How to Stretch Your Life to Fit God’s Plans for You
- Friday, April 11, 2014
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Lisa Harper’s new book Overextended and Loving Most of it: The Joy of Being Harried, Heartbroken, and Hurling Oneself off Cliffs (Thomas Nelson, 2013).
God often calls you out of your comfort zones to grow your faith, so in order to truly fulfill God’s purposes for your life, you’ll have to take risks. Each risk you take will stretch your God-given resources, however, so you’ll constantly need to ask yourself if you’re willing to devote your time, energy, and money to say “yes” to God whenever he calls you to do something.
It’s easy to get to the point in a faithful life where you feel stretched to your limit. But God, whose power is limitless, wants to stretch you beyond what you think is possible. It’s only when you get to the point where you have to rely on God’s power – because you’ve gone beyond the limit of your own abilities – that you can truly accomplish all of God’s plans for your life.
Here’s how you can stretch your life to fit God’s plans for you:
Aim to love God and people with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Jesus said that devoting yourself to love God and the people God has made is what’s most important in life. So, every day, make that your goal and ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to do so well. Don’t settle for anything less than giving your best to love each day.
Remind yourself that giving your all to God is worth it. It’s always worthwhile to give your all for your Creator, who always gives his all to you. No one is more worthy of your devotion than God. Jesus promises that if you give up your life for his sake, you will find the life you’re meant to live: a life of eternal significance.
Be willing to say “yes” to God in any circumstances. Don’t worry about whether or not it seems inconvenient to respond positively to God when he asks you to do something. Instead, if you sense God urging you, step forward in faith – even in situations where doing so is inconvenient – trusting that God will provide whatever resources you need to faithfully answer his call. Just small steps of faith can lead to great results when you’re fully trusting God to lead you.
Expect challenges, but never abandonment. In this fallen world, living a faithful life to the fullest will bring you face to face with all sorts of challenges. But keep in mind that God has promised never to forsake you, so you can rely on him to help you overcome even the toughest challenges you face.
Blast through burnout. Whenever you feel burned out from the stress in your life, you can overcome burnout by taking the steps in the acronym “blast”: breathe (inhale while welcoming God’s peace into your soul, then exhale while getting rid of your anxiety), listen (listen for the specific messages that God is communicating to you), ask (pray for the Holy Spirit to give you clarity about your current circumstances, as well as the wisdom and help you need to best deal with them), smile (start smiling, and your emotions will take the cue from your body to calm down), and take the next step (just take whatever specific action you sense God urging you to take).
Recognize that joy grows in the soil of sorrow. If you didn’t risk getting your heart broken, it could never be filled with joy. If you didn’t suffer brokenness, you couldn’t experience restoration. So while it will sometimes be painful to stretch yourself out more toward God and other people, and you may experience sorrow as a result, ultimately you’ll experience more joy from having taken the risk than you ever could have otherwise.
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