By Victoria Riollano, Crosswalk.com
Every Christian is called for a great purpose! I believe this calling that we all have is found in Matthew 28 in the words of the Great Commission.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)
In our own way, each of us have been commissioned to spread the gospel in our own way. The teacher who prays over her students and treats them with God’s love is fulfilling the mission. The business owner who gives a portion of his profit to outreach is a part of the Great Commission. The caretaker who takes care of their clients with love acts as the hands and feet of Jesus. The advocate who fights for social justice with grace and God’s truth is fulfilling the mission.
In other words, the expression of how God’s love is shared will look different, but we all play a role. Before we were born, the Lord called us to do a great work! Unfortunately, we all face trials, difficulties, and insecurities that keep us from living out our potential. It has never been more important for God’s people to rise up and share the gospel by any means necessary, including through our giftings and talent!
With this in mind, I want to share six things that I believe are stopping us from living God’s purpose for our life.
The enemy uses fear to silence and hinder God’s people. Many times, when God has called us to do something extraordinary, we start to wonder if things will really work out. Fear of the “what if’s” can paralyze us from making a step of faith. Fortunately, we can look in the Word and see others who were confronted with fear. Joshua was commanded by the Lord to not be afraid when taking leadership of the Israelites.
Elijah struggled with fear at the threats of Jezebel and Mary was instructed by the angel to not be afraid when learning she would carry the Messiah. It is fair to say that fear may be a natural part of the human condition. However, we can choose whether we stay in fear or trust that God will be with us every step of the way. Whenever we find ourselves swallowed in fear, we must remember that God does not give us the spirit of fear. Instead, His perfect love drives out all fear and empowers us to be brave, even in the most difficult scenarios. Here are a few ways that fear can sneak up in our lives as we launch out into God’s call for our lives!
– Fear of embarrassment
– Fear of rejection
– Fear of success
– Fear of the unknown
– Fear of disappointment
– Fear of failure
“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18)
2. Other People’s Opinions
When the Lord called you, He consulted no one. In fact, in Jeremiah we see the Lord tell Jeremiah that before he was ever born, God had called him to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:5). In other words, before his parents had ever laid eyes on him or he would make his first mistake, the Lord had called him. So often, we forget that God doesn’t need permission to use someone for a great work. A person’s past, social status, or looks won’t disqualify them.
We see this with the story of David, Moses, Peter, and Paul. Even Jesus had to be willing to ignore the opinions of others who didn’t understand the gravity of his assignment. From the religious leaders to his disciples, everyone came with their own opinion about Jesus’s mission. A close look at the Scripture reveals a scene where His own mother and brother thought He was insane!
“Then Jesus went home, and once again a crowd gathered, so that He and His disciples could not even eat. When His family heard about this, they went out to take custody of Him, saying, ‘He is out of His mind.’” (Mark 3:21)
We have to learn to rise above other people’s opinions. There will always be those who doubt who God has called you to be and the way that you choose to live it out. Yet, God’s word over you is what matters.
Sometimes we are our own greatest enemy. Procrastination is one way we can remain stuck for years. Often times, procrastination can be masked under the veil of “waiting on God” or needing to pray about it more. Yet, under the surface, we may struggle with laziness, a lack of motivation, or being afraid to start and fail. Sometimes we don’t fulfill what God has called us to do because we are too busy involved in things that we need to let go! Over time, we find ourselves putting off what God has called us to do because our attention is focused on the wrong thing. Yet, we cannot allow procrastination to dwell within our lives. Without creating goals and getting into action, we will live our lives full of regret. I am convinced that graveyards are full of those who assumed they had another day and procrastinated their lives away. Our dreams become only a cute imagination without action!
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)
4. Lack of Integrity
Integrity matters. The word integrity means to be honorable, even when no one is looking. A person of integrity follows through with their words and behaves in a way that is moral. Those with integrity are seen as fully functioning, productive, and authentic people. In other words, people with integrity can be trusted to do what is being asked of them.
The truth of the matter is that there are some instances that you will need other people to vouch for you to walk out your God-given potential. Unfortunately, if you have a record of being a person who is dishonest, inauthentic, disloyal or of poor character, you will not receive the recommendations or open doors that are needed. Thus, your lack of integrity can lead to your own self sabotage! The following are signs you may struggle with integrity:
– Manipulating others for your gain
– Habit of missing deadlines
– Backstabbing to get ahead
– Being sneaky
The bottom line is that if you want to walk in the fullness of God’s blessings you have to be a person of great character. Don’t miss out on what God has called you to do because you failed to take a self-assessment on areas of improvement.
“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3)
Have you ever “thought your way out” of a good situation? Sometimes, we can be so worried about every detail we convince ourselves to not complete the mission at hand. We process what we should and every possible best- and worst-case scenario. Our fear of the unknown, or wanting to be perfect, keeps us stuck in “planning mode” versus action. In doing so, we may find ourselves struggling with severe anxiety over every decision.
Before long, what God has called us to do will just become a part of our list of regrets because we will be too afraid to act. One way to overcome this self-defeating pattern is to break down our big goal into small manageable steps. For example, the road to becoming a small business owner doesn’t happen overnight. One pursuing this would want to break down each step from registering the business name, to setting up a bank account, to branding, then to location. In other words, these steps may take place over weeks or even a year.
Nonetheless, it will help the business owner to slow down and have an action plan. This may decrease some of the feelings of being overwhelmed. No matter what the case may be, we have to reach the point where we can run to God for the details and trust that His plan will work out. When we overthink and worry it is because we have become too self-reliant.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
6. Lack of Prayer
If the dream of our heart is truly an idea from the Lord, why wouldn’t we seek Him for instruction? If we choose to run towards our desires without consulting the Lord, we may make mistakes that He could have easily warned us about. We may get into partnerships with people who don’t have our best interest at heart or go in a direction that will lead to failure. Whatever the case may be, if we fail to consult God, we will operate in our own strength versus leaning on the One who knows all and has all power! If you have found yourself struggling with what God has purposed for you to do, call out to Him. Certainly, He will answer and show you not only who are you but remind you of His great ability to get you to where He’s called you to be!
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Daiga Ellaby
Victoria Riollano is an author, blogger, and speaker. As a mother of six, military spouse, Psychology professor and minister’s wife, Victoria has learned the art of balancing family and accomplishing God’s ultimate purpose for her life. Recently, Victoria released her book, The Victory Walk: A 21 Day Devotional on Living A Victorious Life. Her ultimate desire is to empower women to live a life of victory, hope, and love. She believes that with Christ we can live a life that is ALWAYS winning. You can learn more about her ministry at victoryspeaks.org.
Want more interaction with the women of iBelieve? Join our fans, writers, and editors at the iBelieve Facebook group, Together in Faith, for more videos, stories, testimonies, prayers and more. Visit here to join the community!