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Day 5 – What Obstacles Are in Your Way?

Isaiah 57:14–15; John 16:33; Psalm 23

Recall the tethered dog metaphor from Day 1 and how it can represent our stationary spiritual journeys. Running and digging harder will not help the dog move forward, nor will overindulging in religious practices help us when we become stuck. What is needed is to step back, loosen the tension, identify what has us stuck, and allow God to remove the obstacle standing in the way.

We should not be surprised that we encounter ­obstacles on our spiritual journey. We are broken individuals living among broken people in a broken world. As we read about the spiritual journeys of the disciples, we will discover the obstacles and hiccups they faced. Also, we should not condemn ourselves when we are tripped up by obstacles. Shame and self-condemnation only increase and fortify our obstacles. Learning from our stumbles and taking time to allow God’s Spirit to lead us in overcoming them is the way forward.

Over the next few weeks we will identify and discuss three very common obstacles that halt our spiritual journeys. While there can be any number of obstacles in all sizes, these three have been the most prevalent in my twenty years of work in spiritual direction, pastoral care, and counseling. They are:

  • the refusal or inability to forgive;
  • our past wounds and how the enemy of our souls uses them to have us living out of lies; and
  • idolatry, religion, and habitual sin.

And, of course, we will learn together what helps us overcome these obstacles and move forward toward Christlikeness.

Closing Exercise

Ask God to show you over the next several weeks what obstacles are in your way. Do not jump into trying to overcome them right away since we will talk more about that process. Share with your group if God reveals anything to you, or share which of the obstacles most interests or concerns you.