"Desire accomplished is sweet to the soul." - Proverbs 13:9
There are few things as rich and rewarding as seeing the deep desires of our hearts come to fruition. For some it’s those really big things like finally getting married, graduating from college or grad school, starting a family, or landing the job of your dreams.
But many of our fulfilled desires are related to smaller everyday issues like overcoming a rough spot in your marriage, potty training a little one, staying on track with your eating plan, spending regular time with the Lord, or staying in shape in the midst of a crazy fall schedule.
By contrast, there are few things as frustrating and discouraging as good and godly desires that are constantly thwarted. I’m not talking about those big overwhelming issues that we have no control over like a loved one coming to know the Lord or the economy changing. I’m talking about those good desires like spending quality time with our mate, developing deep communication with our children, developing and using our spiritual gifts, and finding peace and balance in the midst of multiple demands.
It’s not that we don’t try. In fact, I’m guessing that most of us had some very clear desires (even goals) to make this fall different in some of those areas I just listed above. But after only 5 to 6 weeks into the fall season, the inspiration to make those changes has faded, the motivation is ebbing away, and discouragement is beginning to set in.
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There Are 3 Essential Ingredients to Turn Desires into Accomplishments:
- Inspiration: The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something — especially something creative or new.
- Motivation: The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
- Perseverance: Steadiness and doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
The Question: Where do you find these 3 ingredients and how do you keep them? While acknowledging there is a multi-billion dollar self-help industry seeking to answer that question, I would suggest that God has given us the answer in Psalm 103.
Step #1: Remember God’s Acts
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits —who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5
I cannot tell you how many times that I have followed this advice. Especially when my inspiration is gone, my motivation is waning, and I simply want to give up.
I literally take a walk and begin to thank God for every person, every blessing, every event, and every answered prayer that I can think of out loud. Other times, I pull out a sheet of paper or my journal and start writing under the categories below very specific blessings that God has given me…
- Answered Prayer
- Spiritual Growth
You’ll be shocked at the power of gratitude. Your perspective will be restored, and your motivation will be reignited.
STEP #2: Reflect On God’s Ways
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:8-14
Read that passage out loud above and begin to ponder afresh “this is what God is REALLY like.” He’s compassionate, He cares, He understands you, He’s not down on you, He’s taken away your sins forever, and He’s not shocked or surprised at your struggles.
I would encourage you to take a minute and circle all the words in the above passage that reveal what God is REALLY like. And then pause, ponder, remember, and worship.
I wish I had time in this letter to develop STEP #3 — it will keep your inspiration burning, cause your motivation to stay strong, and your perseverance to be steady. But you’ll just have to listen to the message at the end of this Coffee Break to get the final installment.
What I can tell you is that when I stopped last week to REMEMBER GOD’S ACTS through Living on the Edge this past year, I am still humbled and amazed. When I stop and think of the millions of lives He has touched all across America, the miracles we’ve witnessed in China, the open doors in the Middle East, and the phenomenal sacrifice and generosity of ministry partners like you who have prayed and financed this Work of His — I am INSPIRED! I am MOTIVATED! I will PERSEVERE by His grace!
Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for being such a source of inspiration, motivation, and perseverance for me and our entire team.
Now let’s keep pressing ahead,
CEO & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge