Today I want to start a short series looking at how we can break through the glass ceilings of our lives.
2 Samuel 5:1-3 (ESV Strong's)
Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.
Why is it that Saul had limits that ultimately defeated him, but David broke through and conquered his limits? That’s what I want to look at in this series, because like glass Ceilings, we can see beyond our limits, see through them to where we should be, but this invisible barrier seems to stop us every time.
THE GLASS CEILING
When people use the term "The glass ceiling", they are referring to an invisible barrier that prevents them from attaining the success they see others around them achieving. You know what that's like, when you try and try but you just seem to bounce of this invisible barrier.
So what is your "glass ceilings"? We have so many things we can do for the Lord, and really none of us are at our full potential, but if we are to reach God’s potential for our lives, we must realise that we all have "glass ceilings" in our lives, and that to move ahead these need to be shattered.
Over this series I want to look at the lives of these 2 kings, and learn the truth about the "glass ceilings" in life and how they can be broken forever.
Ephesians 3:20 (ESV Strong's)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
God’s plans for us don’t have ceilings, and He promises exceedingly abundantly more, but never the less these ceilings exist, not in God but in our minds.
STEPS TO BEING A SMASHING SUCCESS
The thing about a glass ceiling is that you can see through it, but you can’t smash your way through it. You can see where you should be, but every time you try and reach for it, you hit this barrier. I remember running into a glass door because it was so clean I couldn’t see it! This is why I rarely clean windows at my house.
Psalms 138:8 (ESV Strong's)
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
God wants to fulfil His purpose for you, and he doesn’t want you limited by glass ceilings and barriers in your life. He wants you to conquer them, not by your own strength, but by His power. So let’s examine some steps towards overcoming glass ceilings in our lives.
1. ACKNOWLEDGE GLASS CEILINGS EXIST
Most people cannot see the glass ceilings in their lives because they’ve trained themselves to ignore them. I remember reading Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and when a space ship appeared above a Test Match at Lord’s Cricket ground, no one could see it because it had an SEP field around it. That stands for “Someone else’s problem,” and the writer stated that people’s brains dismissed the image of a space ship because it wasn’t their problem.
Many of the glass ceilings we face are as a result of society, and society’s standards and expectations. We are not even aware of these ceilings, because our world tells us these barriers are normal. You can’t become an evangelist because religion is personal and we don’t talk about that. You can’t bring children up in the Lord because that’s brainwashing them. You can’t make more of your life because you’re just a worker, just a mother, or you have this sickness, or you’re too old, or too young, or divorced or disabled.
Romans 12:2 (ESV Strong's)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Part of renewing your mind is a acknowledging that these glass ceilings even exist, but also recognising that though they may limit us, they won’t limit God! The first step in overcoming them is simply admitting they exist.
Why does it seem so hard for us to admit that we are not perfect? Why do we want to paint on a happy face when we come to church, and pretend that all is well, when in fact, there are many areas in our lives that hinder us and cause us to stumble? Our "glass ceilings" will never be broken until we first accept the fact that they exist!
2. IDENTIFY YOUR GLASS CEILING
The next step is to identify your ceilings. What are the invisible barriers you face to spiritual maturity? You may not even see them, so you may need to ask God where they are.
As we explore this over the coming weeks, we are going to identify the barriers Kings Saul and King David faced. Like them, we all face glass ceilings in our lives, and it’s important we identify where and what they are.
Is it fear, impatience, denial, stubbornness, your upbringing, your finances, or your spouse? Is it your job, your church, your need to control, or your need to be needed? What is it that becomes a ceiling in your life that stops you becoming the person God wants you to be? God says,
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV Strong's)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
He has great plans for your life, your ministry, your part in His great plan of bringing our nation to Him. But He hasn’t put ceilings in our lives, we have, and if we trust Him and look to the future, if we are obedient and serve Him, we can and will break through those self imposed ceilings.
3. DECIDE THAT IT’S TIME TO BREAKTHROUGH
While you are pondering these ceilings in your life, let’s look at the 3rd step… Make a decision that is time to smash these glass ceilings.
I remember years ago meeting a young lady in Pune, India. Serving on the mission field with 2 small children. She told me she was a single mum, with no fixed income, and there she was in missions. I asked her how she managed this, and she said she didn’t see why being a single mum should stop her from what God had for her.
I meet so many people who want to serve God, want to make a difference, want to win their community to Jesus, but other things demand their attention. Some of you here know God has great things for you, but you seem to hit a barrier every time you try to move ahead. Sometimes its the tyranny of the urgent, many times it’s you wanting to do something else first.
