Nothing feels as good as accomplishment.

Whether it’s beating a personal milestone in the gym, performing at a certain level at work or winning your town’s most famous food challenge (2 time Pete and Elda’s Whole Pie Eater Champ, right here), few feelings match up to that of accomplishing a goal.

The funny thing is that the goal can actually change the way we look at the process.

Doing without certain luxury items can seem fun when giving them up helps you hit a monthly savings goal. The hours and frustrations that go into recording an album or making a movie become fond memories when the project is complete. Pain and struggle does not deter us when we like the path we’re on.

The problem comes when we feel like we are not in control of the journey.

Most people like to grow, but only when they control how and when. If I am pushing myself, that’s fine. If someone else is pushing me, that doesn’t fly.

The beautiful truth we need to face is that we have a God who loves to push us.

Just as a coach pushes an athlete to get the best possible performance, so God loves to push us. He’s not a mean drill sergeant asking the impossible, but a loving Father guiding us toward more.

The Bible shows us that God is loving, and part of that means He is not content with our brokenness. In His grace, He loves us and welcomes us despite our shortcomings, but He is not happy to allow them to remain in us.

Sometimes, we agree with God. We have a good sense of our own issues and work with Him to remove them. I’m more than happy to help God remove the problems I’m aware of. This is growth I approve.

Sometimes, we don’t agree with God. We don’t think that one thought pattern is an issue and we fight against His desire to remove it. We loathe the idea of giving up control, surrendering our selfishness, admitting our greed, fulling trusting God despite our anxiety and worry or being pushed beyond the good we are already doing. This is the growth I don’t approve of.

I can’t help but consider Abraham. He loved the way he was growing with God when Isaac was born, when the family was doing well and when it seemed like all the promises of God were finally coming to pass.

Then he got a crazy request.

He needed to be willing to lay it all down.

There’s no way Abraham enjoyed that process with God. Even though the Scriptures never show us the internal struggle, we know one had to exist in Abraham. There had to be questions, concerns and flat-out doubts. There is no doubt in my mind that, at first, Abraham absolutely did not approve of this request.

And yet, Abraham obeyed. He followed what God laid out in front of Him, even when He didn’t like it.

And he left not just with his son, but with a faith that trusted God’s resurrection power. Hebrews 11:17-19 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”

By going through a circumstance he didn’t like, Abraham found a faith he never thought possible.

God may be doing things in your life you don’t approve of. Choose to trust that He knows best. The goal God has set for you is to be like Jesus. The growth we don’t approve of brings us to the greatest goal of all.

Let God have His way in you. Just like with any other goal, letting Him lead will make the journey far more enjoyable.

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