At a time when you were fed up with your own waywardness, ever thought, “Lord just kill me now?” In your mind you tell yourself you want to do right, yet you feel as though you just keep failing God by giving in to desires that draw you away from him. Desires that take up so much of your time and thought space that you go days, weeks, even months without spending time with him. Your prayer life has faded into the background. Your reading of God’s word for guidance, encouragement, and peace has ceased. You casually go to church as if it’s just a past time instead of a time to joyfully seek his presence amongst other believers.
You understand that God’s love for you has nothing to do with anything good you’ve ever done. Yet you have willingly disconnected yourself. Not to mention, every time you come back to your senses you begin to doubt that you’ll ever find your way back to him. You believe that you’re too far gone and it’s just best if he lets you die than for you to continue stumbling off the path of righteousness. Guilt has come and is causing you to believe that you are of no further use to God. You have squandered the life you were created to live, and you’ve convinced yourself that you’ll never do right. So, it’s time for God to just do away with you permanently.
Here’s where I respectfully ask the question, “Who are you to decide when to kill God’s purpose for your life?” Don’t you know that as long as you live there will always be a constant war going on between the spirit of God and your flesh? This is the reason it is important to allow the Lord to be your strength. With him you will be able to do the very thing you are doubting that you can. Now’s the time to push yourself to do better. Push yourself to go forth and seek God’s help. Push yourself to receive the revelation that God still loves you and wants to see you cross the finish line. It all boils down to your choice. You must choose each day what you will allow to rule your life, and what you will not allow.
Spiritual Stop Signs
Are you ready to learn how to encourage yourself to stand in the face of self-inflicted adversity? Or any adversity for that matter? Here’s your answer…… use spiritual stop signs. What is this that I’m speaking? A spiritual stop sign is a self-disciplining act, purposely practiced to immediately alert your awareness of illicit mental intrusions. These are thoughts or ideologies that come to seal your focus away from God’s divine desire for your life and place them on your desires for your life. Thus, placing enmity between you and God. When incorporated into our daily lives spiritual stop signs serve as reminders of the importance of acknowledging our need of a Savior who encourages us to intentionally do better. When we yield our ways unto the Lord there will be no hesitation nor struggle because we trust him. The Lord wants us to lay our burdens at his feet because he indeed cares for us. Besides, we can’t fix anything ourselves, we just fool ourselves into thinking we can.
What happens when you’ve been using your stop signs but feel as though God is not around? When he’s silent and you can’t sense his presence in your situation? I can honestly tell you from experience that he is closer than you think. His eyes never lose sight of you nor is he too busy. He just has an appointed time when he will show himself strong in your situation. Do not despise this waiting period because it is strengthening your faith and expectation. Don't get discouraged, keep going!
I have comprised a few spiritual stop sign examples to help jumpstart your journey to actively enacting this great spiritual battering ram.
When you find yourself in a slump, it’s a great time to remember how God has never let you down. Think of a time when you assessed your circumstance and admitted aloud to yourself and to others that you did not know how you were going to make it out. However, you still made it through. Sure, it was a long, hard, and uncomfortable road to endure but by his might you were sustained and delivered. When you remember what the Lord has done, you can then look forward to what he is going to do next! I dare you right now to pause and look back on all that God has done for you and bless his name.
You must be anchored in unwavering faith even when everything around you is giving you a reason not to be. Sometimes we let what we see discourage us to the point where our sight is held hostage by our circumstance. Once that happens, we practically invite fear and uncertainty to abide in our midst. The only way to combat this is to trust God to do the impossible.
Being persistent will make seeking God habitual. Wake up every day, pray, and seek God’s will for your life. Live life consciously knowing that God sees all and knows all that you do. Keep reading your bible and asking God for revelation and understanding because one cannot do that which he does not understand. It’s ok to ask God for clarity rather than stumbling in the dark.
