The “Carrot Factor” – Too Good To Be True?

It’s been an interesting few years… At times I’ve felt like God is right next to me, whispering in my ear wonderful things He has in store for me. Other times, not so much… I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been moving toward something I was excited about, only to have everything change just when I felt like I was nearing the goal. Ministry opportunities, relationships, adventures, and more have been on my radar, and yet very few of them have materialized into reality. It seems like this incredible prize is dangled in front of my nose, and yet it’s kept out of my reach no matter how hard or fast I pursue it. In recent months, I have come to call this phenomenon the “carrot factor”.

Don’t get me wrong, God is faithful even when I am faithless. And I have certainly had my moments where it felt like my faith was nearly non-existent. That’s not true; I had faith that God exists and He is good, I just lacked faith that my dreams were worth His time.

As I have buried one dream after another in the past 5 years or so (sometimes seeing them resurrected only to be buried again), I have built walls in my heart to block out those portions that are in pain. As new dreams have come to life or old ones are resurrected, it has been difficult to let them live. Sometimes it seems easier to live without hope for specific things in this life than to have those hopes disappointed repeatedly. Proverb 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” My heart has become sick, and it has been easy to let it languish while trying to push forward in the things that really matter, like pleasing God and spreading His Kingdom. Unfortunately, the main thing He has asked of us is to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. It is impossible to love Him with all of my heart if I have portions quarantined and closed off.

Recently, an opportunity was presented for me to move “across the pond”, to the Emerald Isle, for at least 9 months to a year. A large part of my heart and mind wanted so badly to believe it was a God-thing and would become reality. The other part remembered the pain of disappointment at having yet another carrot yanked away, and struggled to trust that God was truly saying what I was hearing. As I identified “the carrot factor” for the first time, I was struck by the thought that this possibility was simply too good to be true.

In the weeks since that thought first crossed my mind, I have discovered a huge problem with that phrase. The God that I love and serve is the ultimate Good. There is nothing good outside of Him. Then again, He is ultimate Truth. It is impossible for something to be “too good to be true” because He is the Source of everything in both categories. He IS both categories.

I don’t understand all that happened in the past. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I’m sure it will involve disappointment at times. I’m also more certain than ever before that my God is trustworthy no matter what dreams are born or buried in my heart. He is always good, true, faithful, and so much more! I pray that wherever you find yourself today, whether your heart is thriving in hope or languishing in a place of broken dreams, that you are met by the God who is proof that there is no such thing as “too good to be true”.

As for me, at this moment, I have plans (and a ticket) to arrive in Dublin, Ireland on the 14th of March. I have no idea what will happen between now and then, or once I arrive there, but I know that whatever comes, I will walk this journey with the only One who never disappoints.


2 thoughts on “The “Carrot Factor” – Too Good To Be True?

  1. Debby says:

    Amen!! Thank you for sharing Steph!


  2. Dianne says:

    I’m so proud of you and love your honesty and trust in God, no matter what.


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