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NAVIGATING IN THE WILDERNESS: "THE GRIEVING PROCESS"




 

Today I want to pose the question,  “How do you grieve who you were and step into who you're becoming?


It’s one thing to be CALLED into the wilderness but to actually undergo a TRANSFORMATION PROCESS, is a totally different thing! This process requires everything we’ve previously talked about. We must first SURRENDER, then we must ANSWER THE CALL, but then we have to experience the PRUNING PROCESS. This requires us to be stripped of any HABITS that will be a hindrance to our new journey. This is the hardest part of the process because it requires us to part ways with the things that are familiar to us and a lot of the things that bring us COMFORT. It feels like a BREAK UP at times, or even worse A DEATH, because it is! This process calls for us to die to our FLESH so that we can learn how to do things GOD’S WAY. It’s difficult, it’s painful, and it causes us to experience GRIEF!! As we proceed through this process we literally have to GRIEVE WHO WE WERE in order to BECOME who GOD IS CALLING US TO BECOME. 


This makes me think about the quote, “YESTERDAYS PRICE IS NOT TODAY'S PRICE” and this is so fitting for this process! 


Anytime GOD CALLS you higher please know that there are greater DEMANDS attached to the PLATFORM, this requires a certain caliber of CHARACTER and DISCIPLINE! Our habits have to change because the CONSEQUENCES are heightened on every new level, and we have to be able to MAINTAIN THE BLESSING! GOD takes us into the wilderness to strip us of any habits and mindsets that will deter us from fulfilling the purpose. He prunes us and puts us through a refining process to mature us. GOD doesn’t want us to fumble the BLESSING so he does everything he can to EMPOWER AND EQUIP US, but we have to do our part. We can either EMBRACE it with open arms or we can fight the process and cause ourselves even more pain! It can be hard to let go, but here are a few things you should consider implementing as you go through the pruning season the WILDERNESS:


GUIDING SCRIPTURE: Romans 12:2 (NLT) says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let GOD transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know GOD’S will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”


STEP 1: SHIFT YOUR MINDSET

I know that it can be really hard to wrap your head around the thought of changing habits that you’ve had your entire life, but it’s necessary for your maturity in life and your spiritually maturity. Where GOD is taking you requires you to GROW UP, this means you must trade in your baby formula to start feeding on solid food.Your MINDSET is going to play a vital role in your TRANSFORMATION process. In order to shift your thought process and PERSPECTIVE you must diligently consume GOD’S WORD and get in his PRESENCE! This will help you to learn more about how GOD operates, his CHARACTER, what he thinks of you, and most importantly how much he LOVES YOU! Your appetite for JESUS CHRIST and RIGHTEOUSNESS can only grow if you have consistent exposure to the KINGDOM. 


Hebrews 4:12 (NLT) says, “For the word of GOD is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Before reading anything ask GOD to help you understand his word and show you how to apply it to your life! Then read the LIVING WORD, OUR DAILY BREAD, GOD’S WORD DAILY! 


APPLICATION:

  • Implement a daily routine that carves out a time for you to really dive into the word and spend some personal time with GOD. This might be difficult at first but it gets a lot easier when you prioritize building a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with GOD. There are so many different options for consuming the word. You can download the bible app to listen to the audio version, you can read the digital version, or you can use old faithful the physical bible. You can mix all of these different modes to find out which way works best for you. 

  • Use a devotional to help guide you through the word if you need a tool to help you understand the context of scriptures.

  • As you go through your reading for the day WRITE DOWN the scriptures that stood out to you the most. After you read the scriptures, take some time to meditate on his word, ask GOD to grant you revelation, and then WRITE DOWN what you gathered from the scripture. The word is a LIVING WORD, so you’ll want to make it REAL to your life. Then after you go through those scriptures pray about what you just read.

  • You can write your prayers, record them, or even say them in your head or out loud. 


GUARD your eye gates, ears gates, and your heart! Create an atmosphere that invites GOD into your space. Be very aware of the people you’re around, the things you’re listening to and watching because they play a role in shaping your perspective. Luke 11:28 (NLT) says, “But even more blessed are those who hear the word GOD and put it into practice.”


  • Listening to worship music and watch sermons from credible pastors and bishops. Preferably the pastor or bishop of your church house.

  • Go to the house of the LORD! Mid week service, Sunday Service, Sunday School.

