Unfortunately, most people don't know that even in their darkest hours and worst failures, God is there, rooting for them and wanting to help them. Because they either forget this or never knew this, in the midst of a setback they feel like a failure and take another step back. Then another setback comes, and they take another step back. Before long they find themselves so far from where they want to be, they just give up. They can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, and they are overcome by the darkness.
Life is doing something with them instead of them doing something with life.
If you are saying to yourself, "I've stepped back so far I don't even remember where I started," just remember: It's not how you start something that counts, it's how you finish it. Even while you are feeling the sting of your setback, your comeback has already been prepared for you. You just have to begin to think about yourself and your situation in a different light.
You may be weary and don't know if you have the energy to begin again, but this may be the humble launching pad your life has been waiting for. It's too soon to give up because God hasn't given up on you. In fact, He never gives up on you. I haven't given up on you. You are the only one who can give up and abort your destiny!
There is always time for one more comeback.
How do I know this with absolute certainty? I have lived it and am continuing to live it. I have shared it with others who are living it successfully. In these chapters are the powerful truths and life-changing principles that have brought me through pain and desperation in my own life. They are what sustain me and help me to continue to move forward today.
Don't put this book down until you make a commitment to set aside a specific time and place to finish reading it. Whether it is five minutes a day or an hour a day—just do it! Read it again and again until you plant these ideas in the depths of your heart. Your comeback—and much more beyond it—are waiting for you!
Maybe you are in the pit of despair.
I want you to consider something. Maybe you have never thought of this, or maybe you think about this all the time. The reason you might be in despair is because you may be dissatisfied with your life. You might be surprised to know that God created you to be dissatisfied when things are not going well—and sometimes when things are going very well.
When you get off the yellow brick road and get lost or become entangled with those creepy, talking trees, it's the normal, human thing to despair and become frustrated. You know you are not where you are supposed to be, doing what you are supposed to be doing—or being who you really are.
This despair and frustration can also well up in you when everything is going fine. That is because you were created to grow and move and change yourself and everything around you for the better.
If you are like me, there are times you have no idea who you really are and what you are supposed to be doing. That is the inner cry for more! It is something God put in us so that we would reach beyond ourselves, look to Him for answers, and become better and greater. He made us, so He understands our purpose and knows all the inner workings of our hearts. He knows our every thought. Nothing gets past Him. He is the original and only Know-It-All!
He can hear you say, "Is there more to life than what I'm living?" and is pleased that you are experiencing divine dissatisfaction. You are shaking yourself out of complacency, out of your comfort zone, and out of any failure mentality. Don't ignore what you are feeling! That inner cry for more is simply "who you really are" making a demand on "who you have become." It is God calling you to grow up into who He created you to be and what He created you to accomplish in your life.
Momentum expresses your inner cry for more. It moves you forward to succeed and to be happy in life. The online MerriamWebster dictionary says that momentum means "strength or force gained by motion or through the development of events." We are talking about a rhythm, a pace, a stride that gains strength and force as we move forward and things happen in our lives.
Do you ever notice how much energy little kids have? Seriously, it is like they have had an IV of sugar injected into them in the middle of the night, so by the time they wake up they are raring to go! They are full of life and excited about what the new day will bring. They chase the ice cream truck, fly kites, climb trees, and splash in mud puddles. Their life is about momentum.
Kids know how to have a good time. Most of the time they are happy and run around without a care in the world. They don't stress because they know their needs will be met. On the other hand, adults can be all over the place. One minute we are up and going, and the next minute we are down and out; one minute we are happy about life, and the next minute we are discouraged. We get down and out and discouraged when setbacks cause a break in our stride, our pace, our momentum.
My goal is to help you get your momentum back if you've lost it and sustain it if you already are experiencing it. Your life isn't meant to be a series of disappointments, nor is it intended to be ordinary and stuck in a rut. However, stuff happens! You are not perfect, and thank God, He knows that. He has an extraordinary plan to bring you through the rough spots so you can keep your momentum.
Getting Your Bounce Back
Since your inner cry for more is expressed in momentum, what happens when you experience a setback? Momentum ceases or slows down. Sometimes it feels like the wind has been knocked out of you, and you slump over. So what can you do? You bounce back!
I read about this in Psalm 92:12 in the Bible. It says that when you trust God's plan for your life, you will not lose momentum completely. When the setback occurs and divine dissatisfaction rises up in you, you can continue to flourish like a palm tree and bear fruit even when you are old. The word "flourish" paints a picture of being in your prime, thriving, and having a bounce in your step.
A good ball has a lot of bounce. When I was growing up I used to play a lot of basketball, and one of the worst feelings was having a ball that was a little flat. It was harder to dribble, it was like passing dead weight, and it was horrible to shoot. A good ball with bounce makes the game of basketball easier and a lot more fun. The same is true in your life. When you have a lot of bounce and are flourishing, things go more smoothly and are a lot more fun. When you feel a little flat due to a setback, taking the next step feels like trying to shoot a dead basketball.
God compares us to palm trees because they bounce back. Palm trees are known for being strong and flexible. They are generally located on seacoasts, and they were designed to endure hurricanes. When 150-mile-an-hour winds blow, a palm bends. When the storm is over, it just bounces back up. God wrote that you are like a palm tree when He is your refuge. Trials or tribulations may bend you over for a while, but you always bounce back. Financial struggles may have come knocking on your door, but you bounce back. A life threatening illness may have hit your family, but you bounce back. A marriage on the verge of dissolving may be your reality, but you bounce back. Inside of you is a cry to bounce back every time the winds blow you down or you trip and fall. In His goodness and kindness, God designed you that way!
