2020 has been dubbed a year of breakthrough.
No matter what community, group, church, or faith you belong to … you’ve probably heard at least one person proclaiming this is a breakout year. Or a special year. Or a double portion year. Or any one of a number of other wonderful-sounding things.
Maybe you’ve even gotten yourself ready for this kind of anointing and outpouring. You’re waking up each day, expecting God to move. You’ve got an eye on your finances. Or relationships. Or whatever area of life you’re hoping for transformation.
You can taste it, feel it, smell it … and you know it’s just around the corner.
Here’s the problem, though, with all that “just around the corner” thinking.
It positions your breakthrough as something outside of you, rather than something God wants to do IN you.
In fact, I believe you could spend all of 2020 looking for breakthrough and never actually discover the place where it’s intended to show up: in your heart, mind and spirit.
Only a true transformation in these hidden areas of your life will empower you to obtain and sustain the physical breakthrough you are hoping for in any other area.
“Okay,” you’re saying, so far so good. “But the idea of breakthrough within me is so vague. What would such an internal breakthrough look like?“
From my experience receiving breakthrough in my own life—and helping many others receive it in their own—I’ve seen three distinct phases of breakthrough that progress from inside to outside. These three always come before the physical breakthrough manifests in the tangible circumstances of the situation.
(By the way, physical breakthrough can actually happen shockingly fast when you commit to these three internal breakthroughs! The process always speeds up when you take your focus off of circumstances and turn it on your own heart.)
#1 — A Breakthrough in Surrender
Most of us are seeking breakthrough from God in order to shift a situation we find to be painful, frustrating, or counter to what we believe our lives should look like. If we get right down to the root of it … we seek these breakthroughs in order to get relief from pain. And though God loves us and intends us to walk in total victory … removing our pain (in this instance) might not be high on his agenda.
Why is that?
How could a loving God leave us to suffer?
Well, in this case, the pain isn’t really His fault. It’s not based in reality. It is based in our mental and emotional response to the situation we are in. We are resistant to the situation. We want it to change. We are striving against it deep in our spirit. Therefore, we suffer emotionally and mentally … and by extension, sometimes physically as well.
But the situation likely isn’t a real problem. Our expectations of the situation are.
Life doesn’t need to look like we expected it to. This might come as a surprise, but it’s such a liberating truth. Your opinion of how your life should be might not match God’s vision for your highest good. And if you actually surrendered your will enough to scan the landscape for a moment, you might find that there are joy, riches and beauty to be found in your current situation that we couldn’t see before. Not to mention an incredible opportunity to get to know God better.
Once you are deeply receiving what He is already offering you, then you are in a position to deeply receive something different and (from a human perception) better.
So you want your breakthrough? Then you’ve got to transform your response to any current situation that you just don’t like. As Amy Carmichael said, “In acceptance lieth peace.”
#2 — A Breakthrough in Rest
I don’t know about you, but I am addicted to doing.
Whenever I think I need a breakthrough (usually for the reasons listed in Point #1), I will become a veritable Energizer Bunny of effort, trying to get myself out of the situation. This very rarely works out well. On my best days it leads to exhaustion and frustration. On the worst days, despair and burnout.
Once you have fully surrendered your expectations for your situation and come to deeply accept where you are, right now, without needing it to change any longer … you are in a position to experience the deepest, most peaceful rest of your life. The kind of rest that Psalm 23:1-2 (TPT) indicates when it says, “The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.”
In fact, if you learn how to rest in God’s luxurious love, you will probably no longer feel the need to do anything at all to change your situation.
This is not to say you’ll never take action again. But when you are resting deeply in God in the midst of your situation, you realize the only actions you need to take are the ones He prompts or nudges you to. And those usually aren’t as frenetic or stressful as the ones we take on ourselves.
Learning to rest deeply in the midst of uncertainty is one of the greatest breakthroughs you will ever experience in your life.
#3 — Breakthrough in Listening
Once you’ve come to full surrender and rest in God, you will then likely be entrusted with a specific action you must take to receive the breakthrough in your tangible environment and life. But in order to receive that course-defining action plan, you must become radically attuned to hearing God’s spirit and obeying what you hear. Immediately.
Here’s the trick about this step. Everyone wants to start with action. We all want to rush straight into the fray.
But unless you’ve come to a place of deep and abiding surrender—wherein you acknowledge that even if your circumstances never change, you will be deeply okay … And unless you’ve also come to a place of rest where you are no longer striving to see or make changes in your life … And unless you’ve then learned how to listen for very specific Holy Spirit direction … the actions you take will come to very little fruition.
Fear, doubt, procrastination, cycles of past disappointment, and bad decisions will continue to sabotage you. Every. Single. Time.
Sometimes as I’m working with private clients, they will feel a bit of anxiety about starting with concepts like surrender, rest, and listening. Aren’t we here to help bring their desires to fruition? At first, none of this feels like it will solve the problem.
I like to share with them what God said to me several years ago when I was caught in the incessant yearning for tangible breakthrough: “You don’t need any of these things to show up. You only need ME to show up.” Wow. Yes. In the ensuing years, I’ve seen this word prove true again and again.
I also like to point out that only actions taken from a place of surrender and rest and radical listening will actually solve the problem.
Over time, as they see the results, they become believers in this method, too.
When it does come time to take action, as you are surrendered and rested from soaking in God’s presence, you will hear exactly what your action is supposed to be. The still small voice of the Holy Spirit will not leave you hanging. He will tell you what to do.
The action He prompts you to take won’t be frenetic. Or frantic. Though, it might be urgent. And it will be the one action that unlocks everything … rather than one of a hundred exhausting actions that leave you just spinning your wheels.
You can design your own way forward, or listen efficiently for your next step. Your choice will change everything.
When you act on a prompting of the Holy Spirit that you got from a place of surrender and deep rest … you’ll watch as mountains move on their own and your tiny bit of action becomes the fulcrum of a lever to turn a much bigger situation, with very little sweat.
Ultimately, when you approach breakthrough from this inside-out paradigm, you’ll find that your tangible transformation is closer than you think.
This is why I’m known for repeating a sentiment a coach friend of mine shared with me years ago, “You are not waiting on God. He is waiting on you.”
What if God wants to give you your breakthrough more than you even want it … but He knows that your actual breakthrough begins in your heart, mind, and spirit rather than your circumstances?
You know what they say about people who do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result! (It’s a definition of insanity). So don’t be that same person, however well meaning. Don’t keep looking for breakthrough where it’s not going to show up (at least, not at first).
Turn your gaze inward — and you’ll find that your 2020 breakthrough is already possible, available, and here within you, waiting to unfold.
It’s breakthrough season. Are you ready for upgrade?
* * *
How are you feeling right now? Drop a comment below!
Reach me directly on my contact page