I grew up in a modest home. We weren’t poor, but our family did struggle financially. My parents did the best they could with what they had and I’m thankful but it was obvious we had less than most.
I was reminded of my lack on a daily basis at school. Most of my classmates lived in real houses and had pretty clothes. But I was always embarrassed by my hand-me-down clothes and self-inflicted haircuts.
I wanted more.
As I grew, I would dream of finding the man of my dreams and having all of the material possessions I wanted, but the harder I tried, the more disappointed I became. And before I knew it, that young, hopeful little girl turned into a settler.
I settled in jobs, relationships and dreams. I found myself accepting less than what I wanted in fear of losing what little I had attained.
I see it time and time again—women just like me desiring and dreaming big, only to accept second, or even third, best when they feel as if their high hopes will fall flat.
They settle in relationships, jobs, friends, even their own potential.
As Christians we understand the difference between good and evil. Our most frequent battle is not between good and bad–it’s between good and great.
Good is all around us. Great, we need to reach for.
Good takes little effort and has almost an immediate payoff. But if you are like most, regardless of how often you try to settle for good, the desire for great burns in your soul.
Why do we settle, then, when we long for more?
Is it a desperate attempt to gain what little we think we can? Do we lack the necessary patience to wait and hold out for the great? Or is it fortitude or skill we lack?
I spent many years of my life settling for less and living in disappointment. I decided that I wanted more of what God had for me, so I applied these 4 principles to stop settling for less than God’s best.
How to Stop Settling for Less Than God’s Best
1. Get your hopes up.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “If you don’t get your hopes up you will never be disappointed.”
While this may be true according to logic, it kills the dreamer in you. When you allow your hopes to get built up, you will be surprised at how much more creative you will become in your quest to achieve.
Will you get disappointed sometimes? Yes, but likely no more than you were before you got your hopes up.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
So think about it, if we can already imagine it, than it’s small potatoes for God. He can and will do so much more.
2. Stop using the word “just”.
“I just want a little house to call my own.” “If he would just hug me sometimes” or my favorite, “God, if you will just answer this one prayer.”
Do we think we’re being gracious and humble asking God in this way?
Let’s face it, all of our ‘justs’ are justifications for settling. If we truly want more than just a little house or a few hugs, or this one prayer answered, reach for more than just ‘just.’
3. Stop making excuses.
Settlers are classic excuse-makers. They will find every excuse to venture out into the unknown and reach for the great.
I know, I did it for a long time. I would have an excuse for everything; “I don’t have enough money”, “I don’t have enough support”, “I’ve tried already and failed”.
But none of these statements line up with the Word of God.
If God says He will supply all of your needs; money is not a valid excuse. If God says He will never leave you; than a lack of support is not a valid excuse. If God says that He will give you a hope and a future; than giving up should not be an excuse.
4. Don’t complain about what you don’t have.
You would think that those who settle are grateful for whatever they have. The opposite is actually true.
Deep down in their souls they want so much more out of life, but for one reason or another–fear of rejection, consistent disappointment, lack of relationship with God–they lack the motivation to go for it.
Instead of applying all that energy to complaining about what we don’t have, channel it toward your desires.
It doesn’t have to be a big step; it just has to be in the direction of your goals.
When we settle, we actually stop the hand of God from working in our lives.
Once we stop settling, we will move towards our desires instead running away from them.
You will reach for more instead of letting fear stop you. You will appreciate the waiting for more, instead of rushing to get what little you can.
The God of the impossible
When I reflect upon the young lady I once was, I find it hard to believe I settled so much for so little. There was so much more that God longed to do in me and through me. My prayer for you is that you will step out in faith and begin to put your trust in.
Our God is the God who longs to give you the desires of your heart. Our God is the God who can do exceedingly, abundantly, above what we could ask, hope or think (Ephesians 3:20). When you stop habitually settling, He will help you find the great.
I help women, couples, and families feel more connected – to each other, to their families, and most importantly, to God. PhD in Christian Counseling, a Bachelors Degree in Theology, Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor, a Certified Divorce Recovery Expert and a Certified Life Coach.