No One Told Him He Couldn’t
We walk into the expansive gym- ceilings to the sky, open air echoing with the sounds of pure delight, a little chaos, and the pounding of small feet on the mats. My boys bound around, not a care in the world, looking for their next thrill.
As we walk around the gymnastics equipment, my oldest zeros in on a spring board and a bar. “Hanging makes me strong, Mom.” He insists. And so, I follow him over, my youngest trailing behind.
The older one, bounces and catches the bar, with little effort, his height an asset to the apparatus. But then, I notice my younger son eying it too. With confidence, he gets in line to wait his turn on the spring board. If my brother can do it, then certainly I can