By Myckelle P. Williams
Many of you have all at one time had high aspirations, and dreams of becoming a ‘successful’ person in life. You take classes, attend seminars and read countless ‘self help’ books that tell you how to ‘get rich quick’, create a business that will earn 6 figures in a matter of months. You search desperately for a great mate, and find yourselves drawn into the same types of toxic relationships, dealing with the same issues and drama in each new relationship. You try to find creative ways to get out of debt, and can’t seem to get rise above a certain income level no matter how hard you work. You soon become tired of being in the same place year after year, with seemingly no way out of what seems like a ‘dead end’ life. You wonder why you seem to be wandering in circles, seemingly on an endless quest to have a prosperous future, but it always seems to elude you…frustratingly always just right beyond your grasp.
We recently had this problem in our own lives. No matter what we did, or how hard we tried, we couldn’t seem to get out of our financial and emotional struggles. We left Georgia looking to do great things, and build a huge youth center that we felt was sure to change lives. To our surprise, although we felt that God had led us to that place, everything started to go wrong once we arrived. One by one, we watched our visions collapse around us, lost our sources of income, we ended up frustrated and angry, not knowing what had gone wrong. We began to even question whether or not He had actually called us there in the first place. We immediately discussed returning home.
It’s like the story of Moses leading the people out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Although originally they left Egypt with high hopes, great treasures, and visions of endless success and prosperity…what was originally supposed to only be a seven day journey by foot, ended up taking over 40 years. They wandered aimlessly for decades, just having enough food and water to survive, never feeling content, and even at some points actually desiring to be returned to slavery bondage, from which they came, thinking that was easier than life in the wilderness. In the end, even their great leader Moses himself would never see the plentiful land that was given to them. We often wonder why that happened. Did God waste his time taking them from their slavery bonds? Did he make a mistake? Did he choose the wrong leader?
What we fail to realize, is that no matter where go, even though we may move, relocate and change jobs, and go in and out of new relationships, our mindset always follows us wherever we go. We bring our attitudes with us, and those will impact the way we see our purpose. God shows us that you can’t take your old ways into a new land, because you will contaminate it. So many of us are worried about learning how to get to the ‘next level’, without first developing our character. You have to first change from the inside out, otherwise, if you get to where you are trying to go, you will destroy what God has for you, and make Him look bad in the process. Jesus told the religious Pharisees to clean their vessels from the inside, in order to be effective in their ministries. Just looking good on the outside will not help change lives…our actions must line up, accordingly. The problem is that we are often strongly resistant to change. We feel as if we are already doing ‘the best we can.’ The caterpillar sees change as the end of the world: The Butterfly sees it as a new Beginning…which one are you?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.”- Isaiah 55:8
We often attempt to confirm God into our own ‘box’. We assume that he thinks the same way we do. In our opinion, it wasn’t ‘fair’ that Moses didn’t get to reach the Promised Land…after all, He did have to ‘put up with’ those complaining Israelites, and that becomes frustrating, doesn’t it? However, in leadership, there is greater responsibility. Whether you lead on the job, in ministry, or in your own family, you are commissioned to be responsible for what you teach and impart into others.
