*** Before we get any further into this post, it’s important to note that the reasons mentioned below are indicative of things that I have experienced in my own life. There comes a time when we become aware that something is not working. Just as I have dealt with these things, some of you may be dealing with them as well. Should you find yourself in any of the reasons listed, I pray that you will have the courage you need to make the changes that are preventing you from walking into your purpose.
What is “Life Progress?”
Life progress does not mean that you have reached the pinnacle of success. It does not even mean that you have finally reached the height of your career.
What it means is that you’re now in a place where you are ready to move beyond the unsettled.
Have you ever been in an altercation with someone? A disagreement that was never resolved?
It’s bothersome… isn’t it?
You can’t move on. You can’t move past that nagging feeling of having “unfinished business” with the other person.
That’s because it’s unsettled. You haven’t found the closure that you need to move forward.
Closure requires us to move towards the unresolved issue instead of away from it. Usually, we don’t want to move towards it because of the things that have transpired in the past when we were dealing with that issue or situation. Unwanted feelings, frustration…. the inability to get through.
The same is so when we feel an idea impressing upon us. We feel called to do a certain thing. We feel a “tug” or a “pull” in a certain direction and then we go in the opposite direction. Now, we’ve reached the place of being unsettled because we’ve neglected to move towards the pull and instead have chosen to move away from it.
Let’s assume that “impressing idea” or “pull” is purpose.
What’s Preventing You From Making Life Progress?
You Don’t Believe in Yourself. (The most obvious reason). But I think some of us aren’t even aware that we don’t believe in ourselves. I’ll use myself as an example.
I’ve always wanted to write, so much to the point that when I was younger I believed I would be a writer. You know, the age when you really believe that you can be anything that you want to be. It wasn’t until I got a little bit older that I stopped believing that I could actually be a writer. I grew to learn and believe and to think about being a writer only in terms of sustainability. I didn’t believe that I could actually make a living out of being a writer so I gave up on the idea.
Even though I had thought of writing in this regard, I still felt as though I wanted it to be a part of my life. It was something that I loved about it. Something that was liberating about it and something that excited me about it.
Yet and still, it took me a long time to even begin to explore the possibilities of what it meant to be a writer. And even after I began exploring those possibilities of what it meant, I still pondered whether writing was worth it or not.
What was the meaning of it? Why was I doing it? Did my writing have purpose? Would it make a difference? Would people even care about what I had to say?
Again, I neglected the “pull” towards it, which caused me to run around in circles chasing things I thought would provide sustainability instead of just yielding to it.
Sometimes I think that we are so uncertain of what the outcome will be or if there will even be an outcome at all that we neglect to move towards the pull.
You Won’t Ask for Help. Sometimes the simple solution is to “just ask for help.” That’s a lot easier said than done, however. A lot of things prevent us from asking other people for help–fear, embarrassment, discouragement, shame, pride. If you’re anything like me then you’d rather try to do everything on your own (pride).
“Too much pride will destroy you.” Proverbs 16:18 (CEV)
And as good as you are, as talented and as skilled as you are, you still need the help of others. There is always someone who knows more and is further along than you are… and sometimes it’s just about reaching out to see if someone can help. We could be further along in life as well if we did so.
Asking for help is less of a sign of weakness and more of a sign of wisdom.
It takes a certain level of wisdom to be aware of what you need and a certain amount of courage to actually go forward and pursue that which you need.
As soon as I put my pride aside and realized that making life progress would require help from others, things began to change for me. In fact, that’s how I got back on this track to “making writing happen for me,” (another story for another time), which also brings me to my next point.
You Despise Community. I wrote a post not too long ago about dealing with isolation. In a nutshell, I talked about some of the reasons why I hid myself from other people.
Often times, it is not that we “despise” community or other people per se, but, rather it has everything to do with the way that we feel about ourselves.
Sometimes we go into isolation or “hiding” because of our own insecurities and the way that we feel about ourselves. We do not want to involve ourselves with other people because we feel uncomfortable with who we are.
But it is not until we begin to search our hearts and to pray and ask God to help us with our insecurities and the things that we don’t like about ourselves that we will learn to love community and being around other people.
We cannot grow without relationship or move forward without fellowship.
“People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.” Proverbs 27:17 (GNT)
Being a part of a community allows us to be around other like-minded people who have the same interests or who are trying to reach a common goal. Community allows us to have a support system. It’s a lot easier to attain your goals when you know that you have others that you can confide in and others who may be experiencing some of the same things that you are.
You build off of one another.
You lack patience with yourself. (The last big giant). The number one rule when attempting to accomplish any goal or move forward in what we believe is purpose, is establishing patience with ourselves. We may be inclined to think that because we’re gifted or talented in a particular field that things should come easily to us. While that may be the case sometimes, other times will require us to extend a new level of patience to ourselves. Reason being? Because skill alone will only take us so far. When we move into using our gifts in a different capacity, things will not always just “flow” or be “smooth.”
For example, writing on a blog requires using my gift in a different capacity. This blog process has not been easy for me. From not knowing what to write about, finding a focus, taking the time that is required to put out good content that I am proud of, has been hard work–sometimes hard to the point that made me think this is not for me.
If we aren’t careful, we’ll rely too much on what we’re good at to get us where we’re trying to go all the while, the capacity to which we are using our skill will require us to tap into another level of patience.
Because I thought my gift was enough and that whatever capacity that I used it in should be “easy,” I wasn’t willing to be patient with myself when things seemed difficult or when I wasn’t producing results fast enough.
But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:4 KJV
Another version of this scripture says, “But you must learn to endure everything so you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything (CEV).” We have to endure. We must be patient if we want to see results or anything be fully produced within our lives.
Some of us have laid our gifts down because we are lacking in patience. It’s not that you are not good at what you do or that you can’t be good at what you want to do, you just have to stick with it along enough to see the results or see things change.
In essence, making life progress comes as a result when we begin to pursue the unsettled. That lingering thought, that impressing idea, that inkling that we feel in our guts that we’ve chosen to ignore is the unsettled. And while we’re constantly moving up in our career or “advancing” to the next level, there’s something unsettled inside of us– some “unfinished business.” Until we choose to pursue that which is impressing upon us or begin to gravitate towards the “pull,” we will never gain the contentment which comes from making true life progress.