A Key to Gideon’s Calling (and yours!)

Episode #120

This episode highlights an often overlooked aspect of Gideon’s story that is critical to fulfilling our own calling from God.

<< All Episodes

Also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, RSS Feed, and others.

Free Masterclass Click here to sign up for our FREE 5-day video MASTERCLASS.


 

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

DISCLAIMER: The below transcript was automatically generated and has not been reviewed to ensure complete accuracy. Any references or quotes should be taken directly from the audio recording and not the below transcript.

(00:00): Preview

Well, on this episode, we are going to get into Gideon’s story in judges six, but we’re going to talk about a specific aspect of that story that often goes overlooked and it has the potential to be life changing for you. So stick around for the whole episode. Let’s get into it right now.

(00:19): Introduction

Hey, this is Ryan S. Howard. Thanks for tuning into my podcast. I call it your faith at work, because we want to get your faith out of the church and into the world. We want our faith to be active, and I’m here to help you get unstuck and fulfill all the God-given potential that you were created with. I’m going to help you find your God-given assignment so that you can advance the kingdom every single day. We’re going to do that and work in the culture and in life, visit Ryan S howard.com to learn more well,

(00:49): Episode

We’ll be in judges six today, and I’m going to highlight something that, as I said in the introduction has the potential to be life-changing. It’s a small aspect of this story of this history that often goes overlooked. And you may not have heard it highlighted before. And you may not have seen it there before, but we’re going to highlight that because it has an impact on everything that we do in every area of life. Everything God calls us to do, this is one key aspect. It’s like a Lynch pin. And before we get into the details there, let’s read judges chapter six, verses 12 to 16. So it says when the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, the Lord is with you mighty warrior. Pardon me? My Lord, Gideon replied. But if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?

(01:44):

Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about? When they said did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt, but now the Lord has abandoned us. And given us into the hand of Midian, the Lord turned to him and said, go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you? Pardon me? My Lord, Gideon replied, but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. The Lord answered. I will be with you and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive. And then it goes on to talk about how he accepted that call and got his man. And they went and tore down. They started with, by tearing down the altar of bale and cutting down the Asherah pole. They did that at night and some men wanted to kill him, others disagreed.

(02:37):

And you know, he went on and to have the, the 300 men and they conquered these tens and tens of thousands and thousands of thousands of soldiers in these other armies. And he did it with just 300 men, but I want to go back and highlight something specific here. If you look at what took place with this little interaction here, just these few verses, now God was with Gideon. But you know, as it said in verse 12, you know, the angel appeared and said, the Lord is with you mighty warrior. And God was with him, but he asked, well, if the Lord is with us, then why has this all happened to us? You know, he asked, you know, where are the wonders that we heard about? And, you know, he, it appeared that he believed that the Lord had abandoned them and abandoned Israel.

(03:24):

And you see, God gave no answer, though. He didn’t give an explanation. He just moved right into his assignment for Gideon. God simply offered, you know, am I not sending you? In other words, you know, what else is needed? What evidence, you know, that that should be that’s enough. That’s convincing enough. He didn’t bother spending time. And it could be that maybe he, you know, we don’t hate it. Didn’t have the capacity to really understand what was going on there, or just wasn’t the time to explain it. And God doesn’t need to explain that, but it’s just incredible. He just went right into his assignment and then Gideon responds by giving another question. But it’s about him personally, you know, Gideon believed see that the angel called him mighty warrior or a man of standing. This is that’s what this word means. You know, it designates a person who has a responsibility or is a upstanding individual in the community, or you know, a man of standing really speaks about their importance.

(04:25):

And he, he mentions that he’s the part of the, his family was the weakest clan and that he was the least in his family. And so he’s basically saying, you know, I, he, I don’t even have standing in my own family and how am I going to lead? All the claim were from the weakest clan. I’m how am I going to lead all the clans, all the Israelites, all the tribes, all the families to go and into battle. How am I going to do that? You know, he didn’t, he believed he didn’t have the ability. He didn’t have the authority and he didn’t have the standing. And he saw himself as, not as a mighty warrior, as, as the angel called him as a man of standing, he saw himself as a weak unimportant man with no authority and with no standing. And well, did he sit there and continue to argue with the angel about it?

