Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do The Work

Don't misunderstand me. (Read last post; do not misunderstand.) I believe firmly in hard work, in pushing yourself, in constantly growing and seeking and learning. There are things within each of us that we can do, even if we've never tried, and we should never be afraid to pick up something new or to tackle some big project.

Need something done? I am all for giving it a go yourself. See if you can. See if you can figure it out or partner with a friend in making it happen. Maybe I'm saying all of this because it is in me to be so, but God created us to tinker. He created us to play around, to toss an idea in our heads, to hold a prototype in our hands. He created us to look at something and say, "You know, I never have...but maybe I could."

It is by this that we come to discover His gift in us and our passions within our hearts. It is by this we come to know ourselves and know Him. It is by this we gain confidence and grow in faith. Because we see that we can - and we see that He is right here with us while we're trying to figure it out. It is also by this that we are humbled. We learn our limitations and our vulnerabilities. We see that we are no invincible because contrary to what our parents, families, teachers, and mentors taught us growing up - there will be some things we just can't do.

And many others that we shouldn't.

I've always been the kind of girl who will tackle anything. I'll do it if it needs done. If I don't know how, I'll figure it out. My brother and I have joked about this because we both have it in us - give us something for five minutes. Let us look at it like a monkey with a math book. And suddenly, out of nowhere, we'll figure it out. I call this God's gift of tinkering, and He has certainly blessed me greatly with it.

But one of the disciplines I have had to learn in my life is that just because I can doesn't mean I should.

Some religious people will spin off on a tangent here. They'll insert a sermon about how when we take on a task that isn't God-ordained for us, we are stepping on the toes of the person He's calling to do it. That we're being selfish and serving no one. That we may do good work, but it is not A good work because we ripped it right out of the hands of someone better qualified, better able, and perfectly gifted to do it.

Sorry, but that's crap. To an extent. Because if we follow that, we wait until we are perfectly suited for something, push every task off to another task force, do nothing, and end up wasting our lives and never growing because there is ALWAYS someone who can do it better.

God doesn't only call us to do and to serve where we are perfect to do so. He calls us to areas where He's hidden our passions, and He invites us to discover them. He invites us to push, to grow, to learn, to develop, and to somewhere along the way touch something we didn't know laid dormant in us but become ever-so-thankful for and absolutely humbled by the more we come in contact with it. It is a discovery process.

So we should never be afraid to try. We should never be afraid to commit ourselves. We should never be afraid to study, to learn, to practice, to fail. It is by this that we grow. It is by this that we find strength. It is by this we build our confidence and faith that makes us all the more willing to take the next risk. It is by this that we learn to love. It is by this that we are able to serve. It is by this we know what we were created for and by Whom.

Trying, failing, learning, growing - this discipline leads to knowing.

When David anointed Solomon to succeed him as king, he offered his son these words: "Be strong and courageous, and do the work." (1 Chronicles 28:20)

God offers us the same words. He tells us to be strong, to be bold, but to do the work. We just have to realize that we don't have to do ALL the work.

The greatest discipline we can develop, then, is discernment. To know where to push ourselves, where to pick up and try, where to commit to learning and growing and finding and serving and loving and building and doing....and to know where to fall back, to surrender, to relinquish, to stop because maybe we could, but we shouldn't, be doing something. Because maybe we could learn the function and the form, but we could never grow the passion; God would never put in us a heart to do that particular something. And we know if we dive into the function and form, then it won't be long before even our passions are rote. We'll forget to live loving. We'll forget to live joy.

Our hearts, our lives, our faith, our productivity, our accomplishments, our purpose, our everything will suffer if we don't do the work. But they will suffer, too, if we do the wrong work.

Pray about it. Seek God's input. Ask Him what He created you for, what you're supposed to be doing. Ask Him what you need to surrender, what you need to quit in order to fuel your heart for the life He meant you to live. Ask, and He will answer. Then, do the work.

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