Joel Osteen — Don't Settle For Good Enough
I want to talk to you today about not settling for good enough. It's easy to think, "My marriage is not what it should be, but at least we're still together. It's good enough". Or "I don't really like this job, but at least I'm employed. It's good enough. I would love to make A's in school, but I'm not that smart. These C's are good enough".
Too many people are living with things that are less than God's best. They've lost their passion. At one time, they had a big dream. They were excited about their future, but they hit some bumps along the way, didn't happen on their timetable. Now, they've gotten discouraged, thinking that it's never going to happen. They accept it as their lot in life.
But just because you haven't seen what God promised you come to pass doesn't mean that it's not going to happen. Don't make the mistake of settling for good enough. Good enough is not your destiny. You are a child of the most high God. You have seeds of greatness on the inside. You were created to excel, to live an abundant life, and you may be struggling in your health, your finances, with an addiction.
It's been that way a long time, now you're just coasting, thinking, "What's the use? It's always going to be this way". No, you've got to get your fire back. It's not over until God says it's over. You've got to start believing again, start dreaming again, start pursuing what God put in your heart.
Genesis 38, there's a story about a woman that was pregnant with twins. When she was giving birth, one of the babies arms came out. The midwife tied a small cord around it and was going to gently pull him, but before she could, he pulled his arm back and his brother broke through and came out first. One stretched and one settled.
Like this woman, on the inside of each one of us, there are two people. One says, "I'm going to become everything God's created me to be. I can do all things through christ. I'm surrounded by God's favor". The other says, "You'll never get out of debt, the economy's too bad. You'll never lose the weight, your metabolism is off. You'll never break that addiction, just learn to live with it". One wants to stretch, the other wants to settle.
Now, you get to choose which person you're going to be, and too many people make the choice to settle. They believe the lies that, "You've reached your limits. You never get any good breaks. Where you are is where you're always going to be". No, if you're going to see the fullness of what God has in store, you have to have the attitude, "I'm not going to let good enough be good enough. I know I was created for greatness. I was created to excel, to live a healthy life, to overcome obstacles, to fulfill my destiny. I am not going to settle, I'm going to stretch. I'm going to let go of what didn't work out and reach forward to the new things God has in store".
But some of you have lost your fire. At one time, you knew you would break that addiction, you knew you would beat that sickness, you knew you would get married, but you've gone through disappointments. Didn't happen the way you thought, now you've accepted the fact that it's probably not going to happen. You've gotten comfortable with good enough, but God is saying to you what he said to the people of Israel. You have dwelt long enough on this mountain. It's time to move forward.
God has new levels in front of you, new opportunities, new relationships, promotions, breakthroughs. But you've got to stir up what God put on the inside. The dreams, the promises that you pushed down, thought, "Oh, it's not going to happen, Joel, I'm too old. I don't have the connections, I don't know the right people". No, God has it all figured out. If you'll start believing again, start dreaming again, start pursuing what God put in your heart, God will make a way where you don't see a way. He'll connect you to the right people. He will open doors that no man can shut.
What God spoke over your life, what he promised you in the night, what he whispered in your spirit, those hidden dreams he will bring to pass. See, just because you gave up on a dream doesn't mean God gave up. Just because you decided you're not going to get well, never break the addiction, never get married, you might've changed your mind, but the good news is God didn't change his mind. He still has a victorious plan in front of you. Why don't you get in agreement with God?
I read a story about a young man that had a dream to play professional football. In high school, he was a star player, won all kinds of awards. He came from a very small town where everybody knew him. All the children looked up to him, wanted to be like him, a local hero. But most of the coaches thought he was too small to play in college. He was turned down by all the major universities. He ended up at a junior college working at a pizza restaurant, not even playing football.
One night, he was delivering a pizza, a 10-year-old boy answered the door, and when this boy saw the young man, his eyes got so big. The boy was star-struck. He couldn't believe the player he had watched so many times thrill the crowd, so quick, so fast was standing right in front of him. About that time, the boy's father walked up and the young man gave the father the pizza.
The little boy was very confused. He looked up at his father, he looked at the young man and said very innocently, "What are you doing delivering pizzas"? Those words from a 10-year-old boy lit a new fire on the inside. When he got off of work, he went to the gym and started training. That summer, he trained harder than he'd ever trained before. He gained 70 pounds, got bigger, stronger, quicker, faster.
In the fall, he tried out at a major university where he always wanted to play. He not only made the team, but he became their star player. Two years ago, he was drafted in the first round to play professional football.
