Updated: Aug 5, 2020
When we have a calling from God, we can do amazing things. Things that are so far beyond our own abilities that we have to stand back a bit and acknowledge, only God. But what happens when we’re obedient to God and the rewards don’t come like we expect? What if we give everything we have to be obedient to the calling God has placed on our lives, but we fail to achieve it?
What if we’re running as fast as we can toward the goal we feel God has pointed us toward, but it seems like we’re just running in place?
I struggle with this fear more regularly than I want to admit. I can get discouraged because the things I am trying to do for the Lord seem to be taking too long. When I put everything I have into something and Coronavirus comes along and cancels all my plans, it can feel like failure. Even without the threat of a global pandemic, I have hesitated to go “all in” on the things I feel called to do because the fear of failure can be overwhelming.
Have you ever started a new exercise program and mentally struggled after working hard for months with little to no visible results? Then one morning, you wake up and look in the mirror and bam! Everything has changed! Your stomach is suddenly flat and your legs don’t jiggle when you jump. It’s awesome. But what if you had stopped trying a few days before that breakthrough? I’ve been the one who stops, and I’ve been the one who gets there and then freaks out when I see the results and sabotages myself because the fear is overwhelming. Frankly, it’s been the story of my life in so many arenas beyond physical fitness. So.much.fear.
It’s time for a breakthrough. That’s why I like this reminder so much. The results are up to God.
My job is simply to be obedient.
Working out and eating right may not produce immediate results, but whether my stomach is ever flat or my thighs stop jiggling, exercise and healthy eating are good for me. I need to do them regardless of the results. Spending countless hours working on building my social media following may not produce immediate results, but whether I ever have more followers on Instagram, I am engaging with people who have value and that is good for me. Spending early morning hours engaging with Scripture and praying for miracles may not mean that I am a spiritual powerhouse who can effectively communicate insightful truths from God’s word to the world, but the discipline of daily Bible study is so good for me!
What if the waiting or failure is part of my training? What if all I need to do is hold on a little bit longer to see the reward? Or even more startling... What if the thing I'm waiting for will bring with it tremendous hardship and God is giving me a little time to enjoy the simple sweetness of these days of small things? (When Jesus' ministry became public at age 30, it did not come without significant trials.)
I have this sign on my wall because I need to be reminded.
I will do my best, but the results are up to God.
I may be weak today, and I may not have done my best, but the results are up to God.
I am in control of my attitude and my effort, but the results are up to God.
Be obedient to this High Calling, and leave the results up to God.
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I cannot get discouraged if things don't work out the way I think they should. That's all on God. My responsibility is obedience.