Whatever you do, don’t get tired of waiting. Sure, our timing is different than God’s because we want everything in an instant. But patience teaches us not to jump ahead of God’s timing. Our impatient nature will always get us into trouble because it causes us to rely on our own abilities to solve our own problems. Whenever you feel impatience tapping you on the shoulder, shrug it off and continue to wait on the Lord. No need in us jumping in the driver’s seat when he’s supposed to be driving.
How hard is it to be thankful when you’re stressed? Very! If we are not careful, we will become disgruntled enough and forget its importance. Choosing to express thankfulness despite difficulty will do your spirit a whole lot of good. Each day presents its own challenges so it’s important to be thankful that God brought you into a new day in which he will continue to lead and guide you.
You Can Make It
You have been living this life long enough to know that every day will not be a good day. However, every day that God allows you to dwell in is filled with his purpose for you. If it were not so, he would have done away with all of us a long time ago. But he sent Jesus to save us and because of this, we can get up and try again. As long as we have the Lord on our side there will always be hope for better days ahead. Don’t give up on yourself. You’ve made some mistakes, I get it. But we all have and that doesn’t mean that you can’t get better. That’s why repentance is here. It’s an act that opens the door for us to get better by deciding to turn away from anything that will tempt you to fall into sin. Examine your heart and see what issues are there that need to be expelled and placed into God’s capable hands. Don’t drop out of the race because of a few detours. Cry out to God and express your need and dependence upon him and he will send his angels to care for you and lead you back to him.
Just like we push ourselves in our exercise regimens, eating habits, work deadlines and anything else, we need to also encourage ourselves to live better spiritually. When you feel weariness creeping in or some other distraction, you need to hit the stop button and refocus. It only takes a minute for even the smallest thing to grab our attention and steal our concentration. So how do we combat such annoyances? Let’s check out some healthy self-care habits.
Be determined to do the right thing always. Going back and forth within your mind allowing other thoughts to take over, will give you nothing but grief and headaches. Imagine watching someone you love walking towards the edge of a cliff. Just like you would reach out and help that person, use that same energy to help yourself. When you feel yourself slipping do something simple to help yourself refocus like speaking your name aloud or clap your hands together one time. This will force you to be attentive to what’s happening giving you the opportunity to put your mind back on track.
Study Your Bible
Internalizing the word of God builds us up from the inside out. It’s good nourishment for the soul and gives us the knowledge, and spiritual weapons we need to fight the attacks of our spiritual enemy. It also keeps us encouraged by being able to see God’s hand deliver his people in times past and give us hope that he will do the same for us.
It’s impossible to have a relationship with someone whom you never talk to. Praying opens the line of communication between us and God and draws us closer to him. He loves to hear the voice of his children singing his praises, honoring him, and placing their trust in him.
Laziness will always be an enemy to mankind. Whenever you get bored or tired of doing something you begin to push it aside until one day, you look up and you haven’t done this or that in months. Whenever you feel lazy, remind yourself of why you need to be consistent. When laziness tries to come in speak the words “get up!” aloud because again this awakens your conscience and causes you to refocus.
Clear a Path
When we have too much on our plates, we tend to prioritize incorrectly. When this happens, we forget and begin to make excuses as to why we are again slipping away. Set a time and write it down to help you designate a space in your day for your spiritual self-care. If you don’t make your spiritual growth a priority, then you will never reach full potential.
Start your own personal boot camp on the road to becoming a better you. Begin small by reminding yourself that change is necessary and takes effort. This means that you have to slap yourself upside of your own head sometimes and say, “get it together girl.” Set realistic goals and keep track of your progress. Seek the advice of a trusted family member, friend, or other confidant.
It would be foolish for anyone to believe that the road to recovery will be easy. We must brace ourselves to face the tests that are sure to come as we continue living life here on earth. I challenge you to examine the disciplines outlined in this article as well as create your own spiritual disciplines based on the word of God, to help you advance in your growth and spiritual prosperity. I’ve created for you a free activity worksheet below to help you get started on how to put spiritual stop signs into practice regularly. Grab yourself a folder and make as many copies as you need to get started. You will only transition from wayward to onward if you continue pursuing the will of God for your life.
2 Peter 1:3
2 Corinthians 5:7