Today, he is a star in the NFL, living out his dream. But here's what he said, "It would've never happened if that 10-year-old boy wouldn't have asked me, 'what are you doing selling pizzas?'"
My question today, have you settled somewhere way beneath what you know God has put in you? Have you given up on a dream, let go of a promise because it didn't happen the first time? You had a setback, somebody told you, "No, you're not talented enough, you're not big enough". I ask you respectfully, what are you doing there? You have so much in you. You are full of talent, ideas, creativity, potential. When God breathed his life into you, he put a part of himself in you. You have the DNA of almighty God. You were never created to be average, to barely get by, to always struggle, to just have to take the leftovers. You were created as the head and not the tail. You are equipped, empowered, fully-loaded, lacking nothing.
Don't you dare settle for second best. Don't get stuck in a rut thinking that you've reached your limits. Draw the line in the sand and say, "That's it, I've let good enough be good enough long enough. Today is a new day. May not have happened the first time, the fifth time, or the thirtieth time, but I'm not going to settle. I'm going to start stretching my faith, looking for opportunities, taking steps to improve. I'm going to become everything God's created me to be".
Listen, when you do the natural, God will show up and do the supernatural. When you do what you can, God will come and do what you cannot. Don't take the easy way out. Stand strong and fight the good fight of faith.
In the scripture, Abraham is listed as one of the heroes of faith. He's the one that God made one of the first covenants with. But what's interesting is God spoke to Abraham's father many years before and told him to go where he told Abraham. Says in Genesis 11 that Abraham's father left ur and headed out toward Canaan. He had his goal. He was going to the Promised Land, just like God told Abraham.
But it says he stopped along the way and settled in haran. Why did he stop? There were too many difficulties. It was hard traveling with all of his flocks and herds. He had his family, his possessions, wasn't comfortable. He finally decided, "I can't go any further. I know this isn't the promised land, but it's good enough. At least we can survive out here. At least we can make it".
How many times do we do the same thing? We start off right, we've got a big dream, we're going to fulfill our destiny. But along the way, we face opposition, adversity arises. Too many times, we say like Abraham's father, "What's the use? I'm never going to break this addiction. My marriage is never going to get better. I'll never accomplish my dreams, I'm just going to settle here. It's good enough".
No, I want to light a new fire in you today. You are not weak, defeated, lacking. You have been armed with strength for every battle. That obstacle is no match for you. You have the most powerful force in the universe breathing in your direction. Now, don't be a weakling, be a warrior. Your marriage is worth fighting for. Your health is worth fighting for. Your dreams, your children, they are worth fighting for.
You've got to dig your heels in and say, "I am in it to win it. I know God didn't bring me this far to leave me here. Now, I'm not going to settle half way, three-fourths of the way, or nine-tenths of the way, I'm going to make it all the way in to my promised land," and if you're going to be victorious, you have to have a made up mind. You got to be determined you're not going to give up when it gets difficult. You're not going to complain because it's taking a long time, not going to get discouraged because you went through a setback. You know everything God promised you is worth fighting for, so you are in it for the long haul.
Now, some of you today, you need to pull up your stakes. You've camped halfway, like Abraham's father. You've gotten comfortable and decided that your dreams are never going to come to pass. Your health is never going to improve. I'm asking you to pack up your tent, gather up your belongings, and start moving forward. You may have taken a temporary delay, but that's okay, that didn't stop your destiny.
Today can be your new beginning. God is breathing new life into your spirit. He has greater victories in front of you. Get a vision for it. You say, "Joel, this sounds good, but I've been single a long time. I don't think I'll ever meet the right person". Or "I work hard, but I never get any promotion". Every time you dwell on those negative, discouraging thoughts, you are digging another stake halfway towards your promised land.
First place we lose the battle is in our own thinking. If you don't think you can be successful, then you never will be. If you don't think you can overcome the past, meet the right person, accomplish your dreams, you'll get stuck right where you are. You've got to change your thinking. Listen, right now, the Creator of the universe is arranging things in your favor. He said, "No good thing will he withhold because you walk uprightly". He's not going to withhold the right person, the wisdom, the breaks, the turnaround. Get rid of a negative, defeated mentality. Make room in your thinking for the new thing God wants to do. He wants to take you all the way in to your promised land.
