to do for your quick to blame, highly ungrateful and overanalyzing backside is to provide you with the needed tools to get you to where you need to be.
And before you roll your eyes out of your good head and down into your morning coffee, let me reschool your thought pattern by using four examples of how God does not give obstacles but rather, He gives tools. [Yes FOUR, because some of you stay like doubting Thomas and need an encyclopedia worth of proof to support any thesis]. It is my hope that by the time you have finished reading one or two of these tools [and of course all four for the doubting Thomas among you], you will find peace in knowing there is purpose in your battle and—for the love for all that is holy—you will stop the unhealthy practices of blaming and/or comparing.
THE FOUR TOOLS
Tool #1: God gave the Israelites the Red Sea
When we come face-to-face with our ‘Red Sea’/wall/unpassable obstacles, we tend to get fearful and doubtful on what we can do and where we can go. So we panic. We often forget the previous battles we have seen won and place our focus on our loss of control in the present situation. Through the Israelites’ Red Sea experience, we are shown that anything is possible. So instead of seeing your personal ‘Red Sea’ as a roadblock, view it as a possible filter. When you see it as a filter—where people, practices and places that can prevent you from growing into who you are destined to be are strained out and washed away—your attitude begins to change. If the Israelites didn’t come up against the Red Sea, the Egyptians would have been able to follow them and overtake them. Exchange the fussing and ‘woe is me’ mentality, and start thanking God for washing all the ‘parasites and undercover haters/blockers’ out of your life.
Tool#2: God put Ruth in the fields to glean
We sometimes view loss and failure as the be-all and end-all of life itself. With that type of mindset, when we experience loss or when our relationships come to an unwanted end we tell ourselves that we will never love again. We convince ourselves that no one will want us. We even go to the point of persuading ourselves that starting over would be impossible and with that, we start comparing our lives to others, even their social media. [Remember what I said about comparison being the root of all evil…it is a %$#&.] But starting over isn’t impossible. Ruth’s story shows us that through humility, the ability to accept change and the knowledge/faith that God has a plan for our lives, God’s tools can result in life changes for us and everyone connected to us.
Tool #3: God gave David a fight with Goliath
Where most people may have seen Goliath as a murderous giant (and yes, he was), he was also the path [tool] that God chose to elevate David from shepherd to a soldier and, ultimately, King. Through David’s story, God teaches us that every enemy is not meant to break you, but to shape and build you into someone else. Spending your time basking in your loss blocks and delays you from seeing the opportunity that is right in front of you. So, gather your faith, hard work, and prayer, and slingshot your dreams into the universe.
Tool #4: God gave Jesus the Cross
The idea of a king or savior who would allow himself to suffer and die on a cross was inconceivable for many people. They saw it as a weakness and a way to break his followers. What they did not realize was that the cross would be used as the ultimate tool to show how sacrifice could lead to life. And not just for his life, but for all our lives. What was seen as the end was just the beginning. The cross shows us that even when we are broken, we can still be a beautiful mosaic and serve a purpose. It is when we are able to look beyond the obvious and hold on to the faith that there is a purpose, that we are able to move from short-term sight to long-term vision.
You may now be thinking, “But Lisa, I am not a biblical character. This is not my story!” Well…guess what…they weren’t biblical characters when their miracles were happening. They were simple humans living human lives [the bible was written long after them]. Your story—your journey—is a testimony for those around you to see good and God’s work during dark times. Your perseverance in the day-to-day obstacles you face gives them hope and allows them to develop more faith. In an unexpected twist, you are to become one of God’s tools for others around you.