People say to me, just let me build my business, just let me bring up my family, just let me buy that house that car, that at computer first, then I’ll serve God. Then I’ll get involved in church. I’d love to be more involved, but I have things I need to do. But Paul says,
2 Corinthians 6:2 (ESV Strong's)
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Stop offering excuses, instead of your body as a living sacrifice! It’s time to stop letting other ultimately less important things in eternity stop you from fully engaging for God right now.
Money, work, family, careers, houses, possessions, reputations, all these are important, but none of them, not a single one is more important than obedience to God. And here’s Jesus’ promise… If you put Him first, and serve Him first, you get the lot…
Matthew 6:31-33 (ESV Strong's)
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So today I urge you to stop putting it off and decide to break through the glass ceilings go for it!
4. TEST THE CEILING
When you detect a ceiling in your life, this is when you need godly wisdom. Any boundary can be broken through, but there are ways to do it and ways to not do it.
Don’t just dive off the high board and hope you make it. Solomon wrote,
Ecclesiastes 11:6 (ESV Strong's)
In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
There are always a number of things you can do to break through your glass ceiling. Some things are more effective than others, some more costly. I don’t know the best way for you to breakthrough in your situation, and neither do you… But God does!
So try things, test them, see what works. But if you want to fast track the process, and minimise the pain and the cost, seek God’s wisdom, not man’s. Come to church, listen to the sermons, get into the app, seek godly advice, read His Word, if you’re smart you will do whatever it takes to gain godly wisdom and insight and fast track your breakthrough…
James 1:5 (ESV Strong's)
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Get God’s wisdom and perspective, and start testing the boundaries of your ceiling to see where the likely breakthrough points, might be.
5. START AND KEEP GOING
Many people fail to breakthrough their glass ceilings because they give up. They pray, they ask God, they try for a time, but they get tired, get discouraged and give up, often just as that ceiling is starting to crack!
Toughened glass is chemically or heat treated to make it super tough. A mega hard surface makes it Toughened, and they use to use this glass in windscreens. But what happens if you hit it hard enough or hit the same spot several times? Once that skin is penetrates the entire glass panel implodes into hundreds of tiny pieces.
In your quest to smash through that ceiling in your spiritual life, you need to not lose heart and not give up. Some of you are so close, so keep going. When you look back from eternity the ceiling that now seems so strong and so limiting will be as nothing. It’s temporal, it’s temporary and it’s there to be smashed through…
2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (ESV Strong's)
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
6. BREAKING THE GLASS CEILING LEADS TO MORE BREAKTHROUGHS
Here’s an exciting thing… once you break through your ceiling, once you one rate the barrier, you open the door to even more breakthroughs, and you’ll be amazed at what follows.
In 1956, Roger Bannister was the first to break the 4 minute mile. Within a few years, more than 20 other people had achieved this feat. Today, over 1,400 athletes have done it, and the current record is 3.43.13.
Fiona and I suffered tremendous financial loss 10 years ago, and for a long time it seemed nothing we did could even start our recovery. We worked hard, saved heaps, prayed loads and tried everything we could, but it felt like we had a glass ceiling. We continuously believed that God would restore our finances, and we kept slugging away, with few results.
The ceiling was smashed through after some years, when on Fiona’s birthday we opened an envelope which contained a cheque from what we though was a lost investment, for $55,000. After this we started to move ahead financially, and God is restoring what the locusts have eaten even today. Trust God, honour God, keep going and let Him break through those glass ceilings…
Malachi 3:10 (ESV Strong's)
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, IT’S WHO YOU KNOW!
When it comes to breaking through those ceilings in your life, you can fight, you can smash, you can hit, you can scream, you can blame others and worry and fret and get discouraged. The world will say, “Come on, you can do it,” But I’m saying no you can’t, there’s a better way.
The better way is this… Seek God! That’s what made David different to Saul, he was a man after God’s own heart. When it comes to breaking through these glass ceilings, it’s not about you, your abilities and your hangups. In fact, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
The answer for breaking through whatever ceiling you are facing right now is knowing God more. The more you know Him, the more He will give you His power to live the life He has called you to live.
The more intimately you know Him, the more He can lead and guide amd direct your steps, and those ceilings, that seem so strong now, will be smashed to smitherines!
Today I want to challenge you to identify at least one of the glass ceilings you currently face. If you’re on the app, write it down, because I want to hear testimony after testimony in a few months time of the amazing shattering of these ceilings.
Today I want you to identify the ceiling, then come forward and give it to the Lord. Whatever it is, finances, relationships, fears, resentment, give it all to Jesus today.
Hosea 6:3 (ESV Strong's)
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
as the spring rains that water the earth.”
to hinder you, or will you conquer them? In the end, it's all up to you!