One of the things I have learned in 2019 is to be careful when you say “I’m not…” or “I don’t…” or “I’d never…”…..
Before you know it, God will take those exact things you said you weren’t, didn’t and would never do, and will build you a new identity there, founded in Him, in strength and in faith and total reliance on Him as He asks you to step out of your comfort zone.
- I have told everyone for years, and everyone who knows me knows I am not a morning person.
- While I enjoy sports and being active, I have loudly declared to anyone that will listen that I am not a runner.
- I have had a challenging relationship with food my whole life and have said over and over again that I was not a health nut or going to be one of those people.
- I said I would never be a leader of anything.
- I told myself I would never paint or sell any of my work because I am not good enough.
You know what happened? I believed these things about myself and clung tightly to them because I had allowed those statements to become who I was, because I said so, not because God told me so. I firmly outlined my strengths, highlighted my weaknesses and made bold statements about how I wasn’t going to foray into those weaknesses because it wasn’t who I was.
When I said those things out loud, they became battlegrounds. And guess what?
- I felt God asking me to wake up at 5am to spend time with Him every morning. WHAT, God? Clearly you forgot you didn’t make me to be a morning person! I can’t do it!
- I felt Him suggesting that I train for and run a 5k. WHAT, God? Surely you see this body that you did NOT create to be lithe and sprightly and quick like a gazelle. I can’t do it.
- He allowed me to have a genetic condition that forces me to be a health foodie. WHAT, God? You forgot you didn’t give me a budget for organic, free trade all the things. You didn’t give me time to prep healthy foods. I have to rethink my whole attitude towards food — this is too hard, God, I can’t do it.
- He asked me to lead a Bible study out of a local MOMS group. WHAT, God? You forgot that you created me to hate being in the front of the class. You must have forgotten that I like to blend in and not be leading anyone! I can’t do this, I’m not a leader!
- He created several opportunities for me to sell my work and create custom pieces for customers. WHAT, God? Remember this is just a hobby, they won’t like it. They won’t pay for my silly stuff! I’m not an artist, God, remember?
In submitting each and every one of those things to God, and asking for His strength, by His power, I did, or am doing all of them. I am still definitely human, I fail more than I succeed, but in every moment, HE is working in my weakness to show me His strength! He is doing things in and through me that are transforming who I thought I was, what I thought I was capable of, and highlighting lies I believed about myself for over 30 years. He is showing up in a big way in my “I never’s”.
It’s in breaking down the very things that we mistakenly created our identity out of that He will transform you and make you new – stronger for not doing it on your own. He will meet you in those places where you don’t feel like yourself, you don’t feel like you are enough, or you don’t think you can, and He will do it for you and through you.
The thing is, though, that more often than not, He asks, suggests and invites you to those places, and doesn’t force you into them. It’s our choice. Will we hang on tightly to what feels secure? Familiar? To what we believe our strengths are? It’s in letting go of all of those things and stepping out into the shaky unknown where we have a very real chance of failure, that there is beautiful freedom and unexplainable peace as God takes over and does amazing things.
Be open to doing anything and everything through the power of Christ in you – His strength is made perfect in your weakness, and there is no better way to come to know your Savior than by being reliant on Him in scary, uncomfortable, un-you situations. He will come through for you. He will teach you. He will change you, strengthen you and fill you up with things you would have missed out on if you had clung to your “I never’s.” Abundant life comes from surrendering who we think we are or what we think we can do to God, allowing Him to create it all fresh and new to His glory.
The “I don’t….but God does” is where you will meet Him, come to know Him, and watch Him work! Don’t be afraid to step out there!
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Corinthians 12:9