Saturday, September 22, 2018

I Can't

I said to my daughter this morning, “You need to clean your room.  Your grandmother is coming next week and she will be staying in your room.”
She replied, “I think I should wait until the last minute to clean it…that way it will stay clean.”
“How about this,” I replied, “You clean it today…and then keep it clean!”
“I can’t!!!!”
We have probably all heard it said, “You can do anything if you just put your mind to it!”
Though I believe this to be true in this situation…in the broad spectrum???
Not true.
As a 42 year old father of four…I have yet to give birth…anatomically…not going to happen.
There are indeed some things that I cannot and will never be able to do.  I will never run the 400m dash in under a minute again.  I suppose it could be argued, that if I trained and worked hard for it and remembered to stretch my legs after each workout, it could be achieved.  There is a problem with that…I have no intention of training and stretching so as to run the 400m dash in less than the bench marked 60 seconds.  So, can I do it with the right training? Maybe…but perhaps the better question is…why?  Why do I care and what is the point of a 42 year old being able to run a 60 second 400m?
There are other things that I can’t do.  I can’t high jump over 5 ft. I can’t stand up without my knees popping. I can’t eat a taco without belching up peppers for the next 6 hours.  I can’t check my blind spot without turning my entire torso.
There are times however, where I use the words, “I can’t”…when I should say, “I can…because God has called me and said I can.”
“God, I can’t do it! I can’t do what you say I can do! I can’t love and care for that person…they are too needy…they are too critical…they don’t even like me…they don’t respect me…I can’t do it!”
Perhaps, the beliefs we battle most consistently are things like… “God…I am not good enough to do what you want me to do…I am too messed up…I am not worthy…I am no good at this, that, or the other thing.”
Moses dealt with this when God confronted him at the burning bush… “Moses…go talk to Pharaoh.”
“Here’s the thing...public speaking is not really my thing!”
In John 21 we find the disciples…specifically Peter…falling into this trap as well.  After having been with Jesus for more than three years…he messed up…big time.  He denied the man he said he would never turn on…and now Jesus has raised and we find Peter, though overjoyed that his friend is alive, seeing himself as nothing but a fisherman.  He could not do what Jesus called him to do…to follow him.  So, he goes back to what he has always known…what he has always done.
I think that Peter has moved into an “I can’t” mode, because he knows that he failed.  Yet, I believe that there is something greater going on.  Perhaps, Peter is right…he can’t…we can’t…but, Jesus can…and Jesus does and he does it in us and through us.  Perhaps, I am right in understanding what I “can’t” do…  but I am wrong in not believing that Jesus “can” do it through me…even after I have failed.

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