(05:18):

Or did he argue with God about it? He didn’t, he, he, he moved on God, responded and said, I will be with you and you will strike down the Midianites. He didn’t sit there and try and convince Gideon that he had everything it took in himself. And he had to do all this stuff on his own. Of course he has a big part to play in this, but God is the one that’s going to do it through him. And God simply offers. I will be with you verse 16, and you will strike down all the Midianites period. End of stories. Simple as that. And Gideon had a choice, meaning he could accept what the angel said about him, what God said about him, that he was a man of standing, that he was a mighty warrior, or he could accept what he already thought in his head about himself was that he was weak unimportant no authority you know, from this weaker family, all that he could have accepted that.

(06:16):

Now that is the linchpin that I’m talking about. Look at all that he did when he accepted the identity and the call that God gave to him, regardless of his background. And regardless of what he thought of himself, you know, he went on to unite, Israel to take down these high places, these places of idol worship. And then he went on to conquer the Midianites and on and on and on and on and all these great conquests, but it all started when he accepted what God said about him. And, you know, he looked at what he would’ve missed out on. If he continued to deny his true identity and see himself as just this week, unimportant man with no authority and no standing, but praise God that he didn’t. And he, but he would have missed out on all of that. But if he continued to argue with God about that, and so he didn’t though, and his background didn’t matter.

(07:13):

He needed to change his self image to do what God had called him to do. I say that again, he needed to change his self image to do what God called him to do. How does he see himself? He needed to see himself the way God saw him otherwise, how’s he going to pick up that trumpet to blow it and have the men come and follow him, come and go to battle with him, go to war with him. You know, he’s going to have to hear from God, he’s going to have to do and take the, take the action. But if he doesn’t really see himself that way, it’s not going to have confidence. It’s not going to do, you know, he needs to see himself the way God’s saw him. And, but it’s, it’s not because of his abilities. It’s because God is with him.

(07:56):

God has called him and God will, God will, has given assurances of the victory. And so and God is sending him. So the question I have is what identity has God given you to have? Are you accepting it or are you arguing with God about it? Do you keep going back and forth or are you just accepting it? Has he called you to a certain career? Has he called you to a certain way to manage your family? Has he called you to a certain group of people? Has he called you to start a company to start a business? You know, whatever it is, maybe something smaller. Has he called you to lead a Bible study? Has he called you to disciple someone? Has he called you to share Jesus with somebody? Has he called you to pray for someone while I’m not that kind of person?

(08:45):

I don’t really pray out loud. I don’t really put myself out there really. Is that what God says about you or what you say about you? You know, so really you need to put it through the ringer. And this has been huge for me. I have, this has been monumental change for me, you know, throughout my life, where if you just see yourself, the way God sees you and the right way where you want to be, well, then you can go there and you actually will act differently. You will act as though you are that versus not acting that someday, you know, someday. So this, this mindset, the way you see yourself is very important. And what I think is really interesting is when God didn’t try to convince Gideon that he had everything that was needed to do what God called him to do.

(09:34):

He, he said, God told Gideon that it was because God was going to be with him. And because God was sending him, that’s why he should see himself that way. That’s why he will have the victory and he needed to go forward. He needed to accept that. So do you see yourself as someone who’s weak and lowly and no authority and no standing, or has a messed up past, or has made the same mistakes over and over, or doesn’t have the right background or doesn’t have the strength needed? Or do you see yourself as someone God has called and someone that God is with someone that God has equipped someone that God has given power and authority to do everything that he has called you to do. That is how you need to see yourself. You are someone God has called, and you are someone that God is with period.

(10:24):

End of story. Victory is already won. It’s already assured. And we just get to enjoy God while we’re doing this. And see. So like I said, Gideon went on to unite the Israelites against their common enemy, but he defeated them. He United them, he defeated them. He did this assignment, he did this, he fulfilled his calling with God’s power after he accepted what God said about him and that it would was in God’s strength that he was going to do it. And this, the spirit of the Lord was on Gideon. When he sounded the trumpet, all the warriors came to join him in the fight. It wasn’t sound the trumpet and then go and try and figure out how to scheme and get all these men to come join him. No, God put it in their hearts. God gave him the assignment. He accepted it, accepted the identity, and then God made everything happen around him.

