From Reality to Destiny

by Andy Wood on May 31, 2013

in Ability, Executing Your Plan, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Increase, Time

GatewayWhen I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes.  I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty.  I am trusting and suspicious.  I am honest and I still play games.  Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.

(Brennan Manning)

It’s time to face the facts.

Anybody ever say that to you?

Did they ever follow it with something that sounded like good news?

Where did reality get such a bum rap?  I don’t mean Debbie-Downer-such-a-frowner stuff where you look for reasons to be miserable.  I certainly don’t mean TV shows that pass for “reality.” I mean an honest assessment of the brutal facts that say, “Where you is is where you is.”

So… um… Where you is?

Do you realize that the only way you can ever experience meaningful change, positive results, breathtaking opportunities or fulfilled potential is first to enter the doorway of truth?

I know, I know.  The truth hurts sometimes. The facts really can be brutally insensitive.  And denial is a much more pleasant way to live.  Ignorance really is bliss. Pretending and denial bring about a strange kind of comfort.  But ignorance is also joyless and loveless and passionless and powerless. Pretending exposes you to inconvenient dangers and disasters. And denial over time builds cages that are humanly impossible to escape.

Believe it or not, there’s a lot of life to be lived on the other side of embracing the truth. Even when the truth is painful. Heartbreaking. Embarrassing.  Overwhelming.

Your Reality Can Be a Gateway

Let me call my first witness. A Bible character named Nehemiah. He had a pretty sweet gig – he had earned the trust of the king of Persia and served in the palace as the king’s cup bearer.

But Nehemiah was a dreamer, and he dreamed of home – a place called Jerusalem. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.  Anyway, while Nehemiah was making sure the wine wasn’t poisoned, he gleefully imagined the wonderful rebuilding project some of his kinsmen were undertaking.  It had been about 40 years – surely they were about done and a whole new wave of Jews could return to their homeland.

Then reality showed up, and here was the report:

“Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire”(Nehemiah 1:3).

Not what he was expecting. At all.

Has anybody ever gotten in your face and told you something that destroyed all your images of what was true? Has anybody ever done you the favor of rocking your world so completely that all you could do is weep and mourn?

That’s the magnitude of what Nehemiah heard that day.

“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:4).

Wait. All that over some distant construction project? By people he hardly knew, if at all?

Yes. And it was one of the best things that could have happened, because now this leader-in-the-making knew what he was truly dealing with.

Reality punched him in the face. But it didn’t define who he was, or doom him to a life of despair. His reality became a gateway to God’s destiny in his life and nation.

And so can yours.

Let’s Get Personal

Okay, so you’re 48 pounds overweight.  We all know where the stories of doom can take you.  Where’s the destiny?

Your teenaged daughter is pregnant.  Okay.  Where’s the destiny?

You have $42,168.83 in unsecured debt. Okay. Where’s the destiny?

Somebody just discovered that you’re actually the smartest, most talented guy in the room, and now there are new expectations.  You can’t pretend you’re ordinary anymore. Awesome.  Where’s the destiny?

Fill in your own rude facts of life. Use data – real numbers when you can.  But as a friend of mine often reminds me, facts are facts, but truth is another matter.  And your destiny is on the other side of the truth that “facts” are fleeting and by the grace of God you have the power to change them.

Your destiny is the result of what happens when you apply God’s truth and power to the reality you’ve been hiding from.  Okay, you’re an addict. But God’s truth is that “whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”

Okay, you’re unemployed. But God’s truth is that He is your provider and He doesn’t forsake the righteous.

Okay, you’re entering a completely new phase of life and it feels as though you’re losing your old identity. But God’s truth is that is gifts and calling are irrevocable, even if the venue changes for you.

Four Decisions you Must Make

Whatever the facts that have come calling, to experience your destiny, there are four decisions you have to make:

1.  Calling is more important than Comfort.

Except for the occasional poison, being the cupbearer to the king was a pretty comfortable position.  Nehemiah had every reason in the world to settle into his comfort zone.  Instead he began to sense that his life was destined for more than that.

He wasn’t alone.  In fact, anybody who ever accomplished anything significant in the Bible always left a comfort zone to do it.

You may be facing some incredible opportunities right now and just don’t see them because they come disguised as hopeless situations, or unhealed hurts, or major changes.  It is possible that your circumstances are just a delivery tool for a calling God has placed on your life?

2.  God-sized problems require God-sized help.

Nehemiah recognized a God-sized problem when he saw one.  For 40 years these people had tried and failed to rebuild a wall around Jerusalem.  It was humanly impossible because of the opposition they faced.  These people needed help!  They needed hope!  They needed some kind of miracle.  So Nehemiah went to the Miracle-Maker to get the help he needed.

Do you realize that the very reason you may be facing some of the situations you’re in are just so you will say to God, “I can’t do this?” And the reason a lot of people refuse to deal with reality is because they’re too stinking proud to admit they can’t do it themselves.

3.  Your past does not equal your future.

“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’(Nehemiah 1:8-9)

Let me remind you who God made this promise to.  This was the most rebellious, fickle, hard-hearted group of people in the world.  And yet, here was God, promising that even if they were scattered to the four corners of the earth, He would restore them if they turned back to him.

To come back, they would have to stand on the truth that God did not define them by where they had been, but by where they were headed. The same is true for you.  You may be carrying some pretty heavy baggage from your past.  And every time you imagine what your life could be, you feel the weight of your mistakes from yesterday.  It’s time to recognize that grace works for you, too!

4.  A dream worth holding is worth the wait.

One of the things we learn from Nehemiah’s story is that four months after he had received the bad news, he was still desperately calling on God.

But that’s not all he was doing.  He was planning.  Thinking ahead to potential problems. Looking to where he could get resources. And looking for every legitimate opportunity to leave his comfort for his calling.

Sometimes, when you’re looking at the distance between your reality and your destiny, the only thing missing is time.  I want to remind you, it takes 40 days to make a squash.  It takes 40 years to make an oak.  If you have oak-sized dreams, you may need to give your vision some time for oak-sized roots to form.

Your reality can be a marvelous gateway from what-is to what-could-be. It’ll take courage. Bold praying. Confidence in the grace of God. And patience. Most of all, it requires that see past the denial and the doomsday to the truth as God reveals it.

Your destiny awaits. Now let’s get real.

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