Recently I have spoken with a number of female leaders who are all lamenting the same thing: feeling perpetually overwhelmed. Whether this describes their personal life, professional life or both, they express both fear and resignation that the realm of overwhelm has become their permanent address. As a result, they find they lack the clarity and often the capability to pursue and fulfill their God-given purposes.
Yet the realm of overwhelm is not a new concept in our human history. The Bible introduces us to Joshua, an individual who faced daunting challenges throughout his life. By the time Joshua was chosen to succeed Moses and lead the Israelites through the final phase of their journey to Canaan, he had already demonstrated a determined refusal to settle for the defeating realm of overwhelm.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 Amplified Bible (AMP)
“The Lord your God is with you,” was not a foreign concept to Joshua. Nearly 40 years earlier, he had bravely expressed the same conviction during a time of violent opposition (Numbers 13 – 14). Like the majority of spies sent to assess the promised region of Canaan, Joshua would have literally died if he had chosen to settle for the defeating realm of overwhelm. Having observed hostile giants in and around Canaan, Joshua could have easily believed that victory was not possible or even worth fighting for. But Joshua did not choose to focus on the presence of obstacles; he chose to focus only on the presence of God.
Forty years later, as Joshua is promoted to the highest leadership position over the children of Israel, the words of God’s inaugural commands (found in Joshua 1:1-9) serve as a reminder of the deeply held belief that had distinguished and shaped Joshua’s outlook. Joshua had always known that no giant, no obstacle, no weapon, no enemy and certainly no negativity could defeat him as long as he knew that God was with Him. This core conviction had been the key to Joshua’s strength, courage and fearlessness and would now enable him to fulfill his God-given destiny and create a lasting leadership legacy.
As leaders, we know that there are certainly times when a change of circumstance is required for our success. But Joshua’s example demonstrates that it is often a change of beliefs that stands between our defeats and victories. When we find ourselves bombarded by distractions, obstacles and competing priorities, we need to have established a Joshua-like belief system which is founded on the assurance of God’s abiding presence…wherever we go, whatever we face.Beloved, we each are called to fulfill our God-given destiny and leadership legacy. Like Joshua, why not take some time – at the start of your days, meetings, encounters and assignments – to let the assurance of God’s presence fill you with the clarity and the capability that you need to avoid settling into the defeating realm of overwhelm?