You're NOT created to be STUCK.
YOU'RE CREATED TO MOVE!
Ready to move away from a self-defeating mindset and move towards all God has for you in life, love, and purpose?
Do you find yourself:
Not feeling good enough - like you'll never measure up?
Constantly stuck with the same struggles in life?
Confused with knowing your value and who you truly are?
Wondering if whether or not you're worth it?
At your wit's end and ready to just give up?
Why Me?! Why Do I Have To Be Like Those People?
Why me?! Why do I have to like those people? Those who are stuck. Who are struggling. Who are suffering.
We all have a story. We all have “baggage” from our childhood, from broken promises, from hardships in our relationships, from adverse circumstances.
No one is exempt from having a “story”. No one.
But are we defined by our “story”? Or are we something more? Something unique? Something beautifully crafted by ONE who is mightier than we are?
I look back on those people – the ones I’ve been associated with or “grouped” with and I have come to accept we have a common anguish within the fabric of our stories. I wish it wasn’t the case, but I too am one of those people.
…The ones who have dealt with a cancer diagnosis.
…The ones who were excluded from life’s fun for years due to chronic pain.
…The ones who are a product of their parents’ divorce.
…The ones who’ve been deeply hurt by their spouse.
… The overwhelmed.
…The very ones I would have much rather not been like.
Why Do I Have To Be Like Those People?
At times when I’m feeling sad for myself – not self-pity – but a deep sense of sadness for the loss of what I have faced and am facing, I find my mind desperately searching for a different way of looking at my story. Like gasping for air while drowning, I try to find meaning and purpose in what feels like meaningless and purposeless pain.
When I think about who Jesus was numbered with – those people he was associated with – it wasn’t the cool crowd or even the highly “religious” crowd. It was the forgotten. The sick. The rejected. The excluded. The wounded. The overwhelmed.
As I look back on His life, I can see that on every account there was massive meaning and purpose being those people He was numbered with. And if there was meaning and purpose behind those Jesus was numbered with, wouldn’t that be true for me too since I’m made in His image?
What If This Was His Plan All Along?
~ What if the very people I’m numbered with – those people who have shared a similar anguish to mine, are the very people God has called me to serve? That somehow I needed to be numbered with them so that He could fulfill His purpose – not only in me, but through me?”
~ What if the very people who have hurt me deeply were actually being used as wielded instruments by the hand of God, to shape me and mold me more into His likeness?
~ What if they were meant to be part of my training season – preparing me and catapulting me toward the good works God planned for me to do long before I was ever born? (Eph. 2:10)
~ What if my circumstances are actually “strengthening me and hardening me to difficulties” (Is. 41:10) so that I can rise up as the warrior God originally created me to be?
~ What if I’m actually being set up to succeed similarly to how an Olympic athlete trains to set himself or herself up to win?
~ What if all of this was actually part of His plan?
If it was, would I Iook at those I’m numbered with differently? Would I view those who have hurt me through a different lens? Would I see my circumstances more as a strategy than a tragedy?
I do NOT believe for one second God puts sickness on us or causes us to be wounded by another person just to “teach us a lesson”.
But I DO believe His viewpoint is very different than mine and He has purposes beyond my ability to comprehend. (Is. 55:8-9) He’s eternally minded and the more I align my viewpoint to His – the more freedom I will find in any circumstance I am in.
Freedom Comes When We Choose To Align With His Perspective
This is NOT easy! But as we choose to align our perspective to His, we start opening ourselves up to the thought that maybe – just maybe – our suffering has more purpose and meaning than we can ask or imagine. That there is actually a higher purpose in all of it. One that gives us a future and a hope.
Maybe our suffering and being like those people, is actually the very catalyst that launches us smack dab, right in the middle of God’s fulfilled promises for our lives?! 1 Peter 4:13 says,
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed of the revelation of His glory. “
Suffering has a funny way of positioning us to be also numbered with those people who get to see, experience, and be a part of God’s glory being revealed.
