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Don’t Live in the Shade
By Joel Osteen - Jul 30, 2021
Victoria and I were walking through a park that was full of beautiful cacti that were thirty-feet tall. I was amazed at how big they were, but then we came to a cluster of cactus that were only six-feet tall. I said to Victoria, "They must be a different kind." But she said, "No, that big oak tree's branches are blocking the sunshine. Those cacti are always in the shade." All the cacti were in the same soil, with the same weather conditions, but the ones constantly in the shade were only a fraction of what they were created to be.

I wonder if something is blocking your growth. Are you under the shade of what someone spoke over you? Perhaps they told you what you couldn't do or how you're not that talented. Now that shade is limiting your life. Are you under the shade of intimidation--afraid to step out in faith, thinking of all the things that could go wrong? Or do you have friends who are blocking your growth, causing you to compromise, to do things that are holding you back? What could you become if you got out from under that shade? How high could you go if you made some adjustments? The good news is that the potential is still in you. You can still become who you were created to be. You just have to remove what's blocking your growth, and you'll begin to go to new levels. There's nothing wrong with you. You have the life of Almighty God. He created you to rise higher, to be successful, to be confident, to leave your mark.

One thing that can easily stunt your growth is the people with whom you're spending time. You need to evaluate your friendships. Are they making you better, pushing you up higher, inspiring you to reach your dreams? Or are they causing you to compromise, to be mediocre, to take the easy way out? You're going to become like the people you continually associate with. The Scripture says, "Don't hang out with angry people. Bad temper is contagious--don't get infected" (Proverbs 22:24). It also says, "If you walk with wise people, you will become wise." If the people you associate with gossip, complain about the boss, are unfaithful in relationships and hard to get along with, find some new friends. Spirits are transferable. You may not realize it, but they're blocking your growth. You have to make the change.

Your destiny is too great to hang around people who are not adding to your life. You need people who bring out the best in you, people who inspire you to do better, who challenge you to live a life of excellence and integrity.
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