(11:20):

And, but that was the linchpin. He had to accept the assignment. He had to accept his identity, what God said about him and, and, and well, what, what is it that you need to accept? And so he went on to fight and have all these great conquests and these victories that God did through him. So what is it for you? What is it that God has called you to do? Who is it that God has called you to be what’s in your heart right now? What is coming up to the top? What is it that you need that you’re looking for permission to see, as you know, if somebody came to you with what you’re thinking about right now, what advice would you give them? Would you tell them, you just need to own it. You need to own that. You need to accept that about yourself, what God says you need to move forward and, or, you know, would you be a little more discouraging?

(12:11):

No, that you wouldn’t, you would be very encouraging. You would lift them up. So why talk to yourself differently? So, so what is it commit, see yourself that way. Start to tell yourself, start to start to imagine what life would be like, seeing yourself that way. And if you really have no idea, nothing’s coming up. See what about mighty warrior man of standing or woman of standing and authority, spiritual authority, and things will change around you, that you had nothing to do with God is doing it, but see yourself the right way. And you will start to see these shifts happening. Just your mentality will be different things that you used to get caught up in mentally before. Just not there anymore. So take a step. What is it for you? Actually write it down, write it down and come back and look at it later today or tonight, and then look at it again tomorrow and look at it again the next day and look throughout the day. Just keep reminding yourself and keep, actually visualizing it and making sure that it happens and takes, takes fast action. Do something with this today, right now. What is it going to be, be committed to only believing about yourself, what God says about you, and you will see that it will make the world of difference in you accomplishing everything that God has created you and assigned you to do.

(13:37): Outro

If you enjoyed this podcast, be sure to subscribe and you can help spread the word by giving us a five star review and sharing it with your friends. Visit Ryan S howard.com to learn more about how you can advance God’s kingdom every day.

 

Is Your Self-Image Helping or Hurting You?

Episode #118

This episode will challenge you to look closer at how you see yourself so you can show up as your best self every single day.

<< All Episodes

Also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, RSS Feed, and others.

Free Masterclass Click here to sign up for our FREE 5-day video MASTERCLASS.


 

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

DISCLAIMER: The below transcript was automatically generated and has not been reviewed to ensure complete accuracy. Any references or quotes should be taken directly from the audio recording and not the below transcript.

(00:00): Preview

Hey, on this episode, we are talking about self-image and we’re going to dive a little deeper past what you might tell me or someone else, what you think of yourself into what you’re actually thinking about yourself and the kind of stories you’re dwelling on and thinking about. And I think this is going to be a key to unlocking you showing up as the best version of you every single day. So let’s get into it right now.

(00:24): Intro

Hey, this is Ryan S. Howard, thanks for tuning into my podcast. I call it your faith at work, because we want to get your faith out of the church and into the world. We want our faith to be active, and I’m here to help you get unstuck and fulfill all the God-given potential that you were created with. I’m going to help you find your God-given assignment so that you can advance the kingdom every single day. We’re going to do that and work in the culture and in life, visit Ryan S howard.com to learn more, welcome to another episode. And

(00:55):

We are diving a little deeper into a topic that is maybe more important than, you know, and it might be something lingering under the surface that could use a little attention and make a huge difference. Just like that little tweak on their golf swing or whatever it is that you might be doing. So when we think about self image, you know, image is something that we see everywhere. You know, it’s, it’s part of a performance in your work. It’s part of, you know, how others see you. It’s, you know what we have on social media and all that. And what’s going on there with image and we have branding, we have all sorts of things, but the most important that affects everything is your self-image. How do you see yourself? And as I mentioned in the introduction, I think that your quick answer, if I say, how do you see yourself?

(01:46):

I think your quick answer may be different than how you treat yourself or how you maybe talk to yourself. And I mean, that just like the kinds of thoughts you have about yourself and whether you actually talk to yourself or not, it’s the thoughts you have that you’re dwelling on about yourself, maybe about your past, that sort of thing. And so that’s what I want to dig into. So right now just capture, what do you think about yourself? I mean, how do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as someone who is dependable as someone who shows up with someone who’s follows through on commitments and when a man or woman of integrity, someone who has their word follows through on their word, someone who’s on time or someone who’s always late. Do you see yourself as someone who never meets their commitments or just always hitting snooze?

