I love a “never give up” attitude! When my son Jeff, at the age of three, was desperately trying to learn the art of tying his own shoes, I tried to encourage him by saying he had time to learn; there was no rush. Once I learned Tommy Dinkerdoodle—I’ve learned I’m supposed to change the names of people to whom I refer—could tie his shoes without even muttering to himself, I then understood Jeff’s intensity.
One morning when the shoe tying effort was especially unrewarding, I thought I’d inspire Jeff with the words of Winston Churchill spoken during some of England’s darkest days during WWII. (I know. . . I know. Sometimes during my early mothering phase I found myself talking for my own edification.)
“Jeff, honey. . . when it looked as if England would be defeated by the Nazi soldiers marching across Europe and heading for London, Winston Churchill addressed the people and shouted, ‘Never give up. . . never, never, never!’.”
Taken back by my dramatic outburst, Jeff walked into the kitchen and asked if he could maybe have a piece of toast. I decided it would be good if we both had a piece of toast.
Hours later I passed Jeff’s room; he was sitting on the floor once again struggling with his shoe laces. He was muttering over and over, “Never get up. . . never. . . never. . . never.” The inspirational words were incorrect but his spirit of determination ultimately paid off. He lives in California; I live in Texas. I have yet to fly there to help him tie his shoelaces.
Those of us well-schooled in biblical promises know the words of Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (NKJ) But sometimes I wonder if I truly have an accurate interpretation of that verse. Sometimes I’m not sovereignly designed to “do all things”; sometimes I need to trust whatever God intends for me to learn when I don’t succeed. “I can do all things” may mean I will be strengthened as I live through an experience I did not expect or choose. With God’s enablement I can do it.
I need to listen carefully to what God may be teaching me, even when I don’t achieve my goal!
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