  • Put yourself in the atmosphere of GOD and surround yourself with people who are like minded. Go to church, bible study, join a small group, or even start your own support group. 


BE PROACTIVE (CREATE A TOOL):

You won’t always have explanations, full instructions, and things won’t always be fair, but if you’re going to make it through this grieving process you have to replace that old mindset with KINGDOM PRINCIPLES so that you can train yourself to make different decisions. It would be helpful to create a tool that allows you to easily access scriptures that speak to the specific emotions you’re feeling. Write down the feelings you’re having such as anger, pain, frustration, happiness. Then lookup scriptures that speak to these emotions. WRITE THEM DOWN on note cards, a board, on paper, or even type them out. Use whatever method that works best for you. When you have weak moments or just need a word you can pull this tool out to remind you of his word. 


GUIDING SCRIPTURE: Mark 8:34-35 (NLT) says, “If any of you want to be my followers you must turn from your selfish ways, if you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the GOOD NEWS, you will save it.” 

 

STEP 2: MAKE A DECISION

Exposure to GOD’S WORD will challenge some of your beliefs and thought processes, but  you have to MAKE A DECISION so that you will know how to move. Ask yourself, “Am I going to follow JESUS CHRIST FULLY or am I going to be lukewarm for JESUS?” If you want to navigate the wilderness a little smoother, you must make a definitive decision because your YES is the barrier between being led by your FLESH or being led by the HOLY SPIRIT? When you allow yourself to be led by your flesh you’re opening yourself up to be highly influenced by the world, but when you’re led by the HOLY SPIRIT you allow GOD’S WORD to set the standard for your journey. You have a choice!


APPLICATION:

Once you make the decision to follow JESUS CHRIST you quickly learn that anything that hinders you from exuding the FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT must go! (PLEASE READ: GALATIANS 5:16-26 NLT). The more that you dive into HIS WORD and spend time with him the more convicted you’ll feel about making some changes. This happens because you’re being exposed to TRUTH. This process isn’t meant to put you to shame, it’s meant to encourage you to change your behaviors so that you can THRIVE! The more that you get connected to GOD the more your TASTE will begin to change. Moving forward, how do you apply this new truth and embrace the pruning season?


SET THE TONE: This will give you a good baseline to start from. It starts with you examining yourself so that you can use your self-awareness to set the tone and establish boundaries for this evolution process. Ask yourself the following questions and pray for clarity on these questions. 

  • In this season what is GOD challenging me to do?

  • What’s required of me to fulfill this task in this season? 

  • What character traits serve this season I’m in and what habits need to go?

  • What type of support do I need in this season?


SET THE STANDARD AND BOUNDARIES:

Once you identify the basics you must set a standard for how you will OPERATE. Define what can and can’t be a part of your journey. What needs to be cut off and what you need in order to fulfill GOD’S WILL. Use everything you know about yourself to create your boundaries. I want you to think about the worst case scenarios and put structures in place to help you stay faithful. Put these boundaries into practice daily. Honor GOD and respect yourself by being consistent in establishing these boundaries.  


  • Identify what habits you’re working to change? What are your GOALS?

  • Only you know what GOD has been saying to you, so what has he been prompting you to change? What do you think about his request? What's the biggest part of the struggle with releasing it?


TAKE INVENTORY: Once you establish your baseline, take some time to examine the FRUIT of your LIFE. You’ll have to EXAMINE every part of your life (WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, AND HOW). This will allow you to identify what needs to be addressed and what possibly needs to shift. WRITE  DOWN YOUR FINDINGS!


WHO: Create a list of your inner circle, friends, and your associates. WHO is in your life? How do you serve each other? Go through each person to examine your interactions with that person. How do you feel when these people enter and leave your presence?      

WHAT: Create an itemized list of the things that you do on a daily basis. Literally go hour for hour and minute for minute. What do you do when you first wake up and the things you do before you go to bed? What purpose does these things serve? This will help you identify where your time is going. It also helps you to change the habits that need to go in order for you to complete the mission GOD has called you to. 

WHEN: Create a list of moments when you felt truly inspired and creative. What were you doing? What was your mindset focused on at the time? Then create a list of moments when you felt depleted and out of place.  What were you doing? What was your mindset focused on at the time? Be very thorough in your details so that you can learn how to identify how you’re feeling in any given moment. 

WHERE: Examine the places you go to often to see who and what is getting your presence. 

WHY: Examine why you do the things you do, what satisfaction do you get from it? How do you feel while you’re doing them, and after you do them? 