Joseph – One Of “Those” People Who Became A Superhero
Joseph, who was brutally betrayed by his brothers, is what I would consider a real-life superhero.
He was thrown into a pit by those who were meant to love and protect him. Then sold into slavery, falsely accused, sent to prison (more than once!), was rejected, excluded, wounded, and overwhelmed. He was stuck in a situation that I’m sure, felt like sheer Hell. (see Joseph’s full story, starting in Genesis 38).
If he was on earth now, we would say he has every right to get full revenge on his self-centered brothers. We would consider it to be reasonable for him lay down like a victim and let his “story” define him. The story his brother’s set him up for. The story that had the potential of causing him massive trauma, depression, and anxiety.
However, somehow, someway, through a massive roller coaster ride filled with being in and out of prison and in and out of being shamed, Joseph came out with a perspective that is mind-boggling!
Genesis 45:8 says,
It was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh–the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.
He was referring to his brothers in this verse! The very ones who started this nightmare “story” in his life!
How Did He Do It?
How on earth did Joseph get from a place of despair to a place where he viewed the very events that put him into a nightmare – were the same events that catapulted him smack dab, right in the middle of God’s promises?!
He could have let his story define him.
He could have let his brothers’ story of him define him.
He could have let those people he was numbered with in prison, define him.
But he didn’t.
He contended with his thought life until he grabbed a hold of a new way of looking at his story.
Somewhere along the process of his contending, he began to take on a different perspective of his situation. This caused his attitude to began to shift. Through a series of even more adverse circumstances – go figure!! – his attitude positioned him to cooperate and align himself with God. Eventually he became Pharaoh’s Advisor.
Amazingly, it was because of what his brothers did to him, that set him up and positioned him to become Pharaoh’s Advisor, therefore putting him the direct position to help many others, including his brothers.
Not only did he overcome the circumstances of his life – but he more than overcame! He thrived!
All because he contended with his own thoughts and perspective until they aligned with God’s eternal perspective. An eternal perspective, gives us the ability to see things very differently just like when we’re flying 35,000 feet above the earth’s surface.
John Bevere wrote in “The Bait Of Satan”,
I imagine it never crossed Joseph’s mind until it was all over that this was God’s process to prepare him to rule. Joseph was learning obedience by what he suffered. His brothers were skillfully wielded instruments in the hand of God. Would Joseph hold fast to the promise, seeking God for its purpose?
Perhaps when Joseph had his dreams he saw them as a confirmation of the favor on his life. He had not yet learned that authority is given to serve, not to set you apart. Often in these training periods we focus on the impossibility of our circumstances instead of the greatness of God.
What Are You Focusing On?
The circumstances around you? Or the fact you have a BIG God on your side?
What promises has He given you that feel a million miles away right now? The ones that seem pale in comparison to what you’re facing?
What if you could start changing the trajectory of your circumstances simply by changing the questions you ask?
Instead of asking, “Why me?!” Why am I numbered with those people?
You ask, “Who are those people I’m numbered with right now and what is the purpose behind me being numbered with them?”
Instead of asking, “Will my health be restored?!? Will my marriage make it through this fiery trial?!? Will my family be healed?!? Will my dreams ever come into fruition?!?”.
We ask, “What’s the purpose behind my circumstances? What do you see, LORD, from your vantage point, that I’m not able to see from mine? What are you up to and what are you preparing me for?”
2 Cor 1:4 gives us a clue on how we can find our own freedom and healing in the midst of our own pain and suffering.
“He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God.”
Even as we are currently dealing with our own troubles and adversity, we are called to use the same promises God gives us, to help others in their affliction.
As we follow through with this process, our perspective will begin to shift to an eternal perspective. Freedom and healing will begin to birth something inside of us that is beyond our wildest imagination. Not only will we discover our own freedom, but we will see the freedom in those people we’re numbered with. Those same ones that share a common anguish to our own story’s anguish. We may even get to see freedom being born in those who have hurt us just like Joseph got to see in his brothers!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Eph 3:20