This is the tale of a lesson learned the hard way—and you know how fun those are.
Our story begins with a heap of good intentions. Someone (far craftier than you) appeals to your nature to please (everyone in the universe), and convincingly pleads that you (they know better) should lead the way. The fate of the (children, charity, non-profit organization) rests on your shoulders, and if you fail (yup, that word) to be the guiding force, all will be lost.
You believe you can, and there’s even a (flattered) part of you that wants to. You dive in (heart first), sure you’ll be able to accommodate the mountain of work ahead with sheer will and gumption.
Fast forward incalculable (unpaid) hours of time, and you find yourself (or in this case, me) with head in hands asking, “What in the world was I thinking?”
It’s at this point (too late) that you (me) go before the Lord and plead for deliverance. Surely the Creator of the universe can undo what you’ve done. Certainly your face-down-tantrums on the living room floor are not falling on deaf ears. Oh no, indeed He hears you…
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. (←Tweet that)
Those are the words God wrote over my regret filled heart. They sounded a whole lot like, “Deal, sister.”
While we have a God of grace, loving kindness, and tender mercies, there are simply times when we must lie in the bed we made and work out the consequences of our (hasty) actions. That same God of grace is always working to spare us of the worst, and that often means teaching us the lesson now—before we make a bigger mess.
If you find yourself in this position today, or perhaps on the cusp of making such a choice, can I offer you some wisdom from this hard-learned lesson?
Ask, don’t tell.
To my credit, I did seek the Lord prior to this decision. However, in hindsight, pride and ego wiggled into that conversation as I laid out what I could do, rather than listen for what I should do. Seeking God’s will and timing always involves more listening than speaking. He’s able and willing to show us what we should do, if we’ll stop telling Him what we can do.
Capability does not equal calling.
My motives in accepting this assignment were pure—I could help. Embracing that knowledge (can) and pairing it with commitment (should) are two very different things. It’s wonderful to be well-acquainted with our gifts and abilities, but there is no one who knows them better than God. He is also the ONLY one with the vantage point of perfect timing, position, and place for those gifts to be used. Just because He’s made us able, doesn’t mean He’s called us to action.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Proverbs 19:21 ESV
Whose “rules” are you following?
This world has a lot of “should-do rules.” I fall prey to the one that says I “should” please everyone—and I’ll work myself into a frenzy to make it happen. But frenzied isn’t how God wants me. In fact, frenzied leaves me too wrung dry to say “yes” when God comes calling. As His children, our rule isn’t “please everyone,” it’s “please God.” When we release ourselves from rules we aren’t obligated to follow it gives us permission to say “no,”—which then gives us freedom to pursue what is most pleasing to God.
Guts and glory.
If you find yourself in a position that wasn’t the best first choice, the next ones can make all the difference. It takes humility to bow out, but sometimes you humbly admit you bit off more than you could chew and ask for a rescue team. Other times, as is my case, you gut it out and finish what you started—to the glory of God. There is greater purpose in the process, even when it’s hard to see. (←Tweet that)
Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.
Colossians 3:24b MSG
While I’m not exactly thrilled to be in this predicament, it’s just like God to spin regret into a lesson filled with gratitude. There is a sweet freedom in learning that just because I can, doesn’t mean I should—or have to. Every future “no” I deliver for the right reasons, is truly a “yes” for God. ♥
You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots: Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory), Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).