Have you ever talked yourself out of doing something, because you were already convinced that you would fail? I do it all the time – I mean ALL the time. When I’m faced with a task that I think will be difficult, unpleasant, or even just outside of my comfort zone, I have this tendency to psych myself out before I even get started. And if I let myself do that for more than a few minutes, I know that I won’t bother starting it at all. After all, what’s the point of trying if you don’t think you’ll succeed?
But here’s the thing – every once in a while I decide that I’m just going to go ahead and do the thing I don’t want to do. Even though I’m dreading it, even though I’m SURE it’s going to be a disaster, I will occasionally find the backbone to face my fears and do it anyway.
Do you know what happens when I do? Normally the thing that I was dreading ends up not being nearly so bad as I’d imagined. I don’t always succeed, but I certainly succeed WAY more often than I would if I didn’t try. And sometimes I surprise myself with how easily I take to the the things that I’d once imagined impossible. Sometimes, moving outside of my comfort zone, I unexpectedly thrive.
That got me thinking recently about the limitations that we put onto our dreams. I realized that there are probably a lot of dreams out there that are abandoned before they’re even attempted, because they require the dreamer to take a step or two out into the unknown – to try something risky, to venture outside of their normal experiences, or to do something that they don’t think they can do. When people are faced with those kind of obstacles, those limitations, they can be quick to run for cover, and to give up before they’ve even begun.
But what we don’t realize about these limitations, is that we’re the ones imposing them on ourselves. We’re the ones who are guaranteeing our own failure, simply by refusing to try. After all, it’s not like God’s put limits on us. He said that we can do ALL THINGS when He is our strength (Philippians 4:19).
So what does “ALL THINGS” mean to us in this context? It certainly has some restrictions – if Jesus is our source of strength, then we can’t expect to do things that are contrary to His character or against His nature. But beyond that, where is the boundary? Where is the limit in a promise like that?
I don’t think that there is a limit – or if there is, it exist much further out than most of us dare to venture. In other words – we can accomplish so much MORE than we give ourselves credit for. The reason we don’t accomplish those things is because we don’t bother to try, or if we do try, we cringe back at the first sign of failure.
For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity. Proverbs 24:16
Here’s the crazy thing about our failures – the Bible says that they aren’t permanent. Presuming that we’re working in righteousness instead of wickedness (presuming that we are leaning on Jesus, listening to His voice, and doing our best to follow after His will) we can fall down all the time, and get back up like nothing happened. We can keep moving forward, keep pushing our limits, keep venturing into the unknown. We don’t have to be afraid!
So is there anything in your life that you’ve talked yourself out of doing? Is there something that you want to achieve that you’ve been unwilling to push for? Have you convinced yourself that you’re a failure just because you fell down a couple of times? Well don’t stand for that lie any longer! Pick yourself up, put aside your fear, and move out into the unknown. If you’re willing to expand the limits that you’ve put on your life, who knows how far God can take you!