Wilderness Survival Kit

Have you ever been in a place where you didn’t know how you would survive? The facts weren’t appealing. The odds were not looking good for you. The job you had, that wasn’t paying, was gone. That friend you could always count on had left. That faith you had worked for years to build seemed to be slowly fading away.

Does that sound like you? If not, you’re blessed, but be prepared. Wilderness always comes. For the Israelites, they had been slaves for years. They held on to hope that they could get out, but once freedom was there, they forgot how desperate they had been. I don’t know about you, but I’ve also been there a time or two. Being free of that thing that held you captive is always liberating, but it can sometimes cause us to release the desperate need for God we had when we were in the middle of captivity.

The Israelites were originally taken through the wilderness, not as a shortcut to the prosperity, but as a way less likely to come in contact with prominent adversaries. I find that funny though, God has a way of getting us to see ourselves, and tries to make us our best self before we reap the full harvest of the blessings that going through the last season has to offer. The wilderness was a path to travel to the destination without the distraction of the potential of war against physical adversaries. The Israelites wandered however, due to the mental adversary they allowed to overtake them.

So here we are, you’ve been in a situation for days, months, years, and you’re praying, believing, fasting, worshipping, waiting patiently on God to bring the deliverance you desperately want to experience, knowing it will give you a praise like none other. You’ve even practiced and thought about how your shout will look when that day comes, when the news is delivered. The deliverance part is the easiest, because that’s all God. It’s what’s between the deliverance and the destiny that can trip you up.

The wilderness.

What’s in the wilderness? Nothing. Which is the point. There is nothing appealing in the wilderness, nothing to look at and admire. Nothing but you, your mind, and SOMETIMES God. I say sometimes not because God isn’t with you, but because in the wilderness your view can become distorted and you can’t see God, feel God, or even hear God. The wilderness consists of nothing but you, and your thoughts, and those little cracks that gives the enemy just enough wiggle room to sneak in. The wilderness is where you see those last minute flaws that need to be taken care of before you get to this next level of destiny. It’s always uncomfortable. More uncomfortable that the very season you were just delivered from.

How do you maintain sanity and sanctity in the wilderness?:

Prayer: Be in constant conversation with God. Whether you hear Him or not. Whether you feel Him or not. Don’t close the door to the avenue that God uses to get information to you. Be open, honest, and 100% real with the Lord Almighty. Because He’s just that. Almighty. He can handle your frustrations, your doubts, your cries, better than anybody else. Be strategic in it though. Don’t just babble and complain, pray in a way that let’s God, and Satan know, that you’re sticking it out. You may not feel like a winner, but you’re not giving up. You may not feel like you have anything to lose or gain, but you’re going to keep going. Ensure that during the time that you are the weakest, you don’t allow the enemy the opportunity to take what you’ve put in the work to receive. Stephen and Alex Kendrick have a book entitled “The Battle Plan for Prayer”. It’s a great book to help you become more strategic in your prayer life to fight off the enemy, and call Heaven forth on your behalf.

 

Understand the Battlefield: Now that you have a strategic plan in your prayer life, you have the understand where this plan will be most effective. The battlefield in which you are fighting this battle is not going to be in your home, on your job, at the school, or church. It will be in your mind. The doubt, confusion, anger, jealousy, all will take place in the secret dwellings of your own mind. Know what the Word says about you, and lean and depend on the written Word of God, and the whispers you’ve heard from God all along about the plan He has for you and the place He is taking you to. Joyce Meyer’s book “Battlefield of the Mind” provides insight on the mind and it’s importance in this battle.

Believe in Your Own Power: You’ve made it this far! You know and trust God, you believe you are His child, and you know God has given you authority to call things as though they were, and speak to your own mountains. Trust that the same power you used in faith and prayer before the deliverance has not left you before you reached the destination of destiny. You have more power than the enemy, you just have to be self-controlled and disciplined long enough to acknowledge the tricks of the enemy and defeat them before they have the opportunity to manifest against you. John Osteen’s book “Power Over the Enemy” goes over Jesus’s wilderness experience and how He dealt with it, the ability to acknowledge the tricks of the enemy, as well as living Victoriously! This is another great tool to help you during those wilderness moments!

 

You can make it through the wilderness! Don’t allow the enemy, or yourself to keep you there for years. You have a Destination of Destiny to get to.

