By LeighAnne Turner
Following Jesus can be hard sometimes when our circumstances don’t look the way we envisioned. Sometimes our dreams get stifled or our hope becomes limited as a result of circumstances outside of our control. Sometimes we lose momentum and focus on our shortcomings or we create over-exaggerated and long lists of things that we can’t accomplish.
There may be days when we feel discouraged and unable to hear God speak.
Just because He is silent doesn’t mean he isn’t present. We are never alone. Every emotion we feel and every circumstance we face can always be measured by the truth of this very promise Jesus made; “Be sure of this...I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
We may feel a certain way based on our situation but we worship and serve a God that stands apart from our ever-changing moods. Here are four tips on how we can continue to follow Jesus regardless of our circumstances.
Feelings Don't Dictate Faith
It’s hard to be optimistic about what’s ahead when we are laden with negative feelings and difficult circumstances. As a result, we grow discontent with who we are, what we can do and where we are headed. We have a tendency to start limiting our prayer time and following Jesus becomes even more difficult.
Ephesians 2:8 reminds us that our relationship with God is based on faith, not our feelings.
Following Jesus should be a response to our faith and not based on wavering emotions or how much we feel connected. God doesn’t change no matter how much our feelings do.
Comparing Ourselves Isn't An Accurate Measure
The world today has created a culture where we compare ourselves to everyone else. We don’t see our current circumstances as having any value compared to the perceived reality of those around us. So we measure our success as something we will achieve once our lifestyle looks more like others. As a result, we exhaust ourselves and waste energy in an attempt to achieve a way of life that wasn’t designed for us.
In his book, “Not a Fan: Becoming Completely Committed Follower of Jesus,” Kyle Idleman suggests that we compare our relationship with Jesus to the relationship others appear to have in an effort to measure how well we think we are following Jesus. Usually this is a self-indictment, since we know, perhaps on a subconscious level, that we are not following Jesus the way that we need to and our relationship with Jesus isn’t as solid as it could be.
When we compare ourselves to anyone else, we are not walking by faith. Instead, we are trying to control things. If we focus on God’s faithfulness when we feel tempted to compare ourselves, we remind ourselves that God is in control and being a follower becomes a natural response.
Hindered By Dreams
We are good at looking ahead towards our dreams and living in an attempt to travel in that direction. There is certainly nothing wrong with looking forward towards our dreams unless they hinder us from seeing what surrounds us right now. Dreams must serve as windows to new ideas and possibilities rather than creating walls for us to get stuck behind.
Love Now, Serve Now
Following Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean following a path toward a dream job or an ideal living situation and sometimes it doesn’t look glamorous or even desirable.
Following Jesus is about finding opportunities to live, love and serve those around us right now. And, it’s a willingness to embrace whatever is in front of us with love and obedience.
Comment below and share with our readers some of the ways that have helped you stay focused on following Jesus when your circumstances become challenging. We are all in this together so your ideas are valued.
LEIGHANNE TURNER is the nice person you'll talk with on any of our social media, wants to live in Red River Gorge, is married with seven kids.