After flying across the country on a trip to Philadelphia for ministry executive committee meetings and trying to cram all the work I had missed into the time available between training and staff meetings at my job, I was chatting with my sister and sharing my experiences with her. More than once her response was, “Oh, I could never do that!”
Thinking about our conversation, later, I recalled a time when I would never have thought I could do some of these things, either. In fact, if asked I would most likely have refused to even try. So what had changed?
In large part the change in my attitude has to do with experience. Once a person accomplishes a new thing the realm of the possible expands making the next impossible thing appear less daunting.
We’ve all heard the expression “If you want something done ask a busy person”, but I would alter that to “ask the person who is busy accomplishing things”. I’m sure you have known one or two busy people, constantly in motion, who never seem to finish the task at hand. The productive person, on the other hand, has developed the skills and attitude to get the job done and move on to the next.
Many a busy person is just too busy. That busy-ness is a security blanket or a protection against trying and failing at something new.
Too many of us let our fears limit us unnecessarily.
If the circumstances of my life had not forced me to step out on faith I would still be limiting myself, unnecessarily, by those things I could just never do; things I had never done before or things I had convinced myself that only other people could do.
At one time or another I have used the excuses of being too young, too old, too inexperienced, too short, too fat, too poorly dressed, too fearful, too shy, too tired or too busy. I no longer can claim to be too young, but most of the others could still be in my repertoire, if I let them.
Our ministry theme for the previous two years was, “Come to the Edge”. Another way to say that is “expand your limits”, especially those self-imposed limits. You never know what you can do until you try. That was wise advice when I was growing up and it still applies.
Serving on the National Board of American Baptist Women’s Ministries has stretched me and pushed out my own limits beyond anything I ever thought possible … at time of life when one might expect those limits to be every more confining.
God prepared me for the opportunity, nudging me to become more trusting in him to enable me to say, “Sure, I’ll give it a try”, when the old me would have said, “Oh, I could never do that.” I thank him everyday for bringing me to this place in my life.
We all have absolute limitations, of course. We can’t fly like a bird, walk on water or lift elephants. Some people have real physical restrictions due to accident of birth, injury or illness. But too many of us place artificial limitation upon ourselves, saying, “Oh, I could never do that. It’s not my nature…I’ve never done it…I’d be afraid…I’d feel silly…I’m too tired…that’s not my thing… etc.”.
Stop concentrating on the things you could never do and open yourself to God’s leading. He will give you opportunities you could never have imagined. You will grow, stretch and thrive in every season of your life.
Change “I could never do it” to “I’ve never done it, but with God’s help, I’ll give it a try” and then enjoy the adventure.