Being capable and actually doing something are two different things.
I listened to someone’s plans and wanted to say,
“I know you can. But I don’t know if you will.”
I didn’t actually say it. (I’m usually thankful when I engage my filter.) I was fairly confident it wouldn’t be received in the way I meant it. I had full confidence of the person’s ability. I didn’t want to ebb away what confidence she had. I wanted to build her up. At the same time, I didn’t want to give her false confidence. Just because she’s capable of doing well doesn’t mean she’ll apply herself, approach challenges humbly, learn from disappointments and failures, and persevere. She can but only time will tell if she will.
Isn’t that the truth with all of us?
God equips us with so much. The gifts He gives us are abundantly sufficient to accomplish what He intends for us. But what accomplishments He plans for us might not be our perfect idea of accomplishments. What He knows is sufficient can seem inadequate when we face challenges. His gifts might seem to be misfits for us. We prefer to do things our own way, with our own sense of comfort or adventure, our own definitions of our successes, failures, and progress, and our own timelines.
If we’re going to actually do the thing God purposes for us, we’re going to have to trust that He has made us capable. More accurately, He is in the process of making us capable. We have to take the step of faith beyond believing we are capable into action steps into His purpose and plan. It is only then that we find true, sufficient satisfaction.
I was surprised to see trees in the middle of the road. I laughed at the signs, directing drivers to go around. I assume very few would run right into the tree. Perhaps they just wanted to make sure everyone knows which side of the tree to go around. Wouldn’t it have been easier to take out the tree when they made the road? But then I thought,
…if only we allowed more interruptions to be reminders.
We don’t have to clear everything out of our lives just because it’s convenient. We can get so determined to get from point A to point B that we want as straight a line as possible. But when we focus on the horizon, we don’t take the time to notice what’s around us. Slowing down to avoid bumps, debris, or even trees in the road helps us notice what would otherwise be a blur. It certainly might be easier to create a straight line, but what would we miss along the way? How might we “zone out” and reach our destination without experiencing the journey.
We easily become results-oriented. We consider what we need to do, then attack it (or sometimes, we avoid it). Accomplishment is revered as a strength. The farther we get, the more kudos we get from others and the better we feel about ourselves. But what are we missing in the process? Just because we feel good about something doesn’t mean it’s something good.
God isn’t content with good enough. He has the best in store for us…if we’ll trust Him along the journey. He’ll give us moments when we speed down the road, perhaps even faster than we want at that time. He’ll give us seasons in which we feel stuck but learn patience and perseverance. Then, there are the times the road seems to be straight but has a little swerve in it. As we avoid the tree, we notice something beside the road: a glimpse of beauty, a warning sign, or a hidden trail.
Pay attention. It’s our journey, but His road.
I know, Lord,that a man’s way of life is not his own;no one who walks determines his own steps.