(02:34):

And you know, I’m a night owl and I’m, can’t be a morning person. And I just always fail to get up and I want to do all this, but I just can’t seem to get started and I can’t get anything going. And I’d try all these things and I keep failing and, oh my past this, my past that, and I don’t know what the future’s gonna be like, how do you see yourself? I mean, what comes to mind? Is it generally positive or is it generally negative? And if you think about the kind of thoughts that you just allow, and we can’t control all the thoughts that come in, but we can control what we dwell on. We can control the thoughts that stay. We absolutely have that, you know, we need to have a renewed mind. That’s what Paul says and God’s word. We need to have a renewed mind.

(03:16):

We need to have our thoughts, sit on things above what God thinks. So now if you’ve got a picture of what you think of yourself now, think of a time when you maybe didn’t do something the way you wanted to do it. What did you say to yourself? I mean, what were you thinking? Were you thinking, wow, I did it again. Look at that. I failed again. I just can’t get anything off the ground or I just can’t follow through on this thing. I mean, are you kind of beating yourself up and do you dwell on it or do you, does it make you think about other times when you made the mistake or when you didn’t follow through or whatever that particular thing may be, or maybe you got into it with a coworker or a friend or a spouse and you just it’s like, well, here we go again with whatever it is.

(04:03):

Or maybe you have some emotional trigger or something, whatever it is. I mean, what, where do you go with that? Do you dwell on it? Do you, is it a negative space that you go to, or do you just kind of say shut it off and say, you know what, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna go there one way that you can and really test what your saying to yourself and thinking of yourself is if you had the same situation that you’re criticizing yourself of, or that you may be beating yourself up over, if a friend came to you, you or a family member or someone from work and said, look, this is going on. Or you, you saw them doing that thing or not doing that thing. What would you say to them? I mean, would you be, would you talk to them the way that you talk to yourself where you’re criticizing and reminding them of everything that they, every other time they ever did it and getting, beating them up on it and all that?

(04:53):

Or would you maybe be a little more couraging? You know, I mean, think about that. How do you treat others? How do you treat yourself? And so why not treat yourself that way? Because really, if you think about it, what do you think is going to lead to a better result? I mean, if you, you see yourself positively as someone who does is that way or not that way, and you know, in the positive, the way you want to be, or someone who you’re just have a negative opinion, you’re just negative on yourself all the time. I mean, who is, which one is more likely to achieve what God has for them, which one? And which one we can even get into that. What does God think of you? How does he see you? He’s not surprised by him. So I want to challenge you this week to really capture what it is.

(05:42):

Yes. Because this is something that I had a disconnect between what I, what I believed I thought about myself or what I was telling, you know, what, the way I kind of would have expressed it to you or to someone else. But then actually, if I looked at what I was saying to myself about how I was going about things, and I have this such a high level of kind of expectation, and if it doesn’t get something perfect, you know, then I just don’t do it, or I don’t start it. Or, you know, if it’s not, and, and that’s not that’s not a endearing, that’s not a good thing because they ended up doing very, you ended up doing very little because you have these high expectations. So that’s something that I saw in myself where it’s like, I need to get rid of that.

(06:27):

I need to get rid of, they need to deal with that. Because when I did make a mistake, what I would do is I would just beat myself up. So for example, I started a new morning routine and I was getting up at five 30 or 6:00 AM every day for a few weeks. And then finally, one day I overslept, I woke up at like six 20 something and I went downstairs. I started beating myself up over man. I was doing so good and this and that. And then I just kinda caught myself and I would have went into a, you know, I don’t know, 10 minutes or something, or maybe soaked on it all day. Like, I can’t believe I did to get like how stupid, you know? So I just said, you know, I caught myself, I actually recognize it. And I said, I’m just not going to do that.

(07:09):

I’m just going to move on. I’m going to get back into it and do my new routine. And that was it. And you know what, instead of kicking the bricks over and then starting over, I actually built on top of the bricks that were already there. That’s what we need to do with our foundation. So if we keep beating ourselves up over mistakes, well, then that we’re not gonna have a good image of ourself. We’re not going to have a good opinion of ourself. I mean, if you think of it, are you a leader you would want to follow? You know, I had a tough time answering that before, you know, where it’s like, man, I just, no, no, I would not. I mean, yeah, I kind of out here, it looks pretty good from but I kinda know what I think of myself now that I’ve started thinking about it, you know, and I’ve started and I’ve dealt with all this stuff cause they had to go.

