Phil. 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” This verse has helped all of us get through a tough time or a tough day. Jesus is our strength in all that He desires for us to do. But I used to read this verse all wrong. I emphasized the word all and tried to do it all. Then when I failed, I questioned God. I tried to be the super mom, the super wife, the super daughter, the super friend, the super housekeeper, the super piano teacher, the super Sunday school teacher, the super cook, the super mentor, the super neighbor, and the super witness for Christ – all in the same day! Day after day! Yeah, I burned out big time. (The picture is one of my super heroes, my grandson, Nolan.)
The tears came whenever I would read a woman’s magazine or a homeschool magazine. Those women seemed to be able to do it all and to do it all better than me! Their houses looked amazing; they dressed like super models; they cooked gourmet meals; they organized their closets; they found time to read real grown-up books; their children won awards; and their husbands called them blessed! I dimmed in comparison. So I would quote my Philippians 3:13 and try even harder!
Then, one day my husband saw me coming from my room in tears and asked what the matter was. I told him everything and how I fell so short at so much. He laughed. (Yep, he’s a real sensitive type!) He laughed and asked me to look at the bylines of all those articles. As I did, I realized that no woman wrote more than one article. In other words, I was comparing myself to the expertise of a whole panel of woman. The world-class cook did not write an article on organization. The fashion model did not expound on baking her own bread. And the Mom whose kids won all kinds of rewards did not write reviews on the latest books! Hey, maybe I didn’t have to do it all!
As I grew in my Christian faith, Bible understanding, and relationship with Christ, I began to accept my own strengths and weaknesses. I could write an article on raising kids, but you would never want to read something that I wrote about cooking a turkey! (That’s a story for another day!) I also learned that the “all” of Phil. 4:13 meant all that God asked me to do or to go through. I didn’t need to worry about how I would respond in someone else’s circumstances. God gives grace to each of us as we need it. I just needed to look to Him for my strength in the matters of my life and laugh and cry with Him along the way. I learned to emphasize different words in Phil. 4:13. Now i say it, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
There is freedom in this! Different stages of life require different skills, different reactions, and different strengths. I will trust God in all that I do because I will be about doing all that He asks me to do. He knows me and has a purpose and plan for my life that is different than the purpose and plan that He has for your life. I will not judge you or myself for what we do, rather I will praise God for the ability to do the things He gives me to do and I will praise Him for giving me the strength to do it! Flowers growing next to one another do not compare themselves to each other; they just bloom!
Hint for the Day: List the things that you enjoy doing. Then list the things that you would like to learn to do. Finally, list the things that you don’t ever want to do! (Changing a tire would make that last list for me!) Then give your lists to God and ask Him to give you the strength for every day and everything that He allows to come into your life. Then do your best, pray for God’s wisdom and guidance, and walk in freedom and joy!