Hello, my name is Katie, and I’m a Coke-can crinkler
I had lunch with a mentor recently. I forgot my phone at the office, so you know it was a good conversation! We talked about a few new endeavors that I wanted to try but had put off. They were good ideas that could help further my business and mission, but instead of planning and executing, I’d been agonizing and analyzing.
“You’re doing like this,” my friend said — and he gripped the empty La Croix can in front of him until it crinkled, and furrowed his brow in imitation of my worried spirit.
But there can be so many factors to consider when starting something new! So many what-ifs and wherefores! Jesus did say to count the cost of following Him, right?
Right. He also said that whoever puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.
Man. Ouch again! Can you relate?
We’ve got to find the balance between preparing and procrastinating. We can find that balance in God’s wisdom, which He promises us if we ask in faith (James 1:5-7).
Just as importantly, once we decide to move forward with a resolution — whether to start something new or give something up — we’ve got to pick our power source. We can rely on either:
1) God, or
2) Anything else (usually ourselves).
We all know to pick No. 1, yet we consistently pick No. 2 without thinking. We operate under the assumption that our willpower can help us avoid sweets (I know mine can’t!), or that our own self-determination will make us get up at 5:30 a.m. and work out. We “commit” ourselves to God and tell Him all the spiritual things we’re going to do.
We might ask Him for help, out of habit, but we don’t really mean it. We aren’t actually counting on His infinite strength, which could help us do immeasurably more than we ask or think (Ephesians 3). We’re just banking on our own efforts.
More recently than I care to admit, in a moment of frustration at my own shortcomings, I pounded on the floor in prayer and yelled at God. I asked, not rhetorically, if He expected me to be a superhuman.
Friend, He does not. He only expects us to trust Him.
If we trust Him, we’ll agree with Jesus, who says that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
If we trust Him, we’ll agree with Peter, who said God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1). So, without Him we can do nothing, but with Him we can do anything in His will.
If we trust Him, we’ll be willing. Willing to take on the new goal He’s calling us to, and/or abandon anything He wants us to abandon.
If we trust Him, we’ll obey.
I have to immediately say, YES, we will fail to obey perfectly. (Preaching to myself.) We’ve got to keep this in mind, not expect perfection, and not give up when we mess up. Despite what my flesh tells me, I’d rather fail, get corrected and keep going than sit and analyze my failure till it’s a crinkled-up Coke can. God tells us to run with endurance the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1), and that He’ll never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13). That includes the times we veer off course.
He provides the strength to begin, the endurance to continue, and the course correction. All we have to do is give up our own efforts, trust in His power, and take the next step forward.
Happy New Year!
Must-reads this month:
• Our cover story on Barry and Angelyn Cannada. He’s chairman of the board of Cru, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ, and they travel all over the world for work and fun. They live in Jackson and are one of the most precious couples I’ve ever met!
• This Is My Story, by Neil Woodall Jr., who tells how God led him to seek help for his addiction to prescription painkillers.
• Our interview with the Rev. Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz, who will speak at First Baptist Jackson in February.