Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Can

I had a few funny ideas, at the beginning of this year. I had always told myself I was incapable of running. I had been the slow kid from day one-- I was the stereotypical kid who was always picked last for any game involving speed and coordination (if you've ever watched me attempt dodge ball, you know why). But I knew I would be healthier with more exercise, so somehow I got it into my head that I would start running three times a week.

We talk ourselves out of things so often. We look at something difficult and say "I can't." We build up walls and insist that we will never be able to climb over them.

For example, running. Those of you who have known me for a while know that I was incredibly ill two years ago, for about 6 months. Towards the end of that time, there were days when I couldn't even manage to climb the 8 steps to the room I share with my sisters. A little less than two years later, I can run a 10-minute mile. Not that it's terribly impressive, but it's something I always said I couldn't do, and definitely could never do before. And I've found out a few things along the way. One is that you should never, ever talk yourself out of something worthwhile because you're "not good enough" or, worse, you'll "look silly." But most of all, I've learned this:

God hears us say "I can't" and laughs.

God is so much bigger than "I can't." He's so much stronger than the boundaries we set in our minds. He can. No matter what it is, small or large, He is able to do things we could never imagine. To use my running example again, I have prayed before starting each and every run, because I know that if He is not my strength, I'm going to falter and fall.

I have heard a lot of "I can't," and my heart breaks over those who use those words so often. "I can't love this person." "I can't go to college." "I can't find a job." "I can't learn how to do this." "I can't get better." "I can't get along with my family." Or, worst of all-- "I can't trust God on this."

And that last one is at the heart of every "I can't." We, as lost and lonely souls, get confused sometimes. We get this feeling that being able to do something is dependent on us, on our strengths, on our talents, on our ability to say things right, on our situation. But that is to skip ahead, to miss the starting point, to start the story half-way through. It has to start with a quiet, gentle moment of telling God "I can't. But You can."

And it is then that we find ourselves doing things that we never dreamed we could, because we are drawing the strength from the right place.

I don't care who you are or what you've done or how weak or untalented or unfaithful or unloving you are-- God's love is the constant whisper that states that you can move to be more than your fears and failures could ever admit or understand. Don't be afraid to simply go to Him and beg Him for strength. He's always going to listen, and He's never going to give up and leave you stranded in a place too dark for rescue.

My words feel clumsy and clouded to me-- more so than usual, that is. But most of all I simply want to encourage you to reach for the God who makes all things new, the God of strength who redefines everything we've ever assumed about what we can and can't do.

"Are You really more faithful than the changing of the seasons and the morning sun?
Do You really know my name? Can I really come to You?
I can."

- Elraen -


Lethie said...

This is truely inspiring! i am definately going to keep your dedication and determination in mind as i start working out. and hopefully i can remember this post and try not to use "i cant" anymore because as you said with god with us we can do anything we ask him for help with :D thanks again mary <3

Liz said...

love this :) and also, for the record a 6 minute mile is good for an in shape cross country runner, you are doing VERY well so be proud of your hardwork :)

love you!! ♥

meg said...

i know that we don't "talk" very much but i consider you friends... this is crazy, right? well, i do that because you always seem to update your status, twitter, or blog, to something that i'm going through or feeling or dealing with.

its so strange and encouraging.

basically, friend, you're a huge blessing. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks. That was beautiful and very encouraging. :) *hugs* -- Angel