Self-sabotage takes on many forms in our lives. It is often drenched in chronic procrastination, extreme excuse-making, a flurry of unfruitful activity and a host of other behaviors that can turn dreams into dust.
Everyone faces self-sabotage at points in their lives and finds themselves off-course. To overcome it, however, requires acknowledging the problem, interrupting those self-defeating behaviors and thoughts; and determining to move forward at all costs.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 AMPC describes it this way: “He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favorable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”
This passage presents a difficult truth when a person is off-course. We are pressed to ask the question: Am I observing the wind? Am I regarding clouds?
In other words, we are being challenged to consider our thought lives – what we are meditating on, establishing as beliefs and allowing to guide our decisions. Are those thoughts productive or are they leading to self-sabotaging behavior?
For some of us, those thoughts are not directly negative at first glance. Yet, over time, become lies that can stagnate or even destroy our destiny.
The Five Lies
Here are five lies that often lead us off-course:
- It was not the Lord’s timing. This statement can be used to justify quitting when we start projects but never finish. A big clue that is a lie could be when you look around the cluttered closet and see multiple unfinished projects, not just one.
- I did not have enough time to complete that project. Psychologists say self-sabotage has nothing to do with time management. Rather, it is rooted in a combination of learned behaviors and bad habits. Most people who are off-course are dealing with chronic patterns not a one-time occurrence. All the calendar start dates and accountability partners in the world will not break this without breaking the cycle.
- This project is under such spiritual attack. Really Theresa? I actually said this to myself one day. I followed up with this question: “Exactly who is attacking every single one of your projects – not just that one on top of the box in the corner?” Sometimes, we must be willing to recognize that the enemy is inward not outward.
- The lack of motivation indicates that God does not want this done right now. For some reason, it is easy look at our own motivation as a pre-requisite for completing something. Whether it is a sewing project or completing an advanced degree. The truth is: Feelings lie to us. Maturity challenges us to not respond to life based on our emotional state or energy level. Great deception rests here.
- I am waiting for more confirmation in prayer. Often, people do not need more time in prayer to complete “what God has already said do.” They need to put a hand to plow. It is always okay to obey the Lord with the intention to finish or going as far as you can toward completion as possible.
Getting Back On Course
Philippians 3:13-14 NIV says, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul reminds us that we are on a perpetual journey of learning and growing. No one has arrived. As such, course correction is inevitable. We are also reminded that the key tool in our arsenal is our “press” toward the goal. Inward change comes with sensible, inward choices and decisions — not just spiritual postures.
When off course, face the situation head-on. Accept it for what it is: An opportunity to overcome and finish.
To do this, take all defeating thoughts captive (2 Cor 10:5), force discipline over those areas of weakness (1 Cor 9:27), live in truth (2 Tim 2:15), and decide not to default into excuse-making (John 4:34). Practice and consistency in these areas will bear the fruit of completion and harvest reaping in our lives.