Do you remember when you used to dream? What it felt like before you got on the treadmill of life, where your past mistakes and scars were a neon sign of yesterday's promises? There is a moment where all of a sudden, you awaken to a new day, and God catches you on fire again. The miraculous and the supernatural will always be stifled when you settle for mediocrity.
One thing that causes us to settle is fear. Fear is a powerful weapon, and it has the ability to cause us to quit, give up and settle for less than what God has for us. How many dreams and victories have we missed out on, and how many times have we stayed in our bondage, mental prisons and dysfunctional mindsets because it's easier to settle for comfort zones and normal than the road less traveled? Settling is a repercussion of allowing the voice of victory that once rang loud in your ears to become an echo of what could have been, because fear stands between us and the promised land.
Allow the Obstacle to Become the Way
Maybe you are reading this today and feel you need permission to step out of mediocrity into the miraculous, abundant, fulfilled life. May I remind you of Isaiah 60:1, which says: "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you." It is time to stop settling and catch fire again!
For so many of my years of growing up, I allowed teachers and friends to put me in a box. I allowed their words to define me and cause me to accept less than what I knew God had for me. So many said I was quiet, shy, soft-spoken, of average intelligence and meant to stay in the shadows. The worst part is this: I believed them! I am so grateful for my husband and other godly influences in my life who pushed me to pursue more and to allow God to stretch me beyond my comfortable and tell me, "You can do more! You can do better! You can dream bigger. Don't settle. Go for it!" If you stop here, you will always live in the field of "what ifs." I challenge you to surround yourself with people who bring a great report of how you can take the land and perhaps remove yourself from those who always bring a report of defeat.
In Numbers 13 and 14 (NET), we find the 12 spies from the children of Israel who were sent to scope out the promised land. Ten of the spies came back with a report of "settling," but two, Caleb and Joshua, had a faith-filled report:
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses, saying, "Let us go up and occupy it, for we are well able to conquer it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are!" Then they presented the Israelites with a discouraging report of the land they had investigated, saying, "The land that we passed through to investigate is a land that devours its inhabitants. All the people we saw there are of great stature... and we seemed like grasshoppers both to ourselves and to them. ... Wouldn't it be better for us to return to Egypt?" So they said to one another, "Let's appoint a leader and return to Egypt" (Num. 13:30-14:4).
It's incredible that out of the 10 spies, only two saw what God wanted them to see. Joshua and Caleb told the people, "Hey, this is a great land flowing with milk and honey—why are you afraid? God is with us! The giants are helpless with no protection because God is with us! Don't be afraid!" Can you believe the people actually wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb because they believed God about what He had for them?
The Israelites gave up on their dream and God's promised land and would rather have stoned the ones who believed than to face their fears and actually let God do what He said He would do. They didn't trust Him; they were impatient and wanted to take matters into their own hands. They were willing to settle for second best and live a life of mediocrity and slavery when greatness and fulfillment were just footsteps away. Fear stood between them and the promises of God.
They were willing to go back to a place of slavery than face the fear of freedom.
What is standing between you and the promises God has given you? Why are you settling for a "just OK" and "it's fine" mentality? It's not OK. We were meant to thrive, not just survive. I think the reason we are not living according to God's best, which is the abundant, free and overcoming life, is that we are willing to settle for less than. Less than isn't God's best, but it's better than nothing, and it's enough just to survive, right? No! God doesn't settle for "just OK" or "so-so." Ephesians 3:20 (TPT) tells us, "Never doubt God's mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you."
As long as you can live without God's best for your life, you will! That is a powerful truth and fact. My husband, evangelist and author Pat Schatzline, always says, "Man will always throw you a rope called 'settle' to keep you from going into the depths of God's love."
I admit it. It's hard to be enthusiastic about going through trials and tests! But it's really easy to get excited when we have everything we need and lack absolutely nothing, right? Look at James 1:2-3: "When it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things."
You have to get dissatisfied with mediocrity before you can experience the best God has for you. It doesn't happen by accident or by chance. If you don't pursue it, you won't get it. If you refuse to be satisfied with average and mediocrity, you will be free to pursue excellence and a life of victory.
Stop being afraid of failure, being disappointed or not being good enough. Rather than teach people to dream and to push forward and climb higher, we have started teaching them to settle for less in order to avoid disappointment. Quit allowing the bar of expectations to be lowered in regard to who you are.
I challenge you to make changes today. Even if they are small steps, small steps are better than no steps at all.
4 Ways to Begin the Process and Stop Settling
1. Know who you are. (Jeremiah 1:5: He knew you in your mother's womb; 1 John 3:1: You are a child of God; Rom. 8:37: You are more than an overcomer.). Accept God's love and decide that you can become more than what you have settled for. Your worth is based on who you are: a child of God! Forget what others think about you or say about you. Respect yourself by living a life consistent with who God says you are. Remember that your past does not dictate who you're called to be. Nothing is impossible with God.
2. Flourish where you are. Grow where you are planted. Seize opportunities and don't run from them for fear of failure. Push past average and normal. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you" (Matt. 7:7, MEV). You have to put some action to your faith. Get moving and be available for whatever God has for you. Look for divine appointments. Conquer your fears. Trust in God's wisdom even when you don't understand. Live boldly and courageously in the face of difficulty. Stick to your convictions even in the face of popular opinion. God is always faithful to His promises.
3. Grow and learn what you can. Be adventurous! Constantly seek to discover more about God and act on the ideas that He gives you. Study His Word. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Seek and pray for wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 (CSB) tells us, "Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding." Be teachable, and seek out godly counsel.
4. Don't miss your moment. Realize your time is something you will never get back. Guard your time and don't waste it mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Netflix. Don't waste it worrying, gossiping, holding grudges, trying to please everyone or just merely surviving from one crisis to another. Make the dash on your tombstone count for something. Develop a pace in life where you have patience and stamina for the dreams and the long run. Don't just strive to be efficient, but also effective. (Busyness is not a spiritual gift.)
It's the little things we do each day that add up to great things. Purpose takes pushing past "I can't" and seeing that "With God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:26). It is time to stop settling!
Read more about overcoming fear in the powerful new book, Restore the Roar by Pat & Karen Schatzline (Charisma House, 2019).
To watch Evangelist Karen share more from this message by watching her latest episode of "The Breathing Room," click here.
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