Saturday, February 13, 2010

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

And I can do them all at once.

This past Sunday morning I was supposed to participate in a half marathon. This past Saturday night I realized that I could not find my or my running buddy's bib anywhere (for non-race people a bib is the number thing they make you wear). We searched for hours. They were no where to be found. The race we were going to run is fairly small and I was warned that if I attempted to sneak in I would be spotted quickly, so I skipped a race that I have been planning to do since last October.

Here is the good news: I was disappointed but I wasn't angry with myself. Now, I realize that the idea that I would get mad at myself for something as simple as losing a sheet of paper might seem excessive, but I can't tell you how many times I have been livid over small mistakes. I start in on how irresponsible I am and lazy and incapable. I really am my own worst critic. Worst off for years I took these failures as a sign that I was not relying on God. Any shortcoming somehow was translated in my mind as a sin against God, because if I was a good Christian living up to God's standard I could "Do all things," and I could do them all at once.

For years I believed that my messy room meant I wasn't a good Christian. My B grades were a sign that I was simply not a disciplined Christian. If I wasn't leading at least 3 volunteer ministries I was positively abusing God's grace. Furthermore, while doing all those things I needed to have good job and a great social life because without them I would have an imbalanced life and poorly reflect God's image. Even being sick or tired was a sign that I was not living up to God's standard, because I can "do all things" all at once.

Over the past few years I feel like I have learned more and more that the verse really is about doing all things through Christ, but not all things at once, and not by my shear force of will to be perfect Christian. Nonetheless, I can do all things, in their proper place and time through Christ. In order to get to that place of recognition I also had to learn that God probably does not care about the clothes on my floor (unless they are a sign of my excess, but that is a different blog). God is concerned with strengthening me for the work of the kingdom (see the verse in context, Phil 4:13, it is clearly in reference to Paul doing the work of spreading the good news and not about Paul's ability to do anything else).

In reality I am not excited that I have yet to complete a half marathon, I will start training again soon, while I am also working on getting my hurt knee to feel better. I am excited that although I believe God cares deeply about how I care for the body I have been given, God doesn't think less of me when I can't find important papers.

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