Large and in Charge
God created you to be large on the inside, and you are supposed to be in charge of the circumstances you encounter. In the very beginning, when He created the first man and woman, God gave them a mandate in Genesis 1:26,28: Human beings are to be productive, creative, and have dominion or rule over the Earth. That's why we have an inner cry for more inside of us. But how do we fulfill that inner cry? How do we become consistently productive and begin to rule over our circumstances?
When you buy a car, the dealer gives you an instruction manual; otherwise, you would not know all the features, capabilities, and limitations of the car. As our "manufacturer," and because He is good and kind, God has given us an instruction book for living on this planet. The Bible is His Word to us on how to live. He wrote it so we could know who He is, who we are, and what His plan for our lives and the world is. His Word is where we find the 4 P's: promises, principles, problems, and prosperity.
First of all, the Word gives us promises, and most are conditional. In general terms, if we give our lives to God, He is going to take good care of us. He promises us an abundant life of blessing and fulfillment, but we have to live by the Book! If we do things His way and honor Him in all we do, we will prosper in every area of our lives.
It's not enough to know the promises, however; we need to learn and apply His principles, overcome our problems, and thereby bring forth the prosperity He promises. We get from the promise to prosperity when we fight through the problems by using the principles in God's Word.
Psalm 1:1-3 elaborates on this very idea. God says He will bless a person who seeks the advice of those who know Him and serve Him. He will bless those who don't hang around with immoral people, and who don't sit and talk with critical, sarcastic gossips. Instead, their best friends are those who love Him and follow Him with pure hearts.
God is also going to bless those who read, study, and think about His Word day and night. As they live their lives according to His Word, these people are going to be like trees planted next to a river. They will always bear fruit in season and stay healthy year round. Everything they do will prosper. They will work with Him to have the abundant life Jesus died to give them. Do you see that all of this is driven by the simple inner cry for more He put in us?
David Heeded the Cry
You have probably heard the story of David and Goliath, where the shepherd boy David slung a stone, hit the giant Goliath right between the eyes, and brought him down. However, you might not have heard the story of one of David's worst setbacks, which can be found in the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 30. Coming from war with the Philistines, David and his men returned to their families at Ziklag. When they arrived, they were told that the Amalekites had attacked the city, burned it, and taken their wives and children.
As you can imagine, David and his men were devastated. The Bible actually says they cried until they were physically exhausted. For David, it got worse. Not only was his family gone, but everyone blamed him. The men traveling with him were so angry at him for their loss, they started talking about stoning him. Talk about a bad day!
No doubt David's heart was crying out for more—more favor, more wisdom, and more courage. He was greatly distressed, he was tormented in his mind, and he felt like life was crushing him. Through all this, however, he knew he had two alternatives: He could run to a refuge, or he could run to the Refuge. He could go out and get drunk, or he could go to God. David chose to run to God. He chose to strengthen himself in the Lord. He asked Him what to do, and God gave him the answer. He told David to attack the Amalekites and everything he had lost would be recovered.
As David and his men searched for the Amalekites, they came across an Egyptian who was dehydrated and starving. After they got some food and drink into his system, he proceeded to tell them he had been a servant to someone in the Amalekite army. He had gotten sick a few days before, so his master had left him to die. He knew all about the attack at Ziklag and led David and his men right to the Amalekite camp.
David heeded the inner cry for more and made the right decision: He turned to God instead of counterfeit and temporary sources of comfort and security. Everything he had ever experienced told him that the only way to come back from a setback, to bounce back and maintain momentum, was to trust God and follow His instructions.
David did what God told him to do, and he and his men recovered all their wives and children and even got the Amalekites' flocks and herds as well. Now that's a comeback!
First Response to a Setback
In the beginning of this book, I encouraged you to act upon your inner cry for more, to reach up from your darkness and take the hand of God. When you take His hand, everything changes because you are embracing all His promises and principles. The Bible refers to Jesus as the Living Word, and when you give your life to Him you essentially are saying, "From now on I'm living my life by the Word. I believe You know the way. I believe You are the truth. And now You are my life."
The personal relationship you have with Jesus is the first "more" your heart is crying out for, because that relationship will give you everything else you need or want—beyond your wildest dreams. The next "more" you get is a hunger for the truth found in the Bible. You even like God's commandments! The problems in your life will continue to challenge your momentum, but now you have a firm foundation to stand on, a foundation based on His wisdom and strength instead of your own.
The more you grow in your knowledge of God and His principles, the more you will be like the palm tree and bounce back. You will be like that tree planted by the river, pressing through adversity to be productive and creative and overcoming every circumstance and problem you encounter.
You are going to go from being a nervous wreck to a confident, loving, stable force to be reckoned with simply by heeding that inner cry for more and taking Jesus' hand. This is your first response to a setback!
Look up and hold on to the hand that will surely pull you out of your pit of despair and restore your momentum. Trust Him. Believe His promises. Face the fact that you are going to encounter problems. Learn His principles so you can overcome those problems. Then, one step at a time, you will move out of the pit and into the light.