More from The Doggy Bag Devotional – Self Sabotage

Posted: June 9, 2017 in Perspective
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16 days until the official release of The Doggy Bag Devotional! The books are on their way, the e-book version is almost done and website is close to completion. Whew! But, I’m super excited, as I believe it will go along way in helping encourage and strengthen us in our daily lives. At times, we can all struggle with reading retention, comprehension and life application. This devotional is 52 weekly life lessons, broken down into small daily reads (ie. 5-15 minutes over breakfast), engaging each weekly topic from a variety of angles (stories, biblical perspectives, original Greek/Hebrew word definitions, personal reflection questions and more).

This has been a two plus year project that has surely challenged me in many ways. However, it has also strengthened my faith and deepened my understanding of how important it is to not only fill ourselves with a bit of God’s Word each day, but also be able to understand it and apply it to our lives. It’s daily ‘food’ for our spirit.

Below is an example of a weekly topic you’d find in The Doggy Bag Devotional:

Self Sabotage


My wife and I work for a children’s home near Phoenix, AZ. We are involved in the lives of kids who, for a variety of reasons, aren’t able to be under the care of their parents/family. One of the interesting things we’ve learned during our time here, is how kids can self-sabotage their own success. We’ve seen it on multiple occasions, especially with the high-schoolers. We’ve had several students who have done a great job in school despite the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual challenges of not being able to be with their families. Yes, there are struggles, but these students have intentionally focused and applied themselves to be successful in school and their responsibilities here. But then, something happens come the end of their Junior year and into the beginning of their Senior year. There is a shift that seems to occur that causes their grades slump, motivation level to drop and their desire to be successful today and into the future fade. It surely can be quite peculiar and a bit frustrating watching someone who obviously has shown so much potential seem to not care anymore about the things that were so important to them before.

Over the years, as this ‘phenomenon’ has been studied for a reason and a solution, it’s been discovered that for many of these students, they have slipped into a ‘self-sabotage’ mode. Why would a smart, focused and responsible person ‘train wreck’ their success? prioritiesWhether they realize it or not, they have become afraid of success. The ‘open doors’ that lie before them that their hard work, dedication and intentionality have opened are scary because of the unknowns they present. So, in self-defense, they begin to do the opposite of what was helping them be successful in the first place, in an attempt to negate or diminish their success. ‘Today’ becomes safe or at least safer. They know what to expect and are learning to manage what on their ‘plate’ in the now. There are few unknowns here and that feels dependable and secure. The thought of going off to college, starting a job or venturing into the military; just beginning their lives as an adult is overwhelming and scary. So, they resist it.

fear in a shell

I share this because I believe that for many of us adults, we do the same thing. Fear can cause us to also ‘self-sabotage’. It’s certainly a peculiar thing! I can look back into my own life and see times when I’ve done that to myself. I may be even doing it today and not even realize it. However, in order to become all that God created us to be; to live the full, abundant life he intended, we have to learn to recognize when we are slipping into this mode and ways to overcome and press on.

John chapter 21, tells us the story of Jesus’ disciples doing what they often did, which was to go fishing on the Sea of Galilee. This was their livelihood. It’s what they were good at. It’s what they knew. This particular day, they’d go out on their boats as they had done many times before. However, this night, they’d get ‘skunked’ – they caught nothing at all. As the morning light came, they saw Jesus on the shore. Knowing they hadn’t caught any fish, Jesus told them to throw their nets onto the other side of the boat. When they did what Jesus asked them too, immediately, their nets became so full of fish, they couldn’t pull them into the boats and had to tow them back to shore. Let’s catch up with the story here in John 21:9-11

miracle fish‘When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire with fish and bread cooking on it. Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn’t rip.’

Notice the very last sentence – ‘And even with all those fish, the net didn’t rip’.

What’s so awesome about this is that Jesus had just done something amazing in their lives – beyond what they could have imagined. He performed a miracle right in the midst of their normal lives, using the things they used on a daily basis. So, fishing was normal… however, catching 153 big fish all at one time was not! Under ordinary circumstances, 153 huge fish would have caused the nets to break and they would have lost all their catch. However, ‘even with all those fish, the net didn’t rip.’ Yes, Jesus gave them more than they could handle on their own, but he also gave them what was needed for the necessary support, management and handling of the success he’d just blessed them with. Because of their faith, he gave them the strength (strong nets) at the time when they needed it the most.

I hope this is a source of encouragement and strength for those of us who have a tendency to ‘self-sabotage’ our successes due to the fears of the unknown. Those gifts, talents and abilities God has given you and I are meant to be used for great things. And whatever those ‘great things’ are that God wants to move us into, he will also provide us with all we need to manage, support and handle every unknown, every uncertainty and every ‘This is too much. I don’t know if I can do this’ seasons of life.



May we lean into Jesus, be obedient to what He’s asked of us – as we watch our ‘nets’ fill with blessings. This will not only be a great encouragement, but will also help us accomplish all we are called and equipped to do and in the process, strengthen our faith in Christ.


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