This first half of 2019 has been a bit of a struggle. “Half,” you’re thinking with a confused look (I assume) on your face, “homie, we’re only like, two months in.” To which I reply, “yes, but it feels like 2019 is that acquaintance you are generally fond of it’s just that they don’t have a lot of self awareness and they keep talking to you and going on and on in some story you don’t fully have the details of and they never really get to the point and it feels like the conversation has gone on for hours but it’s only been 71 seconds.” So far, 2019 is much like the run on sentence you just read.
Though the weather does play a role in this (there have been like, 24 blizzards since January. This is only slight hyperbole.) it’s more because of this feeling that there is so much potential in this year, but it seems to be just out of reach. I went into this 365 days ready for a win and it’s here somewhere but I can’t seem to get enough of a foothold to reach for the next rung.
If you are feeling like there is more for you, like you want this year to take you to your next level in life, allow me to share what I have been lovingly smacked upside the head with recently – the thing that may be holding you back and the answer that will propel both of us to our next step.
Have you ever read the story of Cain and Abel? They were brothers, the first recorded in the Bible all the way in Genesis 4.
So what had happened was, Abel was the little bro & he tended sheep. Cain was the eldest & he was basically a farmer. Cain brought “some” of the vegetables and random stuff from his farm as an offering to God. Abel brought his offering, too, which consisted of the best lambs from the first-born of his flock – USDA prime type quality. God super dug Abel’s offering and gave him favor, but He was all “Thank u, next” with Cain’s.
Cain got super salty about it and God was like, “Fam, what is your problem? If you do what you know to do, you would have favor, too.” Then Cain just couldn’t get his life together and ended up killing his brother due to his own crusty attitude. It was a whole thing.
You are likely wondering how this post ended up in First 48 territory. Well, save for the murder, this is why you and I, many times, don’t have favor as well. It’s a story as old as time.
So many times we bring “some” sacrifice of something and then think, “Why God am I not where I think I should be? Why am I not progressing?” We get into a situation where we (like Cain) decide what an acceptable sacrifice is and then get upset because God doesn’t seem to be honoring it. People stay doing all kinds of things God never asked them to do and wonder what’s going on. We look at some people and ask why they have what we what we feel like we should have by now. We don’t realize that they give God their first. Their first coin. The first of their time, the first part of their heart so God can give direction – that is what favor follows. We decide that we are not comfortable with those things and we substitute what we think is appropriate.
No amount of our effort, grind, hustle, girlboss-ness, organization, inspiring instagram posts or anything else takes the place of good ol’ doing what God has asked of us.
God doesn’t want “some” offering or a sacrifice, he asks for our life. In that obedience is everything we need to get all that he has for us.
There is no skipping steps. You feel the tug, the pull towards obedience. These things are actually the ‘easy’ part even though it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. It doesn’t so much require effort as it does humility. None of it is rocket science. It does not require a PhD, some expert level of spirituality, or permission from anyone.
Whether it’s attending church regularly, praying, reading your Bible, joining a small group, or being a good steward of the time He’s given you by cultivating discipline in your life (God told me all about myself on this one. Hence one of my insta posts this week. I, too, am tryna get it together). These things build us up. God has things He wants to take you through so he wants to build you up first. God always sets us up for a win. He is too good of a God to give us something that would be a detriment, even if it’s a good thing a good thing at the wrong time, which will become a burden. Obedience is how this process happens.
There is no shortcut around it, because obedience breeds the necessary tools for success.
That call to obedience will never go away. God is likely not going to knock you over with a sign, or knock you off of your horse. You feel it, that still small voice, God is just waiting for you to listen so he can take you to the next level. That is it. There are no magic steps. Just the one. Being obedient. Until you can do the last thing He asked you to do there is nothing else to be done.
The beauty of it all, though, is if you’re not sure what God is asking you to do, do the listed above and it will lead you there. So, how do we get to the next level, friends? By doing what’s easy, even though it masquerades as difficult so that God can do the impossible.