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 begs that you lead the way. The fate of the [children, charity, ministry, non-profit] rests on your shoulders, and if you fail [yup, that word] to take on this challenge, 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 determination.
Fast forward incalculable [unpaid] hours of time, and you find yourself [um, maybe myself] with head in hands asking, “What in the world was I thinking?”
It’s at this point [too late] that you [yes, fine…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.
Those are the words God wrote over my regret filled heart. They sounded a whole lot like, “You made your bed, babe.”
While we have a God of grace, loving kindness, and tender mercies, there are times in this life when we must face our choices head on and deal with the consequences of our [hasty] actions. We can still have confidence that God is for us, and ever working on our behalf. This often looks like Him teaching us a lesson now—before we make an even bigger mess.
If you find yourself in that position today, or even better, if you’re on the cusp of deciding how to proceed, can I offer you some wisdom from my hard-learned lesson?
Listen before you speak.
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. However, 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 right now.
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, that state of mind leaves me too wrung dry to say “yes” when God calls me to do what He has chosen for me. 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 God has for us.
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, you gut it out and finish what you started—to the glory of God.
Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.
Colossians 3:24b MSG
Because our God is faithful, just and so very good, He turns our mistakes into powerful lessons. There is a far-reaching freedom in learning that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should—or have to. Every “no” we deliver for the right reasons, is truly a “yes” for God. ♥
By His endless grace,
Friends, I’ll be in and out this summer as I enjoy some extra fun and sunshine with family. I’d love for you to join me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest for community and real conversation throughout the week. You can also subscribe to the blog here for posts direct to your email inbox.
This post was edited from archives and originally posted on Simply for One.