If you’ve listened to this podcast for any length of time or read some of my blog posts on my website, you’ll know that I struggle with getting things done. I’m definitely not perfect when it comes to managing my life well. I have times where a lack of motivation and discipline derail my best efforts to be productive. And I often fall short when it comes to achieving my goals.
I’ve spent a lot of time searching for the one or two things that would help me to be more motivated and disciplined to live the way I want to live and the way I know I should live as a follower of Christ.
Over the summer I have been working through the bible study, The Power of God’s Names, by Tony Evans. Essentially, the study is about learning a few of God’s names used in the Bible. When we read through the Bible, we will see God referred to as God, Lord, LORD, Savior, and Master. But these names do not always mean the same thing.
There were many names for God in the Hebrew language. Depending on the context, when we read the name God, it could have a different meaning in different passages of the Bible.
Currently, I’m studying God’s name of Jehovah Jireh. This name means The LORD Our Provider. As I watched the video relating to this week’s focus, it became very clear to me that something is holding me back from following through on my good intentions and living the life God has planned for me.
I’ve talked in past episodes how I’ve struggled with getting up early. I’ve also shared how I’ve not made as much progress with The Planning Woman platform as I’d like. I know some of the root causes of both of these issues is lack of motivation and even a little bit of fear that I don’t know what I’m doing and that I’ll fail.
But as I listened to Dr. Evans explain more about the origin of God’s name, Jehovah Jireh, I came to realize that my issues really run deeper than lack of motivation and fear of failure.
In Genesis chapter 22 we find the story of Abraham being told by God to sacrifice his son Isaac. If you’re not familiar with the Old Testament, Abraham was the one who God promised to make into a great nation through his son Isaac. The Israelites who were God’s chosen people descended from Abraham.
When God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, it looked like God was going against His character and His promises. First, God would never condone child sacrifice, would he? And second, how would His promise of making Abraham a great nation through Isaac be fulfilled?
As you read through Genesis 22 you will see that Abraham immediately obeyed God and took Isaac up to Mount Moriah to sacrifice. I’m sure he had so many questions. I can’t imagine being in his shoes or sandals having to sacrifice one of the people that is most important to me in my life.
So after Abraham placed Isaac on the altar and was about to sacrifice him, the angel of the LORD called out to him to stop.
Verse 12 says, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”
God did intervene and stopped the sacrifice of Isaac. Instead of Isaac being the sacrifice, God provided a ram that had its horns caught in a thicket.
In verse 14 of Genesis 22 we read, “So Abraham called the name of the place, ‘The LORD will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.’”
This name that Abraham gave God was Jehovah Jireh because the Lord provided for him in a time of need.
What is Your Isaac?
We often keep ourselves from living our life well because we are holding onto something that God wants us to sacrifice. And I don’t mean sacrificing just for the sake of sacrificing. We all have our own Isaac that we are holding onto that is hindering us from moving forward.
I firmly believe God has blessings for all of us. And not just material blessings, either. There is nothing wrong with being prosperous, but I don’t think that should be our main focus in life. There are many other kinds of blessings that God wants to bestow on us, but we’re keeping Him from doing so because we are not willing to sacrifice something important to us.
Let’s take Abraham’s example. God had already promised that He would make Abraham into a great nation. However, He needed to see if Abraham was really committed to Him. So God told Abraham to sacrifice his son.
It wasn’t until Abraham obeyed completely that God provided the ram as a substitute sacrifice. Dr. Evans says that God will often test our love for Him by calling for our Isaac. God will often not bless until He sees your complete commitment to Him. I know that’s kind of hard to grasp. Because we want to see God as just a loving God, not one that requires a lot from us.
Oh, we will receive blessings from time to time even without showing our commitment to God. He is gracious and merciful like that.
What I feel God is showing me through this study is that I’m not willing to give something up to do what it takes to fulfill the calling He has on my life and to see the blessings that come with that calling. He is waiting to provide for me the results and blessings I’ve been looking for.
Again, this is not necessarily material blessings. If we are in tune with God and what He wants from our lives, then our ideas of blessings will match His.
In my life the Isaac God is calling me to sacrifice is comfort.
I have come to the conclusion that the main reason I stay in bed longer than I plan to is comfort. I wake up and I’m comfortable where I’m at. Even though I have a lot to do, comfort is winning out. There really is no other reason I should be staying in bed.
As far as my work on The Planning Woman goes, I think comfort is the root issue there as well. I’ve found comfort in the things I know how to do and have gotten good at doing. So moving out of my comfort zone will call for me to trust God fully with the results. And I’ll have to be willing to fail sometimes.
I’ve said this before, but the days I’ve been able to get up on time have been some of the most productive and fulfilling days I’ve had. That’s what I call a blessing. Just one of many I know God has in store for me.
Your Isaac maybe something totally different. Your finances, family, health, material possessions, relationships, and an addiction can all be Isaacs if you’re holding on to them and trusting them for your fulfillment in life.
So what do you do if you know you need to sacrifice something in order to be obedient to God and to make progress in living your life well?
Three steps to sacrifice
Ask God to show you what He wants you to sacrifice.
You will most likely have to pray and read through His Word to get this answer. However, I have a feeling that most of us know what is entangling us and keeping us from moving forward. We may not notice it right away, but I know if you ask God to show you, He will be faithful to reveal what’s holding you back.
After journaling through my thoughts, comfort immediately came to mind. So if you’re having a bit of difficulty figuring this out, give journaling a try. You can write down situations where you feel like you are being held back. Then just brainstorm ideas about why you are being held back in those situations. If you keep going with this, eventually a pattern will emerge and you’ll begin to see what you are clinging to and trusting to provide fulfillment in your life.
Make a list of pros and cons.
Write out the benefits of sacrificing as well as the potential pitfalls.
Seeing these benefits written out will help put into perspective what you could be missing out on if you don’t sacrifice. And this list could also make it easier to choose to make the sacrifice.
Find an accountability partner.
Often when I have breakthroughs like this, I tend to get all excited about making the necessary changes. Then after a short time, the newness and excitement wear off. So I start slacking and stop following through on what I needed to do.
I’m asking a friend to help keep me accountable. I know this sacrifice of comfort and getting out of my comfort zone is so vital for me to see some success. I see this friend every Monday, so it will be very easy for her to check in with me. And, I can do the same for her in whatever area of life she needs accountability for.
So those are just three things I’m trying so I can sacrifice the comfort that has been holding me back from being obedient to God by doing what he’s called me to do, and that is to help women.
What is holding you back from living your life well?