I read about this professor at a major university. He was in class about to pass out the final exam, the most important test of the year. Before he did, he told his students how proud he was of them, and because they had worked so hard, he made them a special offer. He said, "Anyone that would like an automatic C on this test, just raise your hand and I'll give you a 'C', you won't even have to take the test".
One hand slowly went up, then another, and another until about half of the students opted out of taking the test. They walked out of the room so relieved, so happy. The professor went on to pass out the test to the rest of the students, and he placed it face down on the desk, asked them not to turn it over until he instructed them to. For the next few minutes, he encouraged them about how they were going to do great things in life and how they should always strive to do their best.
Then he gave the word that it was okay, turn the test over and get started. The test only had two sentences, it read, "Congratulations, you just made an A".
This is what we do many times. We settle for a "C", not realizing God has an A in our future. "Joel, I don't think I'll ever get over this sickness. I'm just learning to live with it". That's taking a "C". You've got to change your thinking. "God is restoring health unto me. I will live and not die. I'm getting stronger, healthier, better". That's going for the "A". "
Well, I'm getting up there in years. You know how your health starts to go downhill". That's taking a "C". "I'll never break this addiction. I've had it since high school". Another "C". How about this one? "Joel, this guy I'm dating, I know he's not good for me. He doesn't treat me right, but I may not ever meet anybody else". That's not a "C", that's a "D", that's an "F". God has an "A", but you'll never see it if you keep taking the "C's".
Yes, the "C's" are easier, you don't have to stretch, you don't have to get out of your comfort zone, but you'll never be truly fulfilled if the good news is God already has "A's" in your future. He has the right person, a happy marriage, a successful career, health, wholeness, freedom, victory. Don't take the easy way out, the "A's" are worth fighting for.
I can't think of much that would be sadder than to come to the end of life and have to wonder, "What could I have become if I didn't settle for good enough? What could I have been if I didn't take so many "C's", but instead I pressed forward, striving to be my very best"? You may have taken some "C's" in the past, we all have. But make a decision with me, from now on you're only going for the "A's".
I know some of you are thinking, "Well, Joel, I married a "C", you stick with him and make him into an "A". Don't look at your husband now, that's the wrong time. Straight ahead.
Here's the key. If you're not seeing in your life what God promised in your spirit, then keep moving forward, it's only temporary. Like the young man delivering pizzas, you may be doing something that's below your potential, working at a job you're not even using your gifts. Don't slack off when you're there. Keep being your best, but see that as only temporary. That's just a season that you're passing through. Don't put your stakes down.
If where you're living doesn't match what God put in your spirit, be grateful, keep a good attitude, but see it as only temporary. Don't settle there. If the medical report doesn't agree with what God says about you, don't accept it as the way it's always going to be. Your attitude should be, "This is just a season that I'm passing through. I'm coming into health, wholeness, victory".
Even if it's something good, maybe God has blessed you, a family, a job, health, you've seen his favor, but you know there are greater levels in front of you. It's easy to think, "Joel, I'm happy. I've no complaints, God's been good to me". But I've learned that good is the enemy of great. You may be doing good, you're using your gifts, but deep down, you know you have more in you. Don't let good be an excuse to keep you from God's best. Stir up your greatness. Stretch into a new level.
This is where the people of Israel missed it, God brought them out of slavery. They were headed toward the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey. The spies came back and said, "Moses, we have never seen such a magnificent land, so beautiful, luscious, green". The fruits and vegetables were like nothing they'd experienced. It took two people to carry the bushels of grapes, they were so big. That's the vision God had in front of them. That was the "A".
But in the wilderness, they saw God's goodness. They saw God part the Red Sea, bring water out of a rock, rain down manna from heaven, but do you know that was all only temporary provision? That was only the "C". The mistake they made is when they came to the promised land, there were people living on it. All they had to do was fight for the land and God promised them the victory.
The problem is that group was not willing to fight. They thought, "It's not worth it. It's too much trouble. Besides, those people are bigger than us anyway". I believe one reason they settled for the "C" so easily is because they had seen God's favor in the wilderness. They thought, "It's not so bad out here. God takes care of us, he feeds us, he clothes us. It's good enough". They were too easily satisfied. They didn't realize everything God had done up to that point was only temporary provision. It was to take them in to their land of abundance.
And most of you can say, like me, you've seen God be good to you. God's blessed you with health, a family, a job. He's opened doors that should not have opened. He's shown you favor, protected you. Can I tell you that was only temporary provision? You have not made it into your promised land. God is taking you somewhere greater than you've ever imagined.