By Christina Patterson, Crosswalk.com
We are well into April and I've already fallen behind on some of my New Year's resolutions. One of my goals was to be more consistent with meal planning and eating out less. I was not that excited about this goal but I knew it needed to be done. One way I decided to get motivated about cooking more was to challenge myself to try one new recipe each week. To hold myself accountable, I would post the results on my Instagram account.
It's really been fun and I'm actually doing the things I pin on Pinterest. Who would have thought? Crockpot chicken and biscuits, tortellini soup with Italian sausage, and chicken masala are a few of the recipes that have spiced up my evening dinner and even my excitement about cooking.
But then there were unexpected guests, sick kids and just life. Now I'm almost 4 weeks behind and I'm entertaining the idea of just throwing in the towel.
This got me thinking; we don't typically consider quitting until challenges and obstacles come our way. When we pursue a new relationship, career, craft or idea we usually always start with feelings of hope and optimism. But, when an obstacle or challenge comes, it’s then that we start to think about quitting.
Some of you are ready to walk away from much more serious challenges than my new recipe resolution. You've been working out for months and have seen little to no results. You're trying to read your Bible more but the passion to do so has not come and it's starting to feel like another chore. Work and relationships are draining you and although you'd never walk away, you are on the verge of checking out.
You are not alone if you feel this way. I think of the woman with the issue of blood that we read about in Mark 5. For 12 long years she suffered from a bleeding issue that left her sick, lonely and broke. It seemed there was no hope for a better life. Then something completely changed her hopeless situation. We learn in Mark 5:27 that she heard about Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead and giving sight to the blind.
So she sets out to see if Jesus can heal her too. She now has a goal and a glimmer of hope. When she finds Jesus He is surrounded by a crowd of people, all pushing up against Him. This would present an obstacle for her. Her bleeding issue meant she was considered unclean according to Israelite custom. She should not even be around other people. Not to mention, she is weak due to her condition. Pushing through a crowd is hard enough for a healthy person, but for her this would be beyond difficult.
When she saw this crowd she could have turned away. At the time this would have been easier for her. But she didn’t. She did not allow her obstacle to get in the way of reaching her goal. She pushed though, touched the edge of Jesus’ cloak and is instantly healed. I wonder what healing, what success, what freedom awaits us on the other side of our obstacles. If we give up now, we may never know.
The woman with the issue of blood teaches us a valuable lesson: just because obstacles come our way and make us want to give up, we don’t have to. So if you have a dream or goal and need some motivation to push through here 4 ways keep going when you want to give up.
1. Do not beat yourself up if you get off track.
Doing so will only discourage you even further to stay off track. Simply pick yourself back up and remember perfection is not the goal. The goal is to stay the course. Sometimes we will fall down, but we don’t have to stay down. Brush yourself off, learn from your mistakes and keep it moving. Every time we keep going even when we don't want to we position ourselves one step closer to realizing the life change we desire.
2. Celebrate the small victories.
Others can cheer you on but if you are not your own cheerleader it is going to be difficult to stay motivated. Take time to look back and celebrate all the small accomplishments within your greater goal. I think you’ll find just because you are not where you want to be now does not mean you have not made progress. Do not lose sight of this but let each accomplishment be the motivation you need to take one more step towards victory.
3. Watch your inner monologue.
If you've already decided in your mind you can't do it, you won't. The surefire way to suck the motivation out of you is to tear yourself down with negative thinking. I like to ask myself “would I say this to someone else?” And if the answer is no then I shouldn’t say it to myself either. I would never tell a friend she looked fat, she was not enough, or looked horrible today. So I should not be saying or thinking those things about myself either.
4. Pray for strength.
There have been so many days where I had no idea where I would get the strength, time, money and help to do everything I needed to get done that day. Then I would pray about it and give it to God and He would come though so miraculously I could never even try taking credit for it. You may feel weak but God has granted us His strength, and many times that strength is simply one prayer away. When we humble ourselves before God in this way we realize we are not alone. And that truth, that He is with us, is always enough to keep going.
Be blessed and finish strong girlfriend.
Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at www.belovedwomen.org