Do you remember what life was like when you were in your late teens and early twenties?
If you were anything like me, you had extraordinary dreams and expectations of what life was going to be like.
Almost … a little fairy-tale-ish … if I had to be honest with myself.
I remember one instance from this time in my life that left me simultaneously feeling shaken and excited.
I entered Walmart to run a quick errand. The Walmart greeter welcomed me to the store … just like he had with all those who entered before me.
After greeting me, he took a second look at me and stopped me. His face had changed from the generic greeter smile to one of serious wisdom.
“I don’t know why I am telling you this, but I feel like you need to hear it,” he shared, with an authority I can only relate to that of the “prophets of old.”
“Don’t settle for anything less than God has for you. God wants you to know that and remember that.”
I thanked the greeter and went on.
On the outside I may have seemed a little nonchalant to his … advice … guidance … warning …
But inside, his words repeated in my mind without ceasing.
Over the years, these words have not left me.
In fact, there have been moments I’ve heard that greeter’s voice in my mind as if only a few moments of time had passed.
Friend, today, I am your greeter.
I am asking you to slow down and pause from the hustle and bustle of your life and listen.
Listen … and remember.
Because God wants a message passed along to you.
“Don’t settle for anything less than God has for you.”
Let those words penetrate your heart.
Let them repeat in your mind, without ceasing.
Let them become the foundation by which you take every step and make every decision moving forward.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Because friend, you have lost the part of you that once dreamed … that once planned … that once cared about your life and got excited about your future.
The floodgates of life and life’s responsibilities opened on you a long while ago … and since … you have been hastily trying not to drown.
And that, friend, has become your norm.
Just trying to keep your head above water.
You may not look like you are treading water on the outside, in fact, you may look as though you have everything in perfect order.
You may be excelling on your job.
You may be extraordinary in ensuring your family is well taken care of.
You may even be rating five stars on all the volunteer work you are putting in.
But on the inside …
On the inside friend, you are treading water in the sea of self-doubt, self-criticism, and maybe even self-loathing.
You, friend, are settling for less than God has for you.
I don’t share this to be critical.
Instead, I share this because it has been the guidance that has helped me time and again.
These words, uttered by a complete stranger, in a moment they seemed bizarre and unfitting, have taught me four very important lessons.
Lessons I am passing along to you today.
You see, in some broad way I knew that God “cared” about people.
But, until the moment a stranger spoke into my life, I didn’t realize that God’s care was personal.
It was so personal He sent a complete stranger … a Walmart greeter … to give me guidance I would need throughout my future.
This encounter allowed me to see God as more of a personal God, rather than a “somewhere out there God.”
Of the crowd of people in Walmart … and the world … God stopped my world for just a moment to let me know He cared. He cared enough to send someone with very wise words to speak into my heart.
Scripture found in the book of Luke is also a great reminder of how much God cares for us.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and none of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12: 6-7
I realized that if God cared enough to send me a personal message, He must have done so for a reason.
He must have had a purpose for my life.
Again, I also “knew” I had a purpose. I just didn’t comprehend that my purpose was a God-ordained purpose.
I also didn’t realize how much me “not settling” weighed upon that purpose.
This message inspired me, time and again throughout the years, to pause and evaluate the moment I was in to determine if I was “settling” and treading water or if I was making strides toward “what God had for me.”
One’s purpose isn’t the easiest to put into words, but I will say …
There is something on the inside of you that indicates where you are on this journey.
You will know, if you are honest with yourself, if you are treading water and “settling” for less than what God has for your life.
God does have a purpose for you, so pay attention to that little voice on the inside.
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Colossians 1:16
In realizing that God cared about me and that God had a purpose for me, I became aware of the importance of walking in that purpose.
It’s an awareness that can feel both heavy and empowering at the same time.
Of course, there were countless times I started to live outside the purpose God had for me.
And when I did, I could feel it.
Do you know what it felt like?
It felt like treading water …
It felt like everything I was “trying” to do was an uphill battle.
It felt like I was constantly working and moving and pivoting to “make things work.”
In these times I wasn’t initially aware that what I was actually doing was “settling for less.”
Settling for less than what God has for you comes with risks.
The constant “flailing” and “treading” of water left me in a constant state of weariness and anxiety.
My failure to get traction in life, combined with my weary mind and body, brought on an onslaught of other things … self-doubt … anxiety … depression.
Like a landslide, these brought about a whole set of problems … emotional problems … health problems … weight gain.
I have found that when I became aware that I was “settling” and made intentional efforts to seek out God’s path and get on it, all of these “symptoms” seemed to be easier to handle and overcome.
One of the most important lessons on this journey to “not settling” is the realization that self love is a must.
How is self-love factored into “not settling.”
Well, it all fits together in one big, beautifully orchestrated design.
God cares about you.
God not only cares about you, you were created by Him and for Him.
God has a purpose for you.
That purpose is so specific … and so powerful … that walking outside that plan can make you feel like your whole world is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
The energy you pour out trying to get that peg into a hole it wasn’t designed for will cause you to become weary and beaten down.
That weariness will take a toll on your mind, body, and spirit.
That toll will have an emotional and physical impact on your body and your health.
This leads me to ask “why.”
Why, in knowing all we now know, would we continue to flail … tread water … work in vain to fit square pegs into round holes … to settle for less than God has for us …
The answer is simple and powerful.
Because we don’t love ourselves enough to truly BELIEVE …
… that God cares for us and has a purpose for us.
I know, it’s a hard truth.
A lack of self-love will cause us to settle because despite knowing and loving and trusting God …
We just don’t have enough love for ourselves to feel worthy.
Friends, God didn’t form you by hand and breathe his breath of life into you for no reason.
He didn’t call you out of darkness into His marvelous light so that you could “just exist.”
He knew you before you were born.
He had and has a purpose for your life.
He has designed you specifically for that purpose.
God wants you to know that He has MORE for you.
He wants you to STOP settling for less than He designed for you.
Don’t be like the child who gets an expensive gift and feels only worthy enough to play with the box.
Friend, apprehend that for which you have been created and apprehended.
The journey to end the treading … flailing … settling …
It starts with self-love.
You may be asking yourself how.
How do I stop treading water?
How do I stop flailing in the sea of overwhelm?
How do I stop settling?
How do I learn to love myself the way God designed me to?
Friend, that’s why I am here.
I’ve been on this journey too and I am here today as a person God has strategically placed in your life.
Every moment that goes by is another moment you are settling for less.
Don’t settle for less longer than you have to.
Let’s connect and get you on the path to taking hold of all of the wonderful things God has for your life!
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