I Can't Do Everything
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me ... For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9,10b (NIV)
"I don't want to go bowling," I said hearing a cringe-inducing whine creep into my voice.
While my entire extended family enthusiastically prepared for a fun outing, I was dragging my feet. In reality, I don't dislike bowling terribly. I just really, really, REALLY don't like doing things I'm not good at. And I'm terrible at bowling.
Avoidance or quitting is my natural default.
Our self-esteem driven culture says, "You can do anything you want!"
But the truth is I can't do everything.
My dream as a little girl was to be a platinum award-winning pop star. I sang into my hairbrush and made sure I stood on the stage for every talent show my school held. But no matter how much I practiced, my heart-felt but average singing was met with tepid applause and sympathetic pats on the back from my friends.
Yes, if I'd been born just a little later, I would be one of the pitiful audition examples on American Idol — a contestant who's convinced she's great while the rest of the world watches with wide eyes and gasps. My family, the world's greatest encouragers, would be at home cheering wildly while the rest of the world muttered, "Bless her heart!"
No matter how many lessons I take or how much I practice, I'm never going to progress from the choir loft to the stadium stage. It's just not going to happen.
Singing isn't a gift God has given me, and I don't feel His leading to take a leap of faith. If I were to audition, it would be foolish, because it would be a risk taken from my own desires and based on an unrealistic assessment of my gifts. Simply put, there's a clear difference between a foolish risk and an inspired risk.
I think it's great for us to understand our limits. But I have another issue that's not so great. It's my propensity to give up too quickly when things get hard ... when I'm challenged to do something I'm not already good at.
Recently I've been challenged to complete the most difficult process of my professional life. I've worked and struggled and fallen more times than I'd like to count. Day after day I've wanted to quit. And I've become painfully aware that this assignment is too big for me.
But this assignment is an inspired risk. It's based on the beginnings of a gift God has placed in me and on His clear calling.
So I've spent time on my knees asking God for direction and just a little more fortitude.
He has faithfully encouraged me. God continues to point out He not only opened the door of opportunity, He surrounded me with others to help me develop this embryo of a gift.
Instead of doing what our culture does, passing out false praise and "you can do anything's," God has instructed me to rejoice that I'm really not good enough ...
To do it without Him.
To accomplish it without the help of others.
To finish without perseverance (which produces character, and character hope, Romans 5:3-5).
Sometimes, when we're given a task beyond ourselves, we just need to rejoice. It's a good thing we're really not good enough. It's in those times of struggle, failure and ultimately growth that we find out God is enough.
Lord, teach me to rejoice in the difficult assignments, because it's there I come to the end of my own abilities and learn to lean on Yours. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 4:13, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (NIV)
1 Corinthians 1:25, "For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is an inspired risk you believe God wants you to make?
Write a prayer asking God to help you obey when He calls you to something that seems beyond your ability.