I’m working to identify and overcome any roadblock or obstacle to success. Why? I feel stuck or unproductive in a critical area of my work.
Do you stall out? Or have you hit an invisible wall impeding your progress? We all face these situations and seasons. I’ve been working through my own recently. Fortunately, we also possess the ability to overcome.
Jesus met with serious opposition at the beginning of His ministry. His baptism by John created the launch point. What occurred immediately afterward, however, determined His trajectory.
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well please.'”
God affirmed Jesus as “my Son,” declaring His love and pleasure with Him. Yet, immediately the Spirit led Jesus into a difficult place, a wilderness, where again and again the devil questioned Jesus’ identity and value.
This may well have created a serious obstacle for anyone of us. If Jesus would have listened to the enemy, His ministry would have been terminated instead of propelled into motion.
What internal “voices” or external pressures are you facing?
I will share a few of mine!
We resist the same enemy Jesus did. The devil attempted Jesus to doubt His identity and value — to question His worth.
Every forward movement encounters opposition. “Who do you think you are?” “You can’t do that!” “No one will listen to you.” “You have nothing to offer.” It is familiar rhetoric that haunts many of us.
Most of the time, I’m pretty good at recognizing this ploy. But sometimes, I take the bait and become paralyzed by my insufficiency.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
Honestly, acknowledging my inability releases me to do and be all I am meant to be, without the pressure of attempting to measure some preconceived standard. If I believe I am the next great thing the world needs, pride dooms me to failure. Every success I achieve, I achieve through Christ in me.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8
When self-doubt blocks you, admit your weaknesses and move on. Step over any feelings of unworthiness and draw from God’s power and ability at work in and through you. Don’t allow self-doubt to become an obstacle to success.
Fear takes on many forms. Though people perceive me as being bold and perhaps even fearless, I encounter this roadblock more than I would like to admit. Often, it creeps in so subtlely I fail to recognize fear as being the root of my stagnation.
Though it sounds foolish, I may fear both success and failure simultaneously. In school, other students criticized me as much for my successes as for my blunders. Those voices of childhood, even though they occurred decades ago, sometimes still derail me from reaching peak potential.
Fear intimidates. Fear paralyzes.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
If we ask God, He will expose the root of our fear. Whether He points to the fear of not measuring up to the opinions of others or the fear of being vulnerable, identifying the source helps us to move beyond it.
God knows we are imperfect. We know we are imperfect. So why is perfectionism such a big deal? Or at least, why is perfectionism such a big deal for me?
“Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.”
When I make perfection even remotely my goal, I may begin the work, but never complete it or boldly present it to others. Perfectionism focuses on flaws. It holds us to impossible standards, clouding everything we do with disappointment and discouragement.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15
Timothy’s mentor and “father” in the faith encouraged him, “Do your best!” Our consistent best will keep the momentum going. It will elevate us above obstacles.
We could all glean from these words, applying it to whatever we are working at. “Do your best!” Let’s put perfectionism behind us and simply attempt to do our best.
So many times, I look at my work, knowing it is far from perfect. But I also recognize that at this point in my life, this is the best I have to offer. When I resolve to accept my imperfection, I step past perfectionism as the obstacle to success.
When things don’t turn out like I hope, discouragement creeps in. Often shame or regret ride the same wave with discouragement.
“Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
“Don’t be discouraged!” God says to each of us. “Don’t give it room or entertain it in your mind!”
Whatever we do that is good and upright, let’s remember God is with us. He never calls us to something He will not equip us to do. He strengthens and helps us to carry it out.
Whatever door of opportunity God opens for us, He empowers us to confidently walk through it. Let us not allow discouragement to become an obstacle to success.
Ineffective management of my time often creates the greatest roadblock to accomplishing my goals. Usually, this results from an over-booked, over-extended, and over-loaded schedule.
Distractions continually bombard — some avoidable, others unavoidable.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Jesus encourages us to establish godly priorities and set healthy boundaries over our time. I find these tips helpful:
- Say “no” to some things to give the option to say “yes” to the most important things
- Recognize and avoid time wasting distractions
- Tackle the most difficult work during peak performance periods
- Minimize where I can so I can maximize for the greatest effect
- Rest before work, eat before effort, exercise before assignments
We cannot regain time once it passes. Time is precious to God.
Obstacle to Success
My list includes only a few of the roadblocks that create obstacles to success. We each will face our own recurring roadblocks to impede progress.
Your list might read differently from mine. Procrastination, insecurity, or past shame may rank high on a few lists. Through Jesus Christ, we all can be victorious no matter how long or short our lists appear.
“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:57-58
Whatever God has set before us, wherever He has positioned us, let us thank God. He gives us the ability to identify and overcome any roadblock or obstacle to success.
Your labor is not in vain! God is with you.