In what area of your life do you feel like you've hit a road block and it is discouraging you? Perhaps it is in your work or finances, in a relationship or responsibility, your health or a weight loss challenge. Whether personally or professionally, we all face points on our path where the answers don't come soon enough. It is during these times when you must tap into a spirit of determination. If you don't, you may see your dreams wash away.
This type of determination is epitomized by a group of friends trying to help their paralyzed friend in the New Testament:
"Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." - Luke 5:17 - 19
"...He [Jesus]" said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God." - Luke 5:24-25
These men didn't see the crowds surrounding the house as a road block. They knew their answer was inside, but they also knew they would not be able to access their answer the quick and easy way. It looked like there was no way in, but they determined to find a way!
This week, I challenge you to get determined. In our fast-paced culture, could it be that we have become so used to getting what we want quickly and easily that the virtues of determination, patience and perseverance have suffered? Authentic confidence says, "I may not know how to get it right now, but there is a way, and I am determined to find it." You may have to work harder than you thought. You may have to be creative. You may have to step outside of your comfort zone and do it differently than everyone around you. But when it comes to your destiny, there is always a way to work around the obstacles. In fact, the obstacles are often there so that you can develop the character traits you need to succeed in the next phase of your life.
Consider this five-step process to working around the perceived obstacles in your life:
1. Make a decision to find a way.
Determination begins with a decision to succeed, whatever it takes. Set your intention to succeed. Commit to it fully. Be confident. Get clear about what it is that you want or need, and focus keenly on it. The people in the scripture above wanted healing for their friend - and they made a decision to do whatever it took to get it. Get clear about what you are aiming for, then refuse to allow distractions to steal your focus. What is the real goal you need to be focused on?
2. Manage your expectations.
Don't expect success to come "fast and easy." It is possible that your answer may come quickly and easily, but don't count on it. More often than not, success comes when you persevere, persist and work at it over time. Be prepared for the long haul.
3. Stop focusing on the obstacle and start looking for an opportunity.
The men with the paralyzed friend weren't focused on the crowds swarmed around the house. They didn't try to push their way through. They realized that their real problem was not the crowd. The real problem was that their friend needed to be healed and a miracle healer was inside, if they could just get to Him. Seeing that the traditional way of getting into the house would not work, they focused on finding another way. When it comes to overcoming the obstacle to achieve your goal, what options haven't you considered? Write them all down. If you have trouble identifying options, brainstorm with a wise and trusted friend, pray and listen for options that are different from what you've previously considered.
When it looks like there is no opportunity, create one. Research your options. Be willing to fail. Blaze a trail if necessary. There is a way!