It sounds a strange thing for someone who is frustrated with their progress to think of God being frustrated with them. After all, they are the ones who are stuck or blocked from going forwards or reaching their dreams.
I spent years being frustrated and believing I was doing all the right things. I was just waiting for God to make those right things work. In the end, I got so frustrated that I allowed Him to do anything and everything that it took to get me unstuck, no matter what the cost. Looking back he manoeuvred me into that situation and prepared me for the challenges that were part of His process of getting me unstuck.
I had no idea that He might have been frustrated by my unwillingness to do what was necessary to go forwards. He was stuck as He had to work on me to overcome my free will choice not to go forwards. He found a way to get me into a place where I was willing to choose.
Part of His strategy was to find a way of strengthening me so that I was in a fit state to make a choice. Then He manoeuvred me into a situation was I was so unhappy with where I was that I just had to do something. What did I do? I screamed at Him to get me unstuck so that I could serve Him better.
I am not the only one
Recently I was with someone who told me that they wanted to go forwards. After a few hours, I was incredibly frustrated with them. I was trying to encourage them to take some steps forwards and I found myself facing a barrage of reasons why they could not.
It was obvious just from looking at them that they had looked at the challenges ahead and thought that they seemed like huge mountains. Mountains that they were frightened to cross. They could have done it as others were willing to help them and make the journey as easy as possible. Not only that but it is possible to find the equivalent of route maps, and weatherproof clothing even protective footwear. If only they would reach out for help there were people on hand willing to guide them and provide all the resources that they might need.
What was worse as they explained all the reasons why they could not go forwards was that I heard the old me again and again. I left them totally frustrated. Remember I was trying to help them progress towards the dream that they had told me and all I heard was a series of reasons why they were not willing or able to move forwards. My dream had been to come up with ways of helping people like then and here I was stuck.
This time though I had a better understanding of what God must have felt like when I was stuck. You see my dream had been to come up with ways of helping people like them. Now here I was stuck because they were unwilling to go forwards.
We stand in our own way
I was definitely doing this, and still do from time to time. In my case, there was one obvious solution to removing the blockage. I was unwilling to take that path as I struggled to believe it was the right one. Even when God organised circumstances so that I did follow that path I still was not sure it was the right one.
I had some pretty good reasons why it was the wrong path. In fact, it seemed to me that following that path was totally against everything I had been taught in church. I just could not go that direction so therefore could not move forwards.
That was why I thought that if they were anything like me that the root problem was not the mountain or the guides but them. They were standing in their own way. How does anyone go forwards when they are standing in their own way?
Our beliefs are powerful
They could not believe that someone like them could do what God had called them to do. The problem from my perspective was that they found it so much easier to see all the negatives than any of the positives. They saw what they did not have or might not be able to do. They could not see the possibilities and positives that I could see.
As I listened to them it became obvious to me that they could not believe that they could go forwards. This negative belief was so strong that they were looking for things that would stop them. They were even trying to make it sound as if not going forwards was doing a kindness to me.
Ouch, I heard myself in their words. I realised that the biggest reason why they were not going forwards was that when they looked ahead all they saw were reasons why they could not. The reasons why they should go forwards were not as strong as the reasons they said that they should not. I wanted to move forwards and do something about moving forwards and at every turn it was I don’t think now is the right time. It drove me crackers.
We go where we believe we can go
I tried to explain how other people had done something very similar to what they wanted to do. I tried to explain that all it took was deciding to climb the mountains. You see once you have made the decision the way will become clear. In fact with me once I had decided I wanted to be unstuck and I was going to get out of God’s way so that I could get unstuck I did not have to do anything. God organised it so that the biggest obstacle to me becoming unstuck removed itself from my life. I was not happy about it and I tried and failed to stop it happening. It took a while to realise God was right and that it was the best thing for me.
If you do not make the effort to climb the mountains and get to the other side then you stay where you are. It has to be your choice to climb them. God does not make choices for us. He guides us towards making the right one at times. He puts us in positions where we have to make a decision at times when we are unwilling to do so. However, we have free will. It is our choice we chose the discomfort of climbing over and the joy of reaching the other side or we stay where we are and feel the discomfort of being stuck.
God puts us in positions where we have to make a decision at times when we are unwilling to do so. However, we have free will. It is our choice we chose the discomfort of climbing over and the joy of reaching the other side or we stay where we are and feel the discomfort of being stuck.
If we believe we are the weakest little worm that ever lived. There becomes no point in doing anything because we think we will fail. It then becomes better to protect ourselves from the inevitable failure by not even trying.
Now, what do I do?
There is one thing about constraints. That is they force you to think and come up with other solutions. Well, they do when you really want to achieve a goal.
I could give in and let the frustration of not being able to do what I wanted to do overwhelm me. I did for a while and wrote the first draft of this journal entry while it was still impacting me like that to give me the chance to express myself.
Of course, I wanted a solution and God, as usual, had various ways of giving me good ideas so I could develop it. It is strange how He can use secular, worldly to prompt us and help us develop ideas that help us.
One of the things I do on a regular basis is listen to videos and various speakers online. They come from a variety of perspectives but there are times when I pick up ideas from them that are nothing to do with what the topic they are talking about. This week was no different and after listening to a number of different talks I had come up with a strategy that had a number of different strands to it.
One strand involved helping the other person recognise how they were standing in their own way. Another was for me to take a bigger role in that activity. A third was to get them to remember what the project we were working had done to help others and to imagine what else it could do. In other words what was life like on the other side of the mountains.
I also realised that one of the excuses they gave me why they could not do more was actually a good reason why they should do more. Well if one excuse is I don’t know if I will be able to continue then it would easy to turn that around into it being a good idea to do things now that would help a possible successor.
Amazing there were so many possible ways of going forwards despite my initial frustration of not going forwards in the way that I had originally intended.