Thursday, February 27, 2014

Holding Pattern

by Tim Howard

Once on an airplane flight from Los Angeles to New York I was reading a book when suddenly the pilot put on the brakes. I knew we were preparing to land but since we were still some distance from the destination, I wondered if something was wrong.  The plane felt as though it was turning because one wing began to dip lower than the other and very quickly I started to see landmarks I had seen before. I said to myself: I have seen that house before – that pasture before and those trees before. I saw them again, and again.  Then it dawned on me. We are in a holding pattern. We weren’t standing still, we were moving but we weren’t making any progress.

We are told in Numbers chapter 13 that the Israelites were in a holding pattern for forty years. They were constantly on the move but made no headway. They were going in circles – surviving but not thriving – nor moving toward the goal God had set for them.
God has a goal, a purpose, a plan and a destination for you. Paul understood this and committed himself to intentionally pursue the destiny God had ordained for him. He wasn’t intent on reaching his own potential but God’s potential designed specifically for him.

Here’s what Philippians 3 says: “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”

When you lose sight of the vision God has for you, you enter the ‘holding pattern’ syndrome. When you shift into neutral and begin to coast rather than stay in pursuit of your call – you enter the ‘holding pattern syndrome’. When you are satisfied with past accomplishments rather than intentionally move toward unreached goals, you enter the ‘holding pattern’ syndrome.

Paul refused to yield to this syndrome. He was in high gear. He said: “I am pressing on. I don’t have it all together but I want all Jesus has for me.”

He had great memories but unlike many, he wasn’t content to live in ‘The Good Old Days.’

Maybe you are in a holding pattern spiritually. You started on life’s journey and have made some progress, but somewhere along the way you slowed down or got stuck. You’re busy doing many things but making no headway.

Healthy people are not content with past accomplishments. They are aggressively pursuing God’s purpose for them. They seek to make more of a difference than ever before. They want more life and that life can be found in Jesus. John 10:10 makes this clear to those who seek the same thing.

Does that sound like you? Is that the group you are in or are you partnering with those in a holding pattern?

If you are stuck in a holding pattern, I encourage you to start breaking free and get moving again. It starts to happen when you say: “Jesus, I’m tired of this plateau – help me shake free from the past and move into the future.”

God has a lot more in store for you and your latter days can be better than your former days.

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