(07:56):

Cause I realized how much it was holding me back and limiting me this, this is a mindset thing because what are you saying? What stories are you telling yourself? You know, are you always reminding yourself of failures or are you, are you pushing those to the side and reminding yourself of just moving forward, you know, and sticking with your routines and sticking with what you’re doing and maybe it’s time to get some routines that may be something that you need some help with, but what do you think of yourself? So just take some time this week and really pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself. Like what, what stories are you drilling on? What thoughts are you letting stay in your mind? And if they serve you, if they are uplifting, if they bring you peace and joy and they help set you up for the next thing or what you’re doing and help you be present, then, then by all means, keep them that’s what you want.

(08:46):

Is there a God honoring and rights that keep them, but if they are not helping you, if they’re dragging you down, if they’re making you upset, if it’s you’re dreading something, if you’re just, if it’s leading to negative, you go, we call it self-talk. But negative just opinion of yourself, whether you’re speaking it or just thinking it, does it serve you and help you get to where you want to go. If it does you keep it, if not, you get rid of it, get it, get it out of here. So I think, you know, if you can take some time, especially this week and just really take note, observe, pay attention. What are you saying to yourself? I mean, what stories are you telling? What are you drawing on? What are you allowing in your mind? And I think that as you start to siphon off these negative things and start to bring in and double down, the more positive thinking about yourself, you’re going to show up differently.

(09:40):

You’re going to be a better version of yourself and you can get your cup full and so that you can be pouring into others. And so you want to be the best version of yourself every single day. So, all right, I want to invite you before you go to send a text message to 3, 3, 7, 7, 7, and send the words, faith at work. I’m going to send you a free 21 day devotional. That’s going to help you jumpstart this introspective life, help you get to that next stage. And we’ll get you on the email list as well. So, all right, that’ll do it for this week. Have a great week and we’ll see in the next episode, God bless.

(10:15): Outro

If you enjoyed this podcast, be sure to subscribe and you can help spread the word by giving us a five star review and sharing it with your friends. Visit Ryan S howard.com to learn more about how you can advance God’s kingdom every day.

 

Time For Action, Just Start

Have you ever had a deadline sneak up on you? Ever put something off only to find that time keeps passing by? All the sudden weeks have passed with little progress? Fortunately, there is a simple principle that can help you avoid these situations.

Somewhere along the way in trying to be more productive, I learned about the power of starting. Just starting. It seems so simple, but I have found that whether I’m working on a presentation, organizing a messy room, or launching a project – the same principle applies. Just start and progress will take over.

Very often when we have something important we need to do, a subconscious resistance can keep us from even beginning. For some reason there seems to be a barrier. We may not even be aware of it. We just keep thinking that we will work on it later.

There are many reasons we can delay starting on something. Some can be valid, but more often it is just resistance in our mind. It could be that the task seems overwhelming or that we don’t know where to begin. It could be because we can’t see what direction to go or that we are waiting for a big chunk of time to suddenly appear.

Whatever the reason is, we can quickly overcome the resistance with this simple principle.

Just starting will get the ball rolling. After the ball is in motion, it is much easier to keep it moving. We don’t have to know exactly how we are going to finish – we just need to get started. You can’t redirect a ship that is still sitting at the dock. You have to get the ship out to sea and in motion.

God will always come through to direct us, but we need to take action. We can’t keep sitting at the dock. We need to get out to sea so God can help us navigate. We can trust Him to course correct if needed.

When we have already started on something and return to work on it again, the subconscious resistance is removed. Just get started and the direction will unfold as you move forward. But we have to start. Very often when I finally convince myself to start, I am able to advance what I’m working on to more than half done. When I return to work on it, I feel less resistance because I already have something to work with.

God can do amazing things through us when we take action and stay close to Him. He can put pieces together, get the right people in place, remove challenging roadblocks, and guide us more than we could ever ask. We don’t have to understand everything; we just need to trust that He will drive as we take the ship out to sea.

So what have you been putting off? What has been nagging you? Whatever it is, just start and trust God to direct you. Ask Him to help you and watch what He can do.

Take Ownership or Fool Yourself

Have you ever had a project or a goal that just didn’t seem to move forward? It could be because you haven’t given it attention, or it seems too difficult. Whether at work or in our personal life, we all have these moments.