In order to prevent getting stuck in our own negative patterns, let’s look at the top five reasons that the Israelites didn’t reach the Promised Land. Perhaps we can learn some lessons here that we can use in order to finally be able to move forward in our own journeys, and not be hindered by things we may be unknowingly doing to defeat ourselves:
1) Keeping a negative mindset. We are made in Gods own image. He was a ‘speaking Spirit’ who created the world with Words. Words are powerful, and begin with thoughts. The concept of ‘Positive thinking’ is even talked about among secular organizations as a way to change your situations. It is a spiritual law that will work for anyone who uses it. We need to think of ourselves in terms of how God thinks about us, and constantly confess those things. We have to decide we were made righteous by Christ’s actions, and act accordingly; we must lay down our defeatist attitude, and refuse to think negatively about ourselves and others. Negative thinking caused the Israelites to want to run back to Egypt. They lost faith that God had them, and kept always looking at what they saw, instead of where God was taking them. The bible says therefore: “Whatsoever things are lovely, true, and of a good report…think on those things” Phil 4:8
2) Keeping negative people in your circle. Attitudes are Contagious. Being around people with negative mindsets, will cause us to eventually think negatively. The Israelites complained and that attitude spread throughout the camp. Beware of those who seek to always have negative things to say about their situations, and people in authority, such as bosses and pastor. Even negative co-workers tend to infect the work morale and bring everyone down. Surround yourself instead with uplifting people. “A little leaven leavens the lump…”Gal 5:9
3) Complaining: Not being Content Where You Are. No matter what God did for the Israelites, it was never good enough. They complained about food, water, leadership and even wondered out loud why they were even freed. Ungrateful attitudes are even obnoxious in our own children, but God dealt with 3 million of them at once. They never seemed to appreciate the journey that God was taking them on. We must be careful to appreciate the things God is trying to show us today, on the way to where is taking us to. When people have a spirit of gratitude, it makes us want to do more for them, and God is no different. “Give thanks in all things…” 1 Thess. 5:18
4) Creating Idols. Thinking God wasn’t there for them, or didn’t hear them, caused them to create an idol of gold, that they proceeded to worship. In our own lives, when we feel lonely or depressed, we seek out idols as well: Television, music, relationships, drugs, alcohol and addictive behaviors that keep us from spending time with God. We replace the Living God with inanimate things, trying to fill what we consider ‘the void’. In the meanwhile God was working things out for the Israelites behind the scenes, but they were too impatient to wait and see what he had for them. Do you put God first? Meditate on his words and promises? Keep your mind focused on Him, or are you constantly distracted by the Idols in your own life? “Thou Shalt have no other Idols before or Beside me…”~Exodus 20:3
5) Disobedience. Not following God’s instructions sets us up for failure in every area. Not only did the Israelites disobey Gods command not to turn from his ways, but Moses failure was that he did not specifically follow the instructions that God had given him regarding getting water out of the Rock. When God asks us to do something a certain way, it‘s for a reason. Many times, we assume his rules are set in place to keep something from us, but He is really trying to get something to us, as well as protect us from tragedy. Moses continued to lose patience with the people, and work in his own strength. But God said that this made him look bad in the eyes of the people. LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” –Num. 20:12. Even perceived small acts of disobedience can bring tragic result. For Moses, it prevented him from going to the Promised land along with the people. In our own lives, we must pay careful attention not to allow our ‘flesh’ (selfish nature) to get in the way of what God tells us to do. “If you love me, keep my commands.”-John 14:15
It all starts with changing your way of thinking. It wasn’t until we let go of our old habits, patterns, and mindsets, and truly started to focus on Gods will above our own that God started to release the blessings in our lives, and move us towards His purpose. It’s time to let go of those things and people that keep you from succeeding, as well as start to appreciate the place that God has you in, and the lessons that he is trying to teach you right now. If you are finally ready to leave your wilderness and go to the Next Level’, remove those things from your life that hold you back…so that you can go forward into the Promised Land that awaits you!
Myckelle P. Williams
Co_Founder, B.L.O.G. Magazine
Myckelle P Williams, co-founder of B.L.O.G. Magazine™ and creator of the Heartwood Project™ for Women, lives in Tennessee with her husband of 20 years. She is the mother of 6 children and one grandchild. Once a teen mother who overcame the odds, Myckelle helps empower women to overcome the traumas of their past, and mentors young women over the country. She was featured on “Joy in our Town” on TBN Network, for her development of the PURE Satisfaction Abstinence Program in Atlanta in 2009. Her upcoming book ‘The Road Less Traveled.” is due to be released in late 2012. For more information about her upcoming Heartwood Project™ Seminars, you can reach Myckelle at email@example.com