When your dreams seem out of reach and you feel stuck.
Updated: Jun 20, 2019
Have you ever felt so stuck in the season you're in that you sometimes can't move or breathe? I have. In fact, I've felt this many times during different seasons. Sometimes the feeling could be so overwhelming that we didn't realize it has dragged us out into deep darkness of loneliness, hopelessness, and despair. It sucks to be in a place like this. It's hard not to feel settled and happy. Usually, I'm stuck because I want to be somewhere and I can't seem to get there. I want to be somewhere else locationally, spiritually, and relationally, but somehow I feel like where I want to be is so far out of reach that I can't even imagine what it looks like. For a control freak like me it is very unsettling to not know what the next step is, to not know what it will look like and to not know how to even get there. And what's scary is that I don't even know sometimes what I want. I just know I want something different. I've struggled many times with thoughts like this and to be honest, it can lead to depression and hopelessness. The good thing is that God is gracious enough to show me each time when I'm going down this path. He takes my hand and leads me out gently.
My family has gone through A LOT of changes this past year. Changes we knew were from God but were very hard to swallow. Changes that caused me to see ugly things in my heart. This past year was a lot of going down the dark path and God leading me out into the light.
Something God has challenged me with is in the area of what I pray for. Everyday, I found myself begging God to take away painful things. The apostle Paul prayed a similar prayer in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. He said, "So to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with theLord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.”
I pleaded with the Lord for something else. I pleaded to be taken somewhere else, either the past, perhaps life in Cambodia where we were happy, or the future with our dream home and community. I wanted God to either take me back to the past or fast me forward to the bright future.
But, the answer has always been the same. THIS is where he wants us to be right now. To be honest, right now is not bad, it's not bad at all. We have a great family who supports us, loves us and provides for us. We are thankful. BUT, this is not where we want to be forever. There are certain areas in life where we want to be as a family. There are certain areas where we want to grow. We have hopes and dreams as individuals, as a couple, as a family and dreams for each one of our kids. And right now, those dreams feel so out of reach that I seem to be like a child throwing a huge tantrum because I can never win the claw game at the arcade. You know what I'm talking about. The claw game where you try to grab the stuffed toy you want but the claw can never seem to catch anything and always comes back empty. It's like you thought you had it, you were on the right spot, the claw actually grabbed the toy but just to let it go at the last second and it comes back empty handed. That's how I feel about dreams.
What is God teaching me through this? What is the biggest lesson He is trying to teach me right so I can grow?
One night I was doing my pleading prayer. Pleading to him to take me somewhere else. And his clear response was this verse, "godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out of it.…" (1 Timothy 6:6-7)
NOT really the response I wanted to hear. Godliness with Contentment. He showed me how to change my prayer. Instead of pleading to be taken somewhere else, why don't I pray for godliness and contentment. Pray to grow in Him even when I don't feel settled physically and emotionally. Pray to be content because HE IS ENOUGH. Pray that HIS PRESENCE would be so powerfully real where I am that even when i don't feel secure I will be because HE IS HERE. His presence would be enough to clear the other longings in my heart because really those other longings will probably leave me feeling empty again. I should long and plead to be surrounded by his presence everyday to bring light to the darkness I'm going through and bring truth to the lies that are being spoken over me.
That's how powerful my Jesus is. He is able to bring life even in the hopeless darkest hours of our lives. HE IS ABLE!
So next time we feel hopeless or unsettled or in despair.... I want to challenge you to change your prayer to, "God help me to grow in godliness and learn contentment joyfully". I can't say that this prayer is easy. It will probably not change whatever current situation you want to be taken away from. But it will change your heart and you will start to see what God IS doing in the midst. I'm starting to see a little bit more of what He is doing rather than what he is not doing. I'm actually in awe of his faithfulness. I'm in awe of his love. I'm in awe of his provision. God has done miracles for us. He is alive, able and powerfully loving to bring me and you hope.