HOW: In order to make changes you have to understand your personality and lean into what naturally flows to you to get started and enhance your chances of making a true long lasting change. Understanding your personality will be vital in this process. Are you a person that needs to gradually come off of something or are you a person that needs to make a change COLD TURKEY in order to make a shift. This will help you with creating your own unique structure for making the change. You can still have FUN, but now you have to OPERATE with INTENTIONALITY because you REPRESENT THE KINGDOM!


CREATE AN ACTION PLAN: If you don’t replace the habits you’re working to change with something more productive and spiritually sound, you’re going to find yourself with idle time that will cause you to fall right back into the very habits you’re trying to break. So after you examine yourself to set the tone and the standard, and take inventory of where you are right now, you must implement an action plan that outlines how you will activate what you’ve learned and how you’ll operate moving forward. Every week set up a time to sit down and map out your and prioritize what’s important! Use the standards that were set as a filter to make decisions on where you will go, how you will move, and what you will do.


GUIDING SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT) says, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up I put away childish things.”


Parting ways with the thing that you used to do and who you used to be is the hardest part because it’s like death. It hurts but dying to your flesh and being born again allows you to truly be led by the HOLY SPIRIT. There’s a certain level of peace and grace that comes with doing things GOD’S WAY. It definitely takes faith to break a habit but as you consistently work through the process you have to fix your eyes on the bigger picture.  Mark 8:34-35 (NLT) says, “If any of you want to be my followers you must turn from your selfish ways, if you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the GOOD NEWS, you will save it.” There’s no way around the pain of GRIEVING, but the beautiful thing about this journey is the art of BECOMING! When we let our lives go for CHRIST we get to experience everlasting life and experience heaven on earth. The reason you’re experiencing so much pain is because you’re trying to HOLD ON to something that’s killing you and dimming your light. There’s nothing better than being used by GOD and seeing his hand on your life. The closer you get to GOD the more you’ll be able to see him in every little detail. GOD might be asking you to cut off old connections, to stop cursing, partying, drinking, etc but it’s for a reason. The more you’re prompted to change the more temptation grows because the enemy doesn’t want you to live righteously because he wants to have a foothold in your mind to hold you captive! When GOD asks you to break a habit it’s literally for your protection and your future. These things might seem remotely impossible but please know that with time anything is possible! I don’t want you to take on the mindset that you’re depriving yourself. Instead shift your mindset to a solution mindset. You’ll still get to have fun and do different things, you’re just being INTENTIONAL about “HOW” YOU DO THEM! Your journey is no longer fueled by what you want to do, instead it’s fueled by the desire to  HONOR GOD in all that you do! 


REASONS TO STAY THE COURSE

  • Losing the life you once had will give you the space to RECEIVE the life GOD created for you to live. Initially it can be hard but this process requires you to exercise your FAITH! 

  • There’s an ease that comes with following the pathway GOD laid out for you. The world doesn’t care about you but JESUS CHRIST LOVES YOU so much! (Mattew 11:28-30)

  • What GOD has for you is so much better than anything you can ever imagine! (Ephesian 3:12-21)

  • Give yourself grace, because GOD has an endless supply of GRACE.  You will mess up and you will have moments of weakness but this is where the boundaries have to be activated. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

  • You can still do things and have fun, but you just have to do things slightly differently. The more you grow in CHRIST your taste will shift so stay the course. 

  • Define your intentions and be really clear on the mission. Remind yourself of this WHY DAILY.


GUIDING SCRIPTURE: Mark 8:36 (NLT) says, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”


BE BOLD DON’T BE ASHAMED: The biggest key to making the shift is being BOLD! Don’t be ashamed of how these changes are going to make you look in front of others or how it will impact your relationships. Anything you lose on this journey GOD can and will RESTORE or REPLACE with something greater. Your main concern should be being OBEDIENT to whatever GOD is telling you to do. In this life it truly is just YOU AND GOD. Everyone else that you’re blessed to know is a BONUS! Having family, friends, and foes is truly a blessing but when you stand before GOD on judgment day none of them will be able to stand with you. You’ll have to STAND ALONE and give an ACCOUNT of everything you’ve done on this earth. We all have a mission and responsibility attached to the KINGDOM, but it’s unfortunate that many of us will never get to experience GOD’S GLORY because we refuse to be on fire for JESUS CHRIST. 


 

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