Our culture teaches us what we need to do to be successful and get ahead. We learn strategies like take initiative, make things happen, prove yourself, be a lifelong learner, constantly seek the next advancement opportunity, or find ways to make a difference through your work. If you’re like most people, you’ve learned to employ your strategies of choice under your own strength. But how many times has that actually left you feeling like you’ve fallen behind – behind in energy, health, creativity, clarity, passion and joy.
This year, my word (One Word) is Strength. Yes – this is the year I’m going to be stronger than ever!
Or so I thought, until I was diagnosed with pneumonia on January 23rd. I have never had pneumonia before. And I had NO idea how hard it would hit me. Suffice to say that for the next eight weeks or so, strength seriously eluded me.
I don’t believe God made me sick, but I know that He uses the circumstances of our lives for good (Romans 8:28) – sometimes to teach us a much-needed lesson. At the time, I was in the middle of a big project. I had just FINALLY gone back to school to finish a degree. So I had heavy demands at work along with new demands in my personal life. And suddenly I didn’t have the physical strength to get any of it done.
I had to lean on God for strength. How?
Here is the four-part strategy the Holy Spirit led me through …
- First, trust God. I could have freaked out, but that would not have helped me solve anything. Trusting God helped me keep a positive perspective, have hope that things would work out, and think with clarity. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
- Second, let go. Let go of fears, excess commitments, and, yes, short-term desires in favor of the bigger, long-term picture. (1 Peter 5:7)
- Third, get rest. Rest in the Lord by being still in His presence, and get physical rest – eight hours of sleep anyone? (Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 127:2)
- Fourth, set intentional priorities. Once I seek God’s direction, let go of my own agenda (and fears), and get enough rest, it’s much easier to set appropriate priorities that ensure the best things get done well. (Romans 12:2)
Here I am, 10 weeks later. The project is on schedule and going well. I’m running at a 96 average in my college classes. Everything that needed to get done, got done and is getting done. I had to back out of a commitment and let go of a few things – the world didn’t fall apart. And God used this experience to help me learn to work more closely with Him – which makes it all worthwhile.
Could you use a bit of strength from God right now?