March 13, 2013 Leave a comment
If you want to tempt someone to failure, here are some helpful phrases:
- I could never do that.
- I don’t know how you do it.
- I am in awe.
- I tried to do what you’re doing, but I just couldn’t.
- I can’t do that. That’s too difficult.
I am confident that the people who say these sorts of things mean really, really well. The problem is that these phrases are isolating. They push away the people who need encouragement far more than they need the top of a lonely pedestal.
Phrases like these imply that there must be something special about the person doing whatever it is that they’re doing. Not use birth control? I could never do that. Have more than two kids? I don’t know how you do it. Stay Catholic when even the priests sin? I tried doing that, but I just couldn’t. Deny very real sexual urges here and now in the hopes of eternal life? I can’t do that. That’s too difficult.
See what I mean yet? Normal people can’t do any of those things. There must be something special about you. I could never be special like you.
So when really sweet, really well-meaning people gave me several of the phrases from the list above, I wavered. A lot. I’m not as special as these people seem to think I am, so I need to stop kidding myself that I can do this Lenten Challenge. I need to get my kids McDonald’s on a busy Friday, because I’m not special enough to feed them yet another dinner out of yet another Thermos. If I’m at a wedding and they give me the chicken instead of the vegetarian dish, I’m not special enough to ask them to take it back.
Or am I? It’s scary to think that I might be. Because that would make my life even harder than it already is.
You know what? It’s probably scary for you to think that you might be that special, too. If you are, that means… you might have to try harder. And you’re probably already trying so very, VERY HARD! So what do you DO?!?
Do you really believe Philippians 4:13? If not, spend some time with Romans 12: 2. God doesn’t want other people’s definition of “normal” to limit how much you let His light shine through the stained glass of your actions.
And that has been my lesson in falling this Lent. This picture has been a bit of a comfort: