I sat there on the side porch at my brother's home this summer soaking in the "quiet" of the rural setting. The quiet was relative---birds were singing and the water feature in the yard was bubbling softly. A quarter of a mile away a car whizzed by on the highway.
Ahh, but it was bliss. I was surrounded by the calm spirit that my sister-in-law had created in their quaint and neat farm home, the same home where my grandmother was born over 100 years ago. I was surrounded by the evidence of her green thumb in the planters that occupied the porch with me.
This idyllic moment was perfect. Me on the quiet porch with my coffee and Bible, ready to hear what God had to say to me that morning. All alone in this picturesque setting since everyone else had left earlier.
But then the bubble popped!
And the disrupting thoughts began to run through my mind.
"I can't create this atmosphere in my home."
"I can't make plants grow like she does."
"I can't keep my house as neat and tidy as she does."
"I can't do this or that, or be like this or that, or...."
Feeling the all too familiar feelings of defeat and inadequacies, I sighed and opened the Scriptures to the last verse I had read and to continue my walk through the book of Jude.
It is a very small book. Only 25 verses total. Not even enough words to warrant 2 chapters.
Picking up where I had left off the last time, I opened the Bible and read Jude 24...
"Now to Him who is able....."
God is able.
I was struck by the contrast of my thoughts and the Words of God.
I can't. He is Able
I can't but He can....
Keep my from stumbling and make me stand in His
presence blameless with great joy.
"So, what else is God able to do?" I asked myself.
After cross-referencing Jude 24, I found that God is also able to...
Establish me (Romans 16:25)
Do exceeding abundantly beyond anything I can ask or
think (Ephesians 3:20)
Make all grace abound to me (2 Corinthians 9:8)
Guard what I have entrusted to Him (2 Timothy 1:9)
Come to my aid when I am tempted (Hebrews 2:18)
Save those who draw near to Him (Hebrews 7:25)
It was then that I realized that I had been dwelling on the wrong list. I had been dwelling on my "I can't" list. Instead, I needed to dwell on God's "I can" list.
Okay, I can't do it all. I can't even do the things I can do right every time. I'm not perfect. I'm willing to accept that. I'm okay with that...most of the time. But sometimes the ugly feelings and thoughts of inadequacy creep in and mess with my perception of me and life.
This morning God was saying to me, "Mary, it's not about what you CAN'T do, it is about what I CAN do."
It's about setting my mind on the things above (God) and not on the things below (me).
Jesus summed it up best.
"Apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
But God finished the thought in Philippians 4:13
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
I can't but that's okay because God is able.