A Can’t Do Attitude

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This week y’all, it’s been a doozy. While it may not compare to others’ weeks and what some are currently working through, it’s been a week of coming to bear out some things I have been wrestling with for a good long stint.

One of those being the mindset I have clung to that I can do it all myself. For a while I was claiming Philippians 4:13 in the midst of my doing, and fretting, and frustrations. Oh yes, I CAN do all things was what I would tell myself. My word did I misuse that verse to do things in vain and in my own way.

This week I went in to a couple of coworkers and said “I have to admit defeat and ask for help on some of these responsibilities.” To which one of them lovingly looked at me and said “It’s not defeat to ask for help, and we’ve been waiting for you to ask.” So y’all, I was wearing my weariness, anxiety, stress and CAN DO-ness out there for all to see. And it was not pretty…believe me I see it.

But from then on, I felt lightness as if a burden had been lifted from my back that I didn’t have to trudge along with. Over the last 24 hours I have thought about that and my attitude of “I can do this, and this and this and this.” I realized that I had made it a “had to” attitude instead of a “can but will ask for help” attitude. I made it the mandate to do it all, no one else did.

You see when I go back into Philippians 4 and point to verse 13 that I can do all of this through Him who strengthens me, I found that I hadn’t really looked for strength in Him first of all. Secondly, when I read the verses surrounding it in context I see that others were sharing in Paul’s distress, they were seeking to care for him in the state he was currently in and they had not had the opportunity to do so.

In my striving of can do-ness on my own, I wasn’t allowing others the opportunity to live out their God-given care for me. I was pursuing my own definition of success through a “have to” attitude that I had put upon myself instead of stepping into His strength, putting on humility and leaning into the beautiful community of care from those around me. Pursuing the right things with the wrong attitude will get us to the same spot as pursuing the wrong things.

I had to realize that I cannot do it all and I have to relinquish that sinful mindset. I can ask for help, I can be weak and seek strength that can only come from Him, and I can understand that it’s an opportunity for others to come along in my journey as well. It’s in fact not about me at all, and the more I realize that the more I’ll see it’s all about Him.

He can do and He does.

Seeking Deliverance

Do you ever feel wronged? Like injustices are levied against you, repetitively to where you just can’t seem to win? During my Junior year of college I felt that way with a particular class. I just couldn’t win with the professor, no matter how many office hours I went to, no matter how many extra credit assignments I worked, I just couldn’t seem to grasp his method of teaching finance. I poured over the book, would dig into notes and still wind up feeling muddled and confused by the exams and projects. It came to a point of just hoping to get through it without falling below a C so I wouldn’t have to retake it my final semester at UT.

That semester saw me pull a C in that class, and the only time I have ever been proud to get C. (For the record I only received two other Cs-my Freshmen year, and that was because I was finding my new found freedom in not attending College Calculus and English) I was desiring after deliverance from the class after only three weeks in the semester.

I was thinking on that situation, as well as some others over the span of my life, where I was merely seeking to be delivered from the circumstances I found myself in. Circumstances I felt were injustices levied against me, and ones I would not have chosen had I had a say so in them. I couldn’t help but think of Joseph. While his situations differ quite drastically from those I found myself in, I find his example to be one which is best followed when responding to life.

You see Joseph didn’t ask for his brothers to sell him off to a band of travelers which caused his enslavement (yes, Joseph got a bit mouthy about his dreams of being above the family, but let’s just chalk that up to being the sassy-pants youngest child). Joseph didn’t ask to be placed within Potiphar’s house, nor did he beg to be seduced by his wife and then falsely accused of advances when he held strong to his integrity and character.

But we see over and over in just a few chapters in Genesis that God was with Joseph. He was with him and Joseph prospered. (Don’t confuse this with prosperity gospel, please…) Joseph didn’t rely upon God because of what God could give to him, but rather because Joseph knew God was with him in the midst of it all. He trusted that the Lord was with him and his character remained unchanging when he faced enslavement, imprisonment and success within Pharaoh’s employment.

There is a real difference in praying for deliverance from a situation and praying to seek God in all things. It’s an attitude shift and a perspective change. One that Joseph illustrated repeatedly throughout a life filled with injustice and enslavement. When we seek deliverance we place our good above that which God knows is good. We believe we know better than the Sovereign God.

Do some circumstances just plain stink? Absolutely.

Do I want to be delivered out of them? You bet.

But sometimes that just isn’t possible because that’s not what needs to be done. When I set my sights on deliverance, instead of God I hear my voice instead of His alot more. I hear my justifications of rightness and not of His promises. When I seek Him, I don’t see the slights or hurts as often, because I am no longer self-focused. I am driven by the will of Him who seeks to bring about every situation for good if I but allow His work to be done in and through me.

Even in the darkness of the prisons we find ourselves in, the Lord is with us and shows his kindness to us if we but seek Him instead of our own plan of deliverance.

The Chemicals Between Us

As much as we have distractions these days, we also have choices. They are everywhere, including gluten free, fragrance free, and peanut free just to name a few.

Today you have the choice on what you let affect you. Today you have the choice on how you process and how you respond. Instead of reacting to someone, or their actions, choose to respond. There’s a stark difference in reacting and responding. Far too often we make the choice to react. It’s in our chemical nature to automatically react to a situation or an individual. Dr. Henry Cloud points to the difference in the two:

When I react, they are in control. When I respond, I am.

Do you give into the reaction and allow the control you have on your emotions to be let loose? I know I do alot of the time. I am a reactor. Unfortunately the example of such a thing is a nuclear reactor that many fear when the alarms start blaring. But when I look to an example of a responder? That’s easy, I see a first responder to an emergency scene. They are calm, collected, and assessing the scene before them with poise. The difference is so drastic but it comes from work, learning, and time.

Today is a good day to start the lesson of responding instead of reacting…we all have the choice. For you, which will you choose?