January 19, 2016

When You Want to Give Up Before You Start

Written by Shana Schutte

When You Want to Give Up Before You Start 1.19

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 19, 2016

By Shana Schutte

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13, KJV

Have you ever had an idea that set your soul on fire? You were certain it was God calling you out to do something for Him and you were totally stoked. You immediately wrote down your idea, called your best friend, and announced it to your neighbors. But then a couple hours or days passed and the flame of enthusiasm you initially felt began to die, doused by the reality of what it would take: resources you didn’t have; courage you felt you lacked, and expertise you didn’t possess. So, because it looked impossible, you gave up before you started.

This common scenario reminds me of the book of Nehemiah in which Nehemiah describes how he rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem. His passion for this project was ignited when he asked one of his brothers, Hanani, about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile. His brother told him.

“Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire” (Nehemiah 1:3).

Jerusalem was defenseless against her enemies. When Nehemiah heard this, he was deeply moved so he sat down and wept. For “some days” he mourned and fasted and prayed before God. Finally, his passion led him to petition God for favor in approaching the King to ask for help in rebuilding the wall. Sadly, many people never get past the passion stage where Nehemiah was during his “some days” of fasting, weeping, and praying for favor from the King. Sure, we may pray for days or weeks when an idea has set our souls on fire. But then we take inventory of what following our desire will require, and we decide we can’t do it because we don’t have what it takes.

We lack the skills, money, time, courage, influence, knowledge, expertise or college degree. We are too young, too old, over qualified, or under qualified. We’re married. We’re single. We’re divorced. We lack support from others, and the vision to know how it’s going to unfold. And so we shove down our passion, forgetting that if God is calling us, God will provide what we need. We ignore our ideas, disown our desires for fear of failure, fear of being criticized, or fear of not having enough. And before you know it, we have talked ourselves right out of our idea. In-between passion and action, we give up. We fill in the question marks and blanks of our future with deficits and determine that it would be best to stop wanting and dreaming and instead we should just stick with what’s safe—even if it will kill our hearts. We dry our tears, brush off deep emotions that could lead us to action, and decide that we won’t move forward because it’s just too risky. Don’t you think it’s tragic that we give up before we have taken even one step toward what could be God’s plan?

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Prayer:  “Lord, please help me not to be guilty of the sin of unbelief when you call me out to do something special for you. Help me to remember that if you have called me, you will prosper the work and give me what I need to accomplish your will. Amen.”

Application: Is there something that has been on your heart that God may be calling you to do for Him? Reflect on what could be stopping you from stepping out in faith, then take your concerns to the Lord.

Related Readings: Isaiah 41:10; Luke 1:37; Job 42:2

Post/Tweet this today: Faith and obedience don’t give up before they start. #WisdomHunters #GodWillEquipYou

Worship Resource: 9 minute video – Bethel: Stronger

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Comments

  1. M. says:

    We ignore our ideas, disown our desires for fear of failure, fear of being criticized, or fear of not having enough.” -that was my favorite quote. What a well written and encouraging devotional. Thank you for writing and sharing it.

    1. Gwynne says:

      Dear Marlene,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out to us after reading “When You Want to Give Up Before You Start”. We appreciate your kind and encouraging words and will pass them along to our guest writer, Shana Schutte. Shana really “nailed it” with the feelings we have when we give in and give up.

      I was glad she brought Nehemiah into the devotional, too. I was curious about this man and “dug deeper” into the Word to learn more about him. Gracious, Nehemiah was a mighty example of prayer and trust while seeking out God’s discernment! In the devotional Shana states, “For ‘some days’ he mourned and fasted and prayed before the Lord”. Please Lord, may I be as faithful and prayful as Nehemiah!

      I am thankful for the reminder that Shana writes: “And so we shove down our passion, forgetting that if God is calling us, God will provide what we need”. Amen!

      Have a wonderful day, Marlene. We are so thankful that you are a fellow wisdom hunter and look foward to hearing from you again.
      Blessings,
      “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
      you make my lot secure.
      The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
      surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
      Pslam 16:5-6


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