Stagnation is the absence of progress toward a given goal or desire. It can happen to individuals or even organizations such as churches. In individuals, it can occur in terms of our spirituality, health, marriages and relationships and even in terms of educational or career goals. In organizations, it can occur in terms of specific ministry initiatives or some other endeavor such as a building project.
Quite often, stagnation occurs because of a lack of vision or clarity with regard to what we want to achieve. However, even when we know what we want to accomplish, we can still experience stagnation if we lack the capacity to bring our desires to fruition. This might be because we lack the skill, the people, the resources or an effective plan to achieve that which we desire. We may also experience stagnation if we lack the faith to do what God calls us to do.
Stagnation often leads to a loss of passion or a negative outlook toward our desires or goals. Many people and churches have abandoned their dreams because of stagnation. They encountered the stubbornness of a spouse who would not change, a child who persisted in wrongdoing, a prolonged illness, an examination that they did not pass, a few members who refused to cooperate or a setback in a building project, and became so frustrated that they abandoned their dreams altogether. Tragically, some have even committed suicide because of frustration with stagnation.
If you are experiencing stagnation in your walk with God, I encourage you not to lose heart or give up, for there is victory over stagnation!! Let me suggest the following biblical steps, which I have tagged “The Seven (7) Ps to Overcoming Stagnation”, for your consideration and application as you deal with stagnation in any area of your life:
1. Prayer – One reason Christians experience stagnation is because they fail to pray and seek God’s guidance before embarking on a new venture. They simply set their hearts and minds on something and only seek the blessing of God after they have begun to experience difficulty. Quite often, the reason they are experiencing difficulty is that what they are pursuing is not the will of God for them. Beloved, if you did not seek God’s guidance before starting the endeavor that is now frustrating you, pray and ask God what He wants you to do. He has promised to guide you if you would only acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3: 5 – 6).
2. Plan – God has a plan for your life and it is important for you to know it. However, He will not send a text message detailing His plan for you. If you want to know His plan, you must first learn to communicate with Him. The way to do this is through consistent prayer, study and meditation on the Word of God. These practices will help you understand God better and discover His plan for your life as a whole and for the particular situation that you are facing. Cast your vision and set goals based on God’s plan. Remember, without vision, people perish (Proverbs 29: 18).
3. People – God’s will is for you to work with others to accomplish His plan. This is why He caused you to be born into a biological family and desires for you to be part of a spiritual family in the church and to have friends. He uses the people in your life to warn you, to protect you, to give you advice and to support you. Secretiveness and isolation often lead to stagnation and frustration. Instead of becoming bitter and driving people away from you, reach out to them and share your situation as the Holy Spirit directs (Proverbs 15: 22).
4. Procedure – After you have prayed and have the plan and people of God in place, you need the specific wisdom of God regarding your particular situation. Knowing what to do to overcome stagnation in any situation requires exposure and networking. No matter what you are going through, it is likely that someone you know has gone through it successfully. Sharing your challenges with people you know may provide the answers that you need to overcome stagnation. Remember, there is indeed nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1: 9).
5. Passion – Stagnation often leads to a loss of passion, but having a God-given plan and a clear procedure for accomplishing it will go a long way toward rekindling your passion for the dreams and desires that God has placed in your heart. This is especially true when you have God-fearing people around to support you. With renewed passion, you will be able to focus and direct all your faculties and gifts toward accomplishment of your dreams and desires. This is why the Word of God charges you, as a child of God, not to be slothful in business but fervent in Spirit (Romans 12: 11).
6. Performance – Once you have a plan, a procedure to accomplish it and the passion to pursue it, you must set aside all doubt and take practical steps to achieve your goal. This action step requires faith and is the point at which most dreams and desires die. If you have faith, it will show up in the actions that you take to achieve your goals. Since God has given you the vision, have faith that He will give the provision. Stop procrastinating. Faith without works is dead (James 2: 17).
7. Progress – The combination of a God-given plan, a clear procedure to accomplish it, passion and performance by faith guarantees progress in any endeavor. However, even when all these elements are present, progress may not be immediate. Progress in the things of God often requires patience and perseverance. If you have followed all the aforementioned steps, remember that your victory may be delayed but can never be denied (Habakkuk 2: 2 – 3).
The issue is not whether we will be victorious or not, but whether you will be a part of the great victory that God has promised. If you are experiencing stagnation or feel that you are in a “rut”, remember that God has called you an overcomer. Trust Him. You shall succeed and not fail!!