Single Parent Faith

Saturday, May 19, 2012

On the Verge of a Breakthrough


“Set your sights on the specific impossible things God wants you to trust him for in your life.” – Steven Furtick (Pastor, Author of “Sun Stand Still”)


Many of us in our 40’s and beyond can find ourselves in a place where the voice of disillusion beats its oppressive drums. It’s an inaudible yet steady thump, thump, thump, beating against our soul, depleting our potential, if we allow it.

We get caught up in the daily routine of responsibilities and life’s worries that form. You ever notice that there are always things to worry about?

Disappointments are the same way.  There’s a lifetime of them to pick from, if you so desire. Then don’t forget regret when reflecting on shoulda, woulda, coulda’s.  By our 40’s, our minds have typically accumulated a live streaming video of all the missed opportunities and moments we didn’t step up and take the chance.  Perhaps we took chances on the things that were destructive and disruptive to our lives.


Worry, disappointment, and all the energy zapping emotions we typically generate without much effort, will only guarantee we’ll further deplete our potential— Strand by strand unraveling the fabric of our hopes and dreams. If we allow ourselves to dwell in sadness for the things we have yet to accomplish, these disappointments can be debilitating. The key is recognizing we can still accomplish these things if we make a course correction.

Do you ever feel like you’ve plateaud? Where you find yourself in a rut? Perhaps you are feeling a restlessness that is prompting you to make a change. I find that unless I am intentional to expose myself to new information, new situations, I stagnate pretty quickly.

When my daughter was young she captured a gecko and stored it in an airtight container. By the next morning, the gecko was dead. Without a way for life-sustaining oxygen to be introduced into the container, its ability to sustain itself on its own resources was insufficient.  

Typically, in our current stock of well-meaning friends and relatives, they have come to grow comfortable with the role we’ve played in their lives all this time. Sometimes if we make a change, they are not comfortable with us. After all, they are accustomed to our old ways. Relying only on them will keep us where we’ve been, where we are today. But how about tomorrow? Where do you dream to be?

That’s why it’s imperative to our growth to introduce new material, and new perspectives into our world of the limited familiar. This includes exposing ourselves to people outside of our normal comfortable circle. Look to people whom you admire, people of integrity that you respect.  These can be strangers whose behavior you’ve observed. Don’t seek out people who are where you are today. Seek out people who are where you wish to be tomorrow.  Seek them out as mentors to contribute to your arsenal of information and who can be your encouragers. We all need people in our lives who have something to say of significance, speak with integrity, and who have the audacity to tell us the truth.

When I’m feeling in a rut, I look to make a shift. I put myself in places where excitement and contagious “audacious” faith are prevalent to expand my world beyond what I am comfortable with.

The church I attend was hosting a conference and in the evenings the sessions were open to the general public. I audibly expressed my commitment (at the time to the guy I was dating): “I'm coming all 3 nights!”  He said, “We can ‘try’ to come.” I repeated, “I definitely plan on coming!” I did not care whether I went by myself, but I was going! 

The thing is, the only way to get out of a rut is not to hitch my wagon to someone else’s motivation, but rather my own. If we wish to flourish, it can only be done if we commit ourselves to doing it for ourselves. If we wait on another’s timetable, we may never grow because it is always dependent on another's will. At the end of our path in life, we will be alone (even if surrounded by loved ones) in our evaluation as we wonder, did I do my best with what God gave me? Or did I wait on others to do it for me?

To change our circumstances, to dig out of a rut, we have to do something different from our ordinary menu. In my case, I felt I had to embed myself into the powerful surge of uplifting sermons that erupt from such a conference. I just knew that attending three consecutive evenings was going to do something transformational for me. My expectations were surpassed.

The powerfully packed messages energized my spirit and expanded the boundaries of comfortable awareness which I can  settle into if not careful. Complacency and comfort can act to encapsulate us and slowly squeeze out the oxygen. We can pass out and not even know it because it happens so gradually. First the sleepiness sets in and then snap, we’re  unconscious. Welcome to the unconscious state of most people, busy going through the motions of our lives, even the motions of mechanical prayers.

I recently began reading Steven Furtick’s book, “Sun Stand Still.” Here’s what this 30-somethng year old pastor says about what he calls, “audacious faith”:

“There’s an unquestioning optimism that comes as standard equipment when you’re young. Honestly, I think it’s a gift from God. Time can talk you out of your dreams. Routine can weaken your propensity toward audacity.”

He continues, “Don’t think for a moment that bold vision is reserved for the next generation…audacity does not discriminate on the basis of age or disqualify because of wasted years. No matter how far behind you feel, or how many opportunities you’ve squandered, you can begin to ask God to do the impossible in your life right now.”

To ask God for the impossible, is certainly inviting change into my life. One is never too old or too young to ask God for the impossible.

I feel like I am on the verge of a breakthrough. This happens when it appears like all hell is breaking loose. When trials and challenges come all at once and we wonder, “Really? What more?”  We feel restless. We’re feeling at odds with people, circumstances, and our own sense of peace is disrupted. We feel anxious, scared, unsure, and alone. We are being tossed about in the wind, bending to the hurricane winds.

When this happens, rest assured that change is coming. It’s as if these trials act to ready us and make us receptive to introducing something new—Receptive even to God’s presence. When we go through this, it’s as if something inside us is trying to shake us awake to change. Can you feel it?

It’s not supposed to feel safe and tranquil when we are being shaken awake. Often when things are peaceful and flowing smoothly, we just don’t want to rock the hammock.  We just want to swing in it. If we’re not careful, years will pass in our slumber of complacency. It isn’t until we are shaken at our core, that we break free from the crust that has settled on us like fine dust accumulates over time.

To experience a robust venue of life, we must be open and invite this shift that is on the verge of happening. Feel the uneasiness, the disruption, and know it for what it is. It is change knocking at our door. To open the door we have to get off the hammock.

"Change is the esence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become." — Author Unknown

Ella Venezia
Copyright © 2012 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved.

Image Source: © All rights reserved by Ben Heine

2 comments:

  1. Some good thoughts, Ella. I'm in the process of making some very big changes in the next month or so. However, these are tied to smaller changes I started making about a year ago. It's amazing how consistent action over time can add up.

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    Replies
    1. Michael-
      Thank you for sharing how your process started with smaller changes over time. I did not get into that in my post, but change is most certainly a "process" which typicaly doesn't occur overnight. Our declaration for change may come overnight, but our working through it...putting the action behind the words, occurs over time. And as you said, it takes "consistent action." I wholeheartedly agree! That you have been consistent with your intention for change speaks of strength and perseverence. Because too many quit if they don't see immediate results. Not realizing that the breakthrough is in process.

      God Bless you as you prepare for these changes coming in the months ahead. May God guide you, provide you the stamina and fortify you with courage as you push forward.
      -Ella

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