In October 1947 Chuck Yeager decided he wanted to do something that had never been done before. A few years before, he had been a World War II hero. Now he was a military test pilot. He was only 24, but he was determined to risk death to become the first person to break the sound barrier.
Other pilots had tried it, and died. Their planes weren’t able to withstand the enormous resistance of the high speeds and had simply disintegrated in midair. In other words, Yeager knew from the experiences of others that breaking the sound barrier was considered impossible.
Just before he was scheduled to make his attempt that year, he cracked two ribs in a horseback-riding accident. He was in extreme pain. People told him he shouldn’t go up. He wondered if his body would be capable of performing well enough under the stress.
But he got into the plane and tried it anyway. Soon, high over the California desert, he too was in danger of being killed. “At 700 miles an hour, the plane began to rattle and shake violently,” he said. But suddenly his aircraft broke into “a great calm.”
He’d done it. He had burst through the sound barrier. He’d accomplished an “impossible” feat. Shortly afterward he landed safely, unharmed.
That’s how it is when you’re about to get a breakthrough. Everything around you starts shaking and falling apart. Everything goes crazy. You might be in pain. You feel as if your whole world is falling to pieces. But that’s not an indication that you’re going to crash. It’s not as if God would drop something He had started. He will not let you crash and burn.
Breakout Comes Before Breakthrough
If you’re in a shaking situation, you are just on the other side of a great calm. The key to breaking through is to break out and go for it. You have to say: “I don’t care what history says. I don’t care what people say. I know God has given me a promise.”
If you do want to break barriers and establish new territory, and if you want your life to make a difference, you need to realize that times of shaking will happen. In fact, the worse the shaking, the more glorious the breakthroughs.
But you can’t start with the breakthrough. You need to start by breaking out in your own mind and in your own faith. Once you break out and pave the way to the breakthrough, other people can follow you.
You may be the one breakout person in your whole family. You may be the only one serving God. Your family may give you a terrible time if you ask them to come to church with you. Well, let them shake, rattle, and roll. All God needs is one breakout person in the family. If He can get—and keep—His breakout person, the breakthroughs will come. It’s a guarantee.
The prophet Micah said, “The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it” (Mic. 2:13, NKJV).
What does that mean, “Break out”? Break out of what?
Break out of self-imposed limitations. Break out of negative thinking. Break out of insecurities. Break out of fears. Break out of past failures. Break out of where you came from and the limitations that were put on you. Break out of depression and hopelessness. Break out of a self-defeating mentality that says, “Nothing’s ever going to change in my life.” If you break out, then God’s breakthrough can happen.
When God’s breakthrough happens it means that Satan’s line of defense has been shattered; therefore, the breakthrough has to do with the enemy. But the breakout also has to do with you.
Instead of saying, “I need a breakthrough,” you need to start saying, “I need a breakout.” You need to declare: “I’m not going to let these fears torment me. I’m not going to let failure dominate me. I’m not gong to let my mistakes and my past be lord over me.”
The fulfillment of your dreams will not happen overnight. But you don’t have to wait forever for a breakthrough. You can stir yourself to break out of whatever mind-set is holding you back.
Faith Versus Fear
Do you know what they say about fear? F.E.A.R. stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Fear comes in two categories: (1) Fear that I won’t get what I need; and (2) Fear that I won’t be able to hold on to what I have.
Anybody who ever beat the odds or made a difference did it in spite of their fear. They did it because they were desperate and felt like they didn’t have a choice. Sometimes they were inspired by somebody else’s example. They said: “If not me, then who? If not now, when?” They didn’t think much about it at all or else they might have changed their mind.
What are you waiting for—a feeling of courage? Forget it! It doesn’t exist. You’re only courageous when you do what’s right despite your fears!
See if you can figure out what you’re afraid of. If you can name it, you can conquer it. And understand this: Fear attracts Satan like faith attracts God.
The Bible is a David-and-Goliath book. It teaches you that with God on your side, you’re bigger than any problem. The question is whether or not you believe that enough to step out and allow God to use you. If you’re just believing God for things you can do for yourself, you’re limiting Him. Furthermore, if you think He’ll never ask you to do things you can’t do, think again. Jesus told one man to walk on water and another to come out of his grave—and they did.
I can tell you from my own experience that when you find yourself amid things that are beyond your ability, that’s when you know God is at work, demonstrating His great power. Miracles begin only when you take what you have and put it into His hands. The moment you make it available to Him, it will begin to grow.
