There's a wicked old MadTV sketch with Bob Newhart who plays a psychologist, and a patient comes in, complaining of all kinds of things and the doctor's sage advice over and over is, "Well..... STOP IT. Just STOP IT!" Wise, eh? Simple and yet so tough. How do we "just stop" self-sabotage?
1. Prayer. This is an area where I struggle the most. I have to admit, I sometimes get frustrated and annoyed when Christians talk about "just giving it to God" because, in practical terms, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??!! I think I'm finally figuring it out. I can't say that every time I'm tempted to eat something I don't need that I remember to pray and actively find something else to do, but I have had victorious moments and days in the last week. Each day this week, I've begun with prayer, including prayer for myself. That I would remember my early morning petition for self-discipline throughout the day when I'm tempted to sit here at the computer when my to do list isn't anywhere close to done, or when I'm tempted to eat and eat and eat in the afternoons while the girls are upstairs or outside for 'quiet time.'
The article I referenced in Friday's post says : "We should never forget the value of our quiet-time as a place where our fears can be confronted and overcome. It's greatly beneficial to take generous time for meditation--both to dwell on God's grace and provision for our life, and to stare our fears in the face and recognize them for the irrational apprehensions they so often are.
The author also says this is why it's important to establish our priorities and a daily schedule during our devotional time in the morning because when we resolve in prayer to spend our days in a certain way, we're responding to God's leading and not just our own impulses. "The conviction of God's call, more than any factor, strengthens our motivation and quells our fears of both failure and success."
2. Help from our friends. God's touch in our lives, including healing from our fears, so often comes through the encouragement of friends. What makes the fear of success so difficult for many is the mistaken perception that they alone suffer from it. Seek and cultivate relationships where you can be straightforward in sharing your apprehensions of success. Which is of course, what we're doing here in the blogosphere at The Sisterhood, and to a much lesser extent, right here on this blog. But as much as these sites may encourage us and give us news, hints, tips, and insights, it still can't take the place of a personal, flesh-and-blood friend to walk with, encourage, and pray for us. The renewed strength, determination, and confidence that comes from this sort of a relationship can be remarkable.
3. Manage the benefits of success. It takes time for our minds to adapt to change, even when it is most welcome. We need to be realistic about our own adjustment process and not make sudden drastic changes, even when we've reached our goals. This is particularly true when weight loss was the goal. Part of the reason I've failed to maintain my success in the past is because once I reached my goal, I figured I didn't need to be careful anymore. WRONG!
It's certainly not wrong to enjoy the benefits of success ~ the Bible extols the value of rejoicing in our achievements and enjoying the results of our work ~ the point is simply that balance is needed. And remembering that God has created us to find our greatest joy in Him, not personal success.
4. Keep the wheels in motion. Someone reportedly once asked Albert Einstein how he was able to cope with his remarkable notoriety. He replied that he dealt with it by continuing to work and pursue new goals. He didn't dwell on his success but kept his mind actively involved in new pursuits.
The motivation of Christ is experienced most fully when our lives are in motion --not frantic, obsessive motion, but prudent, natural motion toward goals which we've prayerfully resolved Christ wants us to pursue. It's through this constant forward movement that our fears can be overcome and we can find the courage to become the person Christ has created us to be. And it's within this movement that we discover most completely and convincingly the truth of the biblical promise that in His joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
So we need to give our attention to using the gifts Christ has given us, and to moving toward the goals He helps us establish for ourselves. Keeping our lives in motion will allow the Lord to move us beyond our fears of success ~ even sometimes beyond our wildest dreams ~ and into those accomplishments that reflect
His best for your life.