It happened again yesterday. I read something on a friend’s facebook page and flew through a roller coaster of familiar emotions. Here’s what I read:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.” – Philippians 4:13
The words breathed power into me. Then almost as quickly, I deflated. What about those times I couldn’t do all things? What about those times when everything worked out badly, even though my heart and intentions lined up with what I knew of God’s heart?
Go through enough tough stuff in your life and even your strongest beliefs can start to crumble.
But we have to hold on to SOMEthing to get through the challenges. So I had to take a deeper look to see what this familiar phrase was really trying to say.
And what I found changed everything.
I can do all things, period.
It doesn’t mean we have license to:
- Do too much – Doing all things doesn’t actually mean we need to try to do every job and fill every role all at once. As a dear friend said recently, we have to “keep the overbooker in us on a tight leash.”
- Do other people’s work – Certain things are ours to do, and others belong to those around us. We must have boundaries and focus on things belong to us and that use our strengths.
- Do whatever we want – Some things are good and other things aren’t, so we need to exercise a little strategic vision and listen to our hearts. “Having no self control is like being a city broken into and without walls” (Prov 25:28).
- Do the same thing forever – especially if it’s not working at all or just not anymore. Periodically reevaluate what you’re doing with your time and heart to see if it’s still what you’re meant to be doing and what’s best for you.
Why doesn’t it work in those situations? Because in those, we’re outside of His heart for us and others.
God didn’t design us to be someone else, to please everyone, to be narcissists or to be victims.
In the original language, it’s more like this: I have the power and strength in me to do each and every individual thing that comes at me in this life… because of His power and strength in me.
That’s some promise, isn’t it? It means:
- any task I must do, I can accomplish in His strength
- any circumstance that comes, I can be confident in His strength
- any conversation I have, I can speak and listen in His strength
- any fear I have, I can overcome in His strength
- any grief I have, I can seek healing in His strength
- any joy I encounter, I can embrace in His strength
- any gift I receive, I can welcome in His strength
- any hope I have, I can press into with His strength
- any good I experience, I can trust in His strength
Do you feel like you can’t do – or be – something today? What would it take to see that differently?