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I’ve had Taekwondo on the brain lately; my two oldest have been practicing their forms and board breaks for upcoming belt tests. My eleven-year-old will have to break one-inch thick pine boards with various kicks to progress to his next belt. Lately in practice he has been able to break the boards on the first few attempts, but that wasn’t always the case.
When he was first told he needed boards to practice with, we purchased one-inch pine boards for my husband to cut to size. My son was eager to begin practicing at home, but no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t seem to break the boards. Weeks passed, and he saw classmates succeeding while he came away from his failed attempts to break his own boards with bruised heels and bruised confidence.
After about a month of frustration, one of the adult students in the class offered to let my son use one of his boards. On the second kick, he broke it! In our limited Taekwondo experience, my husband and I had mistakenly gotten the wrong kind of pine boards. The ones we had gotten were full of moisture and sap, making them much more difficult to break. My son had been convinced that the problem was with him, when it had been the boards all along.
Sometimes we struggle, not because we are weak, but because our efforts are misplaced…
Spiritual Board Breaking
My soul resonates with my son’s struggle. I can honestly say I’ve never once tried breaking a pine board with my foot, but I know what it’s like to feel like I’m kicking against a brick wall when it comes to accomplishing the tasks in front of me in a given day. I know what it’s like to work really hard at life, only to come away feeling exhausted, with bruised heels and bruised confidence. As I rejoiced in my son’s victory with the new pine boards, I felt myself longing for someone to place a more breakable board in front of me, to tell me that my frustration in life has never been because I am lacking, but because I’m striving to break boards that are unrealistically rigid. Can you relate?
“Cease striving and know that I am God.” ~ Psalm 46:10 (NASB)
As I dug a little deeper into the spiritual implications of my son’s board breaking, I realized that what I really needed in my life was breakthrough. My personal struggles are pretty general in nature; feeling like I’m not doing the day-to-day tasks of life well, just muddling through but not feeling victory. Never at peace, always flustered. Not living the abundant “life to the full” that is our birthright through the blood of Jesus. It’s not like I’m expecting perfection – no wait. I am expecting perfection. That’s part of my problem. Unrealistic expectations. The boards I’m putting in front of myself are too rigid, too filled with world-sap and too saturated with the heavy burden of self-imposed demands that are no better than those placed on God’s chosen people by the power-hungry Pharisees.
Exchanging Our Boards
I wonder where those demands are coming from? Certainly not from the Shepherd. And I have come to realize that in operating outside of God’s will, His best for me, I am not just hurting myself; I am sinning against God. I’m realizing that I need to go to God, and ask Him to hand me the right boards. I need Him to order my priorities, and to take away all of the extra junk, even the “good things,” that are polluting God’s best for my life.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
~ Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
But what about times when our boards can’t be changed out? Maybe the place you need breakthrough today is a place that really is beyond your strength, but isn’t self-imposed. Your boards may be more rigid than most because of current life circumstances. You may be challenged by an addiction, a difficult relationship, or a God-given responsibility or calling you don’t feel equipped to carry out. But God is a God of breakthrough, regardless of the strength of your life-boards. Abundant life is possible for you as well, but this time it isn’t the board that needs to be changed; it’s you who must be transformed from within. You’ll need to dig deep, beyond yourself, to tap into the power that is promised to you as a child of God.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
A Shift in Perspective
When I see my eleven-year-old break through his pine boards during his testing, I’m sure I’ll be proud. I may even take a video to share on Facebook. But picture what would happen if my three-year-old walked up to the panel of Masters, proceeding to kick through a concrete block without breaking a sweat? That video would go viral! There’s simply no rational way she could have the strength or discipline (though arguably she has the energy…) to break through concrete. I think that’s the kind of attention God loves to bring to Himself and His children through the unavoidable difficulties in life. I also think God would love for us to shift our perspective and stop thinking of those concrete life-slabs as a curse, and begin embracing them as opportunities for God to display His power.
When we approach Jesus like the little boy with the small lunch of barley loaves and dried fish, and give Him every ounce of strength we have, no matter how small, we will see Him bless it and multiply it, and give it back in abundance. If you are facing a hard-to-break board, or even a concrete block, and are convinced you can’t break it, you’re absolutely right. You can’t. Not in your own strength. But with the Lord of Breakthrough, Baal Perazim, all things are possible…
The Lord of Breakthrough
“So David and his men went up to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, ‘As waters break out, God has broken out against my enemies by my hand.’ So that place was called Baal Perazim.” ~ 1 Chronicles 14:11 (NIV)
Did you catch that? “God has broken out against my enemies by my hand.” Your hands. Your feet. You will have to go through the motions, but He is the one through whom your strength will come, and God will be glorified in ways you never, ever imagined. The abundant life has nothing to do with our circumstances; it has everything to do with the Almighty God who is at work in and through every circumstance.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” ~ Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)
Are You Ready to Breakthrough?
So where do you need breakthrough? Are you like me, needing to submit to God, asking Him to order your priorities and hand you the right kind of boards? Or are you struggling with a cement block standing between you and abundant life? I would love to hear your story and your prayer requests. May the Lord of Breakthrough, Baal Perazim, guide you into the abundant life His Son Jesus died for us to have.