Don’t give up on yourself

“Don’t Give Up On Yourself.”

One email heading in my mailbox yesterday.  Five little words. But, what a big punch.

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We all have dreams. We all have passions. It’s absolutely natural. In fact, it’s emotionally and spiritually healthy to have vision for the future. Dreams, goals and vision help us move from where we are to where we long to be.

It’s all good -until everything falls apart.

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Financial set backs. Health problems. Unexpected disasters. Sometimes it’s just stupid mistakes or unwise decisions that throw all our hopes and  dreams into a tailspin.

We figure the best thing to do is to crawl into a hole somewhere and just disappear. Give up. Go home. Never dream again.

This mindset may sound drastic, but when you travel down enough dead ends, it makes perfect sense.

But, it’s not.

At the very epicentre of disappointment and disaster is a door. A battered framework that waits for us to enter. It’s not exactly The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe kind of stuff. But, it’s a surrender of the heart  that leads to growth and change of a magnitude that may have never been possible before our lives flipped upside down.

By now you may think I’m one of those people who 

  • wears tin foil hats to keep aliens from reading my thoughts.
  • grows armpit hair specifically for the weaving of magic baskets.

Both are interesting concepts. But, not true in my case. And, it’s not just because I look terrible in hats or that I am a mess when it comes to small motor skill challenges. 

It’s just that I know all about dead end streets. I’ve seen fragments of my hopes and dreams waft away like bits of dandelion fluff on the wind. I wanted so badly just to give up-

to cry

and cry

and cry

until my eyes puffed up like inflatable swim rings, my nose crusted over and every surface in the house was piled high with sticky globs of kleenex.

I know. Dramatic.

But, we all process in our own way. We all slip and slide down to the bottom of despair in our own individual and not always elegant style. 

But, the bottom is the same no matter how you land.

And believe it or not, the hope is the same.

God is in the darkness as well as the light.

And He often works out His glory in us through our crash-and-burns even more powerfully than in our own carefully crafted plans.

Back to crusty noses and piles of kleenex. After the waves of 

anger,

frustration

and disappointment,

there comes a calm. It may be many things. Exhaustion. Resignation. Our bodies telling us its time to just stop and breathe.

This is a good time, a very good time to ask yourself one question.

This mess, this disaster, this complicated collapse of all that we depended upon- what does it make possible?

It’s a question I first read on the Michael Hyatt blog a couple years ago. Ever since, God has used that one question to challenge me again and again and again.

What does all this crazy stuff that has happened to you make possible? What door does it open for God to perform a miracle? What unwanted stuff does it reveal that needs to change for healing to happen?

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Don’t give up on yourself. God gives us dreams for a reason. Our job is to keep following those dreams with all that is within us. And when we hit a dead end, it’s God’s job to reshape, reposition and renew us by opening a new door.

When the dust clears, ask God – what does this make possible?

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