Welcome to part 3 – and the second tool – of practically stewarding your breakthrough!
Let’s first recap last week’s tool: making sure you have the right set of blueprints. This, of course, translates to aligning our expectations with God’s, and the primary way we do this is by developing a consistent life of prayer – a.k.a. conversation – with God. He loves to hear us, and He loves to speak to us! He also loves to share His plans with us, so that we can embrace them and see them become reality!
The second tool, then, to stewarding your breakthrough is: Discovering and engaging with the processes attached to your breakthrough.
I know many people who hate the word process. I used to feel the same way, always wishing I could just fall down and bump my head, then wake up at the destination point. It’s unrealistic, I know, but I had no patience for the process and I had no concept of its value. What I have learned in my journey, however, is that the processes we go through on our way to breakthrough (or to anything, really), are our preparation. Without the process, we are ill equipped to hold the promises we receive.
There are four processes pertaining to breakthrough that I’d like to bring to the table today:
1. Counting the Cost
Jesus speaks to this in Luke chapter 14 (verses 25-30) when He invites the disciples (and us) to follow Him:
“So don’t follow Me without considering what it will cost you. For who would construct a house before first sitting down to estimate the cost to complete it?” (v. 28, Passion Translation)
There will be a cost that comes with any breakthrough or any promise. Yes there is reward too, but to only focus on the reward and ignore the cost would be to subject your promise to the possibilities of being short-lived, or even aborted.
The costs associated with your breakthrough will depend on the nature of the promise. When God promised that He would change my husband’s heart, through my forgiveness and my willingness to love him as Christ loved me – even in the face of betrayal – there were some very serious costs attached to that promise.
Emotionally, I would experience the depths of rejection and brokenness. Financially, addiction would ravage our resources, and rebuilding would take an investment of money we could not even fathom having, much less spending. Our entire lifestyle would need to change. Spiritually, my faith would crumble and be tested through a fire that would nearly destroy me. Our children would pay the price of the process we said yes to, as well, as they would have to endure the mess of living in a family “under construction.” (While that seems – and is – a better option than being a family divided, it came with a heavy price.) Physically, there was the cost of having to endure and then rebuild marital intimacy in the context of unfaithfulness, which was painful and sickening.
Some of the costs attached to your breakthrough will be obvious, and you will be able to plan for them. Others cannot be recognized or counted until they arise, and you must be prepared for those as well. As with any home improvement project, unforseen and additional costs will be a part of the journey, so it is wise to plan for extra demands on your emotions, finances, physical strength, and spiritual endurance. This way, you will be prepared to reach breakthrough, rather than give up on it.
As you plan for and even encounter additional costs and demands, a key thing to remember is that when you have God’s blueprints, you also have the confidence that is built into His plans for you. You can endure to the end when you count the cost, because you can trust that He has invested all of Heaven’s resources to make you able to see it through. He will give you all you need, as you turn to Him and as you do what you know He is leading you to do.
2. Making Room
The second process attached to breakthrough involves actually investing the costs you have counted. If it is a ministry or business plan, invest the money it will require. If it is a child that’s been promised, make the room and prepare for the needs you know will come. Stock up on the supplies you will need. If it’s a marriage that will be healed, invest in the counseling or healing journey it will take. If it is growth in God and in your destiny, clear your calendar to make more room to spend time with Him. If it is a stronger family, do the same, and build into your commitments time to spend together doing things that will cause you to be more deeply connected.
This will hurt a bit, and you will have to make necessary adjustments in other areas of your life, if you want to see breakthrough become a reality. Your priorities will necessarily shift, as you will have to cut out some activities and expenses you may now enjoy, in order to make room for those you want to enjoy, because they’ve been promised to you.
On the other side of breakthrough, however, you will have no regrets about this!
3. Cleaning Closets
Anytime you need to make room for something new, you must first clean out the old. This is a spiritual principle as well as a life principle. Every Christmas, we go through the children’s toy boxes and get rid of or donate what they really don’t make too much use of anymore, because there are new toys that will soon need to fill those spaces.
When you are preparing to move into a new home, a new space to live, it is customary to clean out your storage spaces and old drawers and closets, and to throw out what isn’t really necessary. We do this because we are envisioning a fresh start, and don’t want to carry over what isn’t really a part of where we are going.
Each year in January, we take fresh stock of our lives and decide to get rid of some old habits that haven’t served us well, so we can establish new ones that will.
The same process holds true for any breakthrough you are stewarding. You will have to examine what you are currently carrying, and decide to part with some things in order to make room for what is on its way. No one wants to attempt holding a promise with hands or hearts that are already cluttered and overcrowded. Eventually something will have to fall, and it is usually, sadly, the promised breakthrough.
This will take some time to intentionally sit down and write out what your commitments are, and seek God’s help in determining what you should let go of. He knows the future, so He will be able to guide you with perfect wisdom! When He does, however, prepare your heart to trust and obey, no matter how difficult it might be. Trust that He will only ask you to give something up because what He plans to give you in exchange will always be much better!
4. Confronting Emotional Upheaval & Character Defects
With any breakthrough comes change, and with any change comes grief. Even when we are letting go of something that needs to go, there will still be a sense of mourning. It is a human process that we can’t opt out of. Our emotions naturally take their appointed courses. We will have fear, sadness, sometimes anger or confusion, doubt, worry, etc. We must therefore know ahead of time that part of the process, or preparation for breakthrough, is dealing with these emotions.
It’s easier to run from them, or to distract or numb ourselves with plenty of other things that keep us busy. It is not wise, though. I was 30 years old before I learned that emotions are never supposed to be in the driver’s seat. For a girl who grew up in the back seat of an emotional roller coaster, that was a tough lesson! Stewarding breakthrough necessitates making room for the emotions that come with change, and learning to put them in their proper place, instead of letting them cause a train wreck in our journey toward possessing the promises we’ve been given.
In the same journey, character defects will surface and come to light. It is also important that we confront and deal with these, rather than run or hide from them. God exposes what He wants to correct and heal, so we can trust Him and cooperate with Him in order to grow in these areas. If we refuse to do so, we will not have the character we need to sustain the promises we are meant to hold, and sooner or later, we will find ourselves compromising the breakthrough for an easier path.
When God promised me books to write, one of the character defects that came to the surface was my lack of self discipline. I struggle with managing my time effectively, in order to make room for a new priority. It is something I have to work at daily, and still often fail in. Giving up, however, is not an option. So I get up every day, and I ask for the grace to try again. You will have to learn to do the same.
Whatever your character defects are, you cannot change them on your own. You will need to deal with more than negative or destructive behaviors. You will have to deal with your heart. When God changes that, your behavior and character will naturally follow.
Dear Woman of Breakthrough, I pray you will take the time to really examine your heart and life this week with God. I pray that you will lay out whatever breakthrough promises you are stewarding, and find them worthy of engaging in the necessary processes that are attached to them. God will be faithful to establish His plans for you, as you are faithful to trust and cooperate with Him in doing so!
Next week we will talk about the third tool for practically stewarding your breakthrough: Actively trusting God’s nature and timing.
Until then, be blessed in your process!