Here, at the end of January, I find myself sputtering, trying to gain traction on a new year. Things I had planned to accomplish this month have failed to take off. While there are some legitimate reasons,—sickness, grandchild care (which I totally enjoyed!), weather, fatigue—part of the January slowdown can simply be attributed to lack of vision and momentum. I’m in need of something to propel me forward, to give me a boost of interest and enthusiasm. Perhaps you feel the same.
One of the first steps in gaining momentum is determining deterrents to forward motion. Here are a few:
Procrastination – Even if you are organized and driven, many times procrastination wins. While it’s normal to put off things that are challenging and require more attention and brain power, moving forward requires giving priority to the hard things over what is more easily accomplished.
Fear – An element of fear is inherent in almost any new endeavor, or one that stretches your skills or knowledge. Fear wants to list all the potential pitfalls, but forward motion requires seeing beyond them.
Comparisons – You can’t move forward if you’re looking sideways, wasting vision and focus on what others are doing or have already done. Your path is unique and trying to pattern your life after someone else’s only leads to grounding you in uncertainty and indecision. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Past disappointments – Focusing on the past keeps you looking in the rearview mirror. You can’t move ahead when you’re chained to what you perceive as failures or injustices. Even if something that happened in the past was embarrassing, disheartening, unfair, or crippling, look for and utilize what you need to propel yourself onward and upward.
Propellers do many different things—lift, move beyond resistance, and create energy. While determining your own personal propellers may take some reflection, here are a few general areas to consider:
Gaining vision – My vision…she ain’t what she used to be. I pretty much can’t read anything that is too close to my face. Sometimes, by squinting and stretching my arm as far as possible, I can make out the words, but why waste the effort, and risk misinterpreting, when a pair of reading glasses immediately lends clarity? One way to propel yourself beyond what holds you back is to gain a vision of the potential that lies ahead. The familiar often blurs vision. Let go of pride, or anything else that blinds, and utilize what enhances your vision, both near and far. Perhaps you need the swirling prop of a helicopter to lift you above your current circumstances and allow you to clearly see the next phase of life.
Courage – Sometimes courage is in short supply. Your feet are firmly anchored on the bottom and pulling you under when a little splash of courage is all you need to propel you through deep waters to dry land. Just as a ship’s propeller churns through the water and moves the vessel forward, so courage precipitates action. Courage is willing to risk instead of settling for treading water.
Self-confidence – A propeller is composed of a central hub with radiating blades. As the blades turn, they create the force that moves the object to which they are attached. Self-confidence serves as the motivation to plan and implement your next steps. For some, self-confidence has been crushed by failures or a person who repeatedly stomped self-confidence. If you allow God to be the hub of the self-confidence propeller, you have a better chance of reducing the drag of the past and creating the necessary energy to move beyond it. Perhaps self-confidence should be renamed God-confidence, with dependence and trust in God as creator, sustainer, motivator, and director.
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated…God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 MSG)
Fear wants to list all the potential pitfalls, but forward motion requires seeing beyond them.