The first time I felt this way was on my first engineering internship. During my mid-summer review, my manager at the time told me that I needed to take ownership of my biggest project. At first, I was insulted by the feedback. How could he say I wasn’t owning the project?

The more I thought about it, the more I could see that he was right. Unconsciously, it didn’t matter to me whether the project succeeded or failed. I felt it was too complicated for an intern and I couldn’t see an obvious solution – so I just took a casual approach to it. After he told me that I needed to take ownership, I could see that it was exactly what I had avoided.

If I didn’t “own” the project and it failed, my mind could believe that failure was outside of my control. What a sneaky trick. The truth was that if I didn’t OWN it, the project would never have a chance to be successful. When I got more serious about ownership, creativity and passion flowed around the project and I was able to find a solution in time.

I have applied this principle of ownership again and again. We can never be reminded too often about taking ownership. Former Navy Seal Commander, Jocko Willink, is a popular speaker on the topic of ownership. In his book, Extreme Ownership, he says, “Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.”

Whether you lead people, projects or initiatives, you are a leader. If we don’t own what we need to, we will always have excuses that stand in the way of our creativity and success. We must take true responsibility for results if we want to see them. We can’t let excuses take the lead.

In the Bible, God prepared Queen Esther for a time when she would need to take a risk to accomplish what she needed to. She was uniquely positioned and God had prepared everything, but it was up to her to own what she had to do. Esther took the risk. She took ownership and God saved her nation.

God has a path planned for each of us. He has designed it. He is always guiding, shaping us, and preparing us. Remember, we must be faithful even in the little things if we want God to use us for the big things. Sometimes we understand every detail and other times it seems like we know nothing. We need to learn how to trust what God wants to do through what He brings to us.

So, what do you need to take ownership of? Results? A relationship? A tough project? A broken process? Whatever it is, make certain that you are not fooled into making the same mistake I did years ago. Take ownership.

Colossians 3:23 tells us to do everything with our whole heart and to do it for God and not for man. Big or small, what will you take ownership of today?

Focus On Process, Not Outcome

Most people have something about themselves they wish was different. We want to be more patient, more kind, more loving, less temperamental, less procrastinating, more productive, better time managers, and a long list of other ideals.

It is good to desire these changes, but it can be frustrating when we just can’t seem to reach our desired result. We often just try harder or look for a new technique to achieve these changes. But is that approach to change the right one?

I recently listened to a podcast that God used to reshape how I think about process. In the podcast, Graham Cooke said that “God loves to be with us in all the small actions of building us up. It’s the process that makes us rich, not the outcome.” I hadn’t realized how much I just thought about waiting for the outcome, rather than the process to get there.

This concept made me take a step back and see how much we need to value the process God desires to use. All the little things that come up can be used by God to shape who we are. They can be used to make us more like Him and into what He wants us to be.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are the fruit of the Spirit. They are the FRUIT of the Spirit. Not the ROOT of the Spirit. They are the result, not the origin. What we need to do is focus on our relationship with God and trust Him to make the changes. These changes are made from the inside out, not the outside in.

If we really want our lives to produce fruit for God, the key is to carve out the time with Him. It’s part of the process. Whether you read, worship, reflect, journal, or whatever else you want to do, God will use whatever is in front of you to take you deeper with Him. Whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re trying to accomplish – God will use it. We need to stop thinking only about the result and we need to let God use the process He designed uniquely for each of us.

God doesn’t just want us to get everything done asap. Rather than thinking about how we are so far behind on what we planned to do, we should focus on our need to spend time with God. If you’re behind on that Bible reading plan, just start again and let God meet you where you are. While we need to become familiar with God’s Word, often times, we can get more out of reflecting on just one verse than we can from speed-reading through five chapters.

To be clear, I’m not saying that we have the freedom to be lazy. The key is to have a deeper experience with God, not just consume information. Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit. He doesn’t expect fruit to just show up suddenly because we really want it to. Fruit comes through a process of spending time with God and letting Him shape us.

For a garden to flourish, it must be given regular attention. It needs to have water added and weeds removed. It’s the same with us in our walk with God. Focus on the process and enjoy the process. Let God use these things to facilitate growth with Him. Don’t just wait around for the outcome.

What process might God be using in your life today that He wants you to enjoy? Try taking a step back and realize that life is inside the process, not only in the future outcome.