“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” Jame 1:22
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
I was researching famous quotes from plays for some marketing I am doing for work. It was interesting to read these quotes as so many of them have turned into phrases used on a daily basis and I will wager to guess most people don’t know their origin. (an exception being my friend Karen…she seems to have a wealth of background knowledge on many topics.) All of the following are from Shakespeare: “I wear my heart upon my sleeve”;”‘T’is neither here nor there”,”what ‘s done is done”,”A dish fit for the gods”;”We have seen better days”;”I ‘ll not budge an inch”;”He hath eaten me out of house and home”;I cannot tell what the dickens his name is”;”Why, then the world ‘s mine oyster”; “This is the short and the long of it”;”But love is blind…”;”For ever and a day”;”Can one desire too much of a good thing?”;”Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”; “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”; “…it was greek to me”. …and the list goes on. There was another quote that I came across, of which I had not heard before, but it grabbed my attention. “Nothing comes of nothing.”
This quote a la Shakespeare reminded me of a similar idea: ‘doing the same thing but expecting different results’. In my mind I try to change my thinking, my perspective, my goals, etc, with the hopes of changing my circumstances, but outwardly my actions don’t follow suit and my goals are left unmet. This happens often with my goals for a healthy lifestyle. I want to maintain a certain weight, or have more muscle tone and I know how I could accomplish this. I even go so far as to anticipate the feeling of success if I were to actually achieve my goal. Too often, however when the opportunity arises to work out, the idea of putting on my workout clothes seems too involved. (The running bra alone is enough to kill the idea.) First I’ll have to stretch, and then work out long enough to make it beneficial. In the end I’ll be all sweaty and have to take a shower…do my hair…get re-dressed. That’s a lot of work…I’ll do it tomorrow when I’m not so tired. Besides, my time is better spent with the kids. Maybe we’ll make cookies. This pattern gets repeated again and again and I eventually become frustrated with myself for not achieving my goals, because I’ve physically done nothing.. So what do I do? I start the ‘thought process’ over again. It’s all a bunch of nothing.
The same thing can be applied to my spiritual walk. I can read and study the Bible (God’s Word), I can discuss a piece of scripture or something that God is revealing to me, but unless I turn those thoughts into an action, they are meaningless and I don’t truly understand what it would mean for my life. I can say I have faith, but until I have to trust God during a challenging time my claimed faith means very little and I won’t mature, allowing me to get to the next plateau God has planned for me. I can have my testimony eloquently prepared, but until I actually share it with someone who needs to hear it, it can’t be used by God. I can forgive in my mind, but unless I actually say it to the person who has wronged me, and treat the person in a manner that shows I’m not holding their sin against them, then my claim of forgiveness may be called into question, therefore jeopardizing God’s forgiveness of me. In a similar way, if I repent of a sin, but do not change my ways, my repentance is called into question, reconciliation will not occur, and an incredible opportunity to show how God can redeem any situation will be missed.
How do I actually bring about change? How do I move past thinking to doing? The answer was in that last question. Move past the thinking (because I’ve done enough of it and I know what is the right thing to do) and just do it. Trust and obey. I need to take a stand. Risk my heart. Lend a hand. Do the opposite of what I feel like doing. Do I really want to be standing before God one day and see all my good intentions burn up in front of me? Am I strong enough to stand there and allow God to reveal to me all that could have been accomplished through me? He may not show me a video of how things could have been, but I do believe I will have a very profound understanding of all the power that was actually at my disposal and from there my imagination will reveal what could have been. And no, I am not strong enough to stand there and feel that regret. Yes, His grace and love will hold me up no matter all the nothings in my life, but I’d rather not bear that grief, even for the most brief time.
Dear Heavenly Father, through You I know I have the strength and ability to accomplish God-sized things. Please keep my thoughts in check and the excuses at bay. I do not want any regrets. I am Your vessel; with fear and trembling I say pour me out as You see fit. I want You to say, “well done, Marilou.” In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.”