Spiritual Wealth: Invest

Being a 24 year old who came from a single parent family, one of my biggest fears was, and still is, struggling financially. Don’t get me wrong, I understand every now and again funds may get tight, kids may need these expensive uniforms for the sports you don’t want to tell them they can’t participate in, or the new tires you knew you needed actually need to be bought, Christmas, a holiday that comes every year yet always seems to take the finances by surprise, is again upon us. I get all of these things. I’m talking about on a consistent, live pay check to pay check basis, struggle.

That being said, I am always looking into the best ways to invest and keep the income I make in order to not only uphold the standard of life I have come to enjoy, but to also prepare myself for the future. I save, pay down debt, and try to invest or find ways to obtain multiple streams of income without forfeiting a large sum up front. (I don’t want to be aggressive, just smart.)

But how do I, or you, invest in our own spiritual wealth. How does our spiritual well being line up with our need for financial stability?

Investment requires a little sacrifice, patience, and consistency. God requires the same things:

Sacrifice: Outside of getting up and getting ready early Sunday morning to spend your whole morning, and sometimes some of your afternoon in a worship service, what else are you willing to sacrifice for your relationship with God? Time is the greatest sacrifice there is. I remember when me and my boyfriend first started dating, (I didn’t understand then but since I know him now I understand better), he always equated the magnitude of his sacrifices and investments in our relationship based on the time he allotted me. While at the time I felt like I wanted more, it was already more than he had to give. But he did it, because he is invested in me, he’s invested in his feelings for me, he’s invested in the goals and purpose of this relationship. Spending time with God, reading His Word, praying more than the Lord’s Prayer can be a huge sacrifice for some of us. But the return on the investment makes it worth it.

We have more than time that may need to be sacrificed for our spiritual stability though. We’ve talked about how some friends just have to be let go, some jobs we may have to quit, some habits we may have to break. But think of the return on the investment you’re making.

Patience: From my research, get rich quick schemes never pan out for us regular folk. You don’t invest (or sacrifice) one day and then expect your account to have added a few commas the next. Investing requires patience. It takes work, and the ability to not be too anxious for the return you know you will get. Patience has been my biggest struggle, and God’s greatest lesson to me over the past year and a half. Patience requires you to make a CHOICE to continue doing something, even if you don’t see the return yet. Patience requires the strength brought on by faith. Are you willing to give the ten percent tithe to the church this Sunday and patiently wait for the blessing God promises that comes after being obedient? Are you willing to make a choice to read the Word daily even if you feel a little more tired than normal at first?

Consistency: In some areas of my life, consistency is great, in other areas, not so much. So far, I am pretty consistent with blogging. As far as finishing one of the four books in the making, not so much. When you look at millionaires, they are consistent. They invested consistently, even when the return wasn’t great, they didn’t stop learning, more importantly, they didn’t stop trying. In my relationship, we have been consistent. Does that mean we haven’t seen down falls and pits? Absolutely not. But we have consistently made the decision to keep going because we know our relationship has purpose, and we love each other. Investing in your spiritual health, wealth, and stability requires consistency. (Well, in what areas Felicia?)

Prayer: God wants to hear from you, not just every so often, but all the time. Just like you (most of you) don’t want to just talk to your spouse every so often, but all the time. God desires conversation with you. Be as consistent with your prayer life as you are with your texting and social media life.

Reading: In my post “Understanding Your Spiritual Ear” I talked about learning the voice of God through learning His character. His character is in His Word. I am an avid reader. Not just of the Bible, but of books in general. (I’m a nerd at heart). Reading not only excersises the brain, it also presents more knowledge and understanding. Read your Word, practice that first, but invest in your personal education. Read a book on a topic your passionate about or the ministry area you want to grow in.

Worship: Be consistent in your desire for and to worship. At the end of the day no you won’t always feel like lifting your hand, singing a song, hugging someone, or even getting out of your bed. But do it. Consistently commit to presenting these acts to God so He sees your commitment and belief in His goodness.

Faith: While there are so many areas you should be consistent in, the last one I want to talk about is the area of your faith. When you’re facing a new situation, practice being consistent in trusting God to fix it until the end. The act of practice affords you the opportunity to grow and build a new, higher, level of faith in God that will comfort you in the next storm.

Take the time today to being a habit of investing. Investing in your spirit is less frightening than making a decision to invest your finances. It is also much more rewarding.