“You’ve got this.”
Sometimes we just need someone to say these words to us.
Those are the words I whispered to myself the other day as I was scrolling through a bazillion images on Pinterest, Etsy and the like.
Somehow I have found myself helping to plan a new young mom’s ministry, and helping of all things, to plan the crafts too.
And to my craft-challenged brain, I might as well be studying quantum physics. Very seriously!
Because while it’s a beautiful thing when we feel confident and our abilities line up effortlessly with whatever task is in front of us, it’s quite another thing to feel completely inadequate.
But I also know that God uses surprising people in some surprising ways. He has always been about using the simple to stump the wise. The gospel has always been about rescue and redemption, where we are never to be the hero. So it’s unsurprising that the God of the universe, in His wisdom and grace and possibly loving humor, calls us out not just in our strengths, but in our utter weaknesses too.
As Christians, it’s really hard to get around John 15:5, reminding us that apart from Christ, we can do nothing.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. ~ John 15:5
And honestly, I still struggle to take this to heart. I wrestle constantly with self-sufficiency. Often there is this little nagging pride in me that believes it is kind of about me measuring up too.
So serving in ways that make my limitations loom large and highlight my weaknesses?
I mostly want to run far and fast from that.
But then, I am reminded again that God has never been intimidated by the seemingly disqualified. How I forget that He doesn’t choose people the way we do – we who are so easily enamored with the exterior of a person. He doesn’t just look at what someone can do, but what He can do through them.
Just think of these people.
Abraham thought he was too old. Jeremiah felt he was too young. Elijah struggled with depressive thoughts and suicide. Moses was introverted and lacked eloquence of speech. Gideon battled anxiety. Samson had issues with anger. Rahab was a prostitute. Naomi was a bitter widow. Martha was a worrier and a control freak. The apostles were really just nobodies. Thomas doubted Christ. Paul had a horrific, unthinkable past.
Not the most stellar of folks, yet God accomplished a great work of redemption through them anyway.
It’s not that we aim to be weak, broken and flawed, it’s just that the reality is, we are.
So though it’s painful, maybe it’s not entirely wasteful to feel out of our element at times, to admit others can do things better, to feel unimpressive, and honestly, to simply fail in our own strength.
Because I’m beginning to think one of the temptations out there in ministry, especially in times of discouragement, is believing that the effectiveness of God’s work is dependent on us being capable.
Of course, there’s a very real place for qualifications, preparation and faithfulness … but at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done? The fruit of God’s work has always been simply because He is God.
Putting together a few crafts is not a big deal in the whole scheme of things, but God will call us out of ourselves, beyond ourselves, despite ourselves … to do things, to go places, to love others in the very season when we feel we can’t do any of it well on our own. We can pretty much count on this, my friends.
But there’s a lot of grace.
I know it feels so good when we can say, “I’ve got this.”
But I think there’s infinitely more strength in saying, despite our weakness, “I don’t have this, but my God does.”
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9