“But I have so many weaknesses,” you say. The good news is, you can be strong in certain areas and struggling in others, yet God will still use you. Get rid of your life-limiting thoughts and start dreaming. When God defines you, what difference does anybody else’s opinion make?
Stop trying to be what you’re not, and discover what you are. Instead of comparing yourself to others, recognize what God has called you to be, accept the gifts He’s given you, and start building on them. Everything big starts with something small. All God needs is something to start with.
Decide to Accept God’s Challenge
Whatever season you are in, God wants you to learn to say: “I cannot do this in my own strength. I need to lean on Him.” You’ll never have all the answers, so you might as well leave the risk-free “safe zone.” Exchange living where you can figure out the next step and where you can handle whatever comes your way in favor of living in the faith zone.
Let God challenge you to step out on nothing. Even if you’re not particularly desperate at the moment, allow yourself to become willing to take a faith risk just because He is calling you.
If you’re in the safe zone, you don’t really have to pray and seek God for anything because you feel OK about what you have already. You don’t really have to be anointed because you can do everything without the anointing. Even though the security of the safe zone is what we try to achieve our entire lives, it’s not God’s will for His children. His will is that His children will always be dependent upon Him. Always.
If you want to be where God is, break out of the risk-free safe zone and start living in the faith zone. It’s risky, but the faith zone is where God lives.
The faith zone is where miracles happen. You’ll never see a “Red Sea” part as long as you stay back in the safe zone. You’ll never see manna come supernaturally from heaven. You’ll never see the miraculous things God wants to do in your life—the exceedingly, abundantly, above-all-you-can-ask-or-think things—as long as you have it “made in the shade.”
Turn Your Obstacles Into Stepping-Stones
Anytime believers step out of the safety of the old, comfortable way and start to trust God’s provision, they have to deal with a huge factor of the unknown. Look how Paul phrased it when he told the elders from the church at Ephesus where he was going next:
“Now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there” (Acts 20:22, emphasis added). “Not knowing,” he went anyway. He didn’t know whether he would be well-received or killed. All he knew was that he was in the will of God. He didn’t know anything beyond that. He was walking into the situation blind. That’s living by faith.
Open yourself to the Holy Spirit, and tell Him: “Lord I want to give You my fears. I turn my whole life over to You. I want to live in faith. I believe; help me in my unbelief. Fill me with courage, and furnish me with faith. I need it. I want to walk in Your will.”
It’s all part of the process of dream fulfillment. Every stage of the fulfillment of your dream depends on God. Even the so-called obstacles become important stepping-stones instead of barriers.
What are some things you might consider to be obstacles that, in God’s view, are merely stages in the process? Here are six possibilities:
1. Your God-ordained purpose may be threatened, even from its birth.
2. Your God-ordained dream may be contaminated by godless influences.
3. You may experience serious failures.
4. You may be rejected.
5. You may feel personally inadequate.
6. Your God-ordained dream may require an unusually lengthy preparation time.
You can see how any of these could feed discouragement and defeat instead of success. But can you see how they could also feed your faith?
If you get rejected, what’s the only way to make that negative event into something positive? The only way is to turn—in faith—to the One who never will reject you.
When you do that, you turn the sizable obstacle of rejection into something that is more like a sizable step up toward God. It becomes a sizable step toward the fulfillment of His will for your life.
Think of all of these big-name players in the Bible: Moses, Joseph, David, Paul. Think of how often they faced overwhelming obstacles--of their own making or not, it doesn’t matter. Review the Bible accounts about each of them, and hold up their stories against the list above.
Which ones were “survivors,” even from birth? Which ones had to prevail against ungodly influences, sometimes for years and years? How many were rejected, misunderstood, put down as a complete failure? How did they handle their long preparation times?
I expect that you can see each of the six so-called obstacles in each of their lives. Now that we know the end of each of their stories, we know who won. We know who succeeded in reaching the goal. We know what kinds of dreams and goals God had in mind for them all along while they were busy working through the details.
Looking at their lives from this perspective puts my life and yours into a whole new light. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2, NKJV). Like these saints of old, you too can do it.
Jentezen Franklin is senior pastor of Free Chapel church in Gainesville,
Ga., and the author of Believe That You Can (Charisma House), from which
this article is adapted.