Life doesn’t always give us warm and fuzzy feelings. In fact, life tends to be ordinary and a fight against temptations, sickness, lack, and defeat. Perhaps you may feel down, discouraged, and defeated, but the good news is that there are bigger, better, and brighter days ahead of you.

I live in Texas, where it can get very dry and hot in summer. This year, I spent a great deal of time ministering overseas. Even though my sprinkler system was set on automatic, I came home after one of my trips and found several dead patches in my backyard. I like it when the grass looks green and lush. I decided to focus on reviving the lawn. Every morning and evening, I’d spend 15 minutes or so watering the dead patches. In less than two weeks, my dead spots were gone and my backyard looked fresh and beautifully green again.

Life often works the same way. We trap ourselves in the rat race and forget to look after the dead patches in our lives. This is very normal and there’s nothing to be alarmed about; however, if we ignore them for too long, the entire yard will start to deteriorate. A complete recovery is often painful, time consuming, and sometimes even irrevocable.

I’ve found that most problems begin by slowly seeping into our lives. We seldom find ourselves in a sudden crisis. Left alone, it’s the small things that create chaos and disorder. When we attend to these small problems, we can avoid some major pitfalls. No matter what our dead patch represents, there are three little steps that help treat it. Let me share them with you now!

1. Identify the problem! The first step to finding a solution is to identify the problem. Recognizing the problem gets you halfway to the solution. This may sound easy but it’s not, because none of us like to acknowledge defeat and crisis. Eventually even the healthy parts of our lives become contaminated unless we accept responsibility and strive to change.

2. Focus on the problem! Water boils at 212°F and creates steam, which enables you to drive a locomotive. I know many people who are simmering at 211°F. If you’d turn up your focus by a single degree, you’d reach the tipping point. We’ve all heard that we should focus on our strengths, but if there’s a nagging problem that continues to fester then we must focus on our dead patches. Whatever you focus on will grow!

For example, if your marriage or another relationship is suffering then you have to focus on building that relationship. It is going to cost you time, effort, and energy, but it’s the only way to heal a broken relationship. If you’re always struggling with finances then you have to figure out a way to make more of it and spend less of it. Let me tell you a secret! Your first challenge is to overcome “stinkin’ thinkin’.” There’s plenty of money out there, but you’ll never have enough of it until you learn to become a blessing to others. If you feel overweight or unhealthy, you have to admit that to yourself before you can even consider changing your eating habits. Cut down on sugar, drink more water, and exercise a little each day. That can help keep you healthy and whole for the long haul.

3. Take massive action! Faith without works is dead. Head knowledge is useless unless action is taken. Remember that the future comes one day at a time. Here’s a simple rule to live by: Watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Here’s the key: Take action now and ask God for help. The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He will give us wisdom and direction to revive the dead patches. All we have to do is ask! God never tires of helping us. In fact, the more we rely on Him, the more He delights in and blesses us. Everything is better when we do it with God. Regardless of how bad your situation looks, don’t give up! Identify what you want. Plan how you’ll get it. Put some action behind your plans. Then entrust it to God and let Him be in charge of your estate. I love you and I believe in you!

“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming” Song of Solomon 2:15 (NLT)!