Wednesday, May 18, 2011

There is no way I can do this!

I remember sitting in the office of a friend in ministry six months ago when she looked me in the eye and said, "You know, Susan, there is no way you can do this...only God is capable of doing something this grand." In my cynicism (not really appreciating her direct tone) and my mounting to-do-list, I quickly moved on to the next conversation of the day, but her words lingered with me.

Last night as I arrived at my daughter's girl scout dinner carrying my half-baked mac-n-cheese, wearing stained pants, and accompanied by my pouting 7 year-old, I was reminded of her words. Just an hour before arriving at the dinner, I had realized I had underestimated the time it would take to do all I needed to do in the next hour. I rushed at a record breaking pace, throwing ingredients in a dish, even breaking a plate along the way, but somehow we managed to make it there on time. I was a mess ... and to be honest, I am a mess most days. I forget things, don't get near enough sleep, realize my children have nothing to wear to school because I have not washed clothes yet, clean well only when we're having company (sorry, honey!), and I could go on. I'm a mess.

I want to make a confession. So, here I go: There is no way I can start a church. My friend was right. I cannot pretend any longer that I have the leadership skills, the experience, the education, the creativity, the perseverance, the patience, or the ability to multi-task a billion-and-one things. If this is going to happen, I will have to get out of the way and make space for something much more powerful, much more creative, much more patient, more experienced and more persistent to bring this into being.

My friend's words have lingered because I need to remember them. I need to confess my inadequacies, to remind myself and those around me that what God wants to bring into being is far greater than our abilities. When I try to manage and manipulate it into existence, I end up exhausted and ineffective. When I remember that it is God that is capable and God that has called me, I am free to show up with my half-baked casserole and enjoy the meal anyway. It was never about me in the first place.

Thanks be to God!


  1. Susan,

    I just saw your blog for the first time, via Facebook. It may seem strange but your "confession" and wornoutness and exhaustion are encouragement and refreshment to others, at least to me. So go ahead, pour yourself out, the Lord will refill your cup and others will be filled.

    David Wilderman

  2. Thanks, David! It is always a challenge for me to maintain the balance of pouring and refilling, but I'll keep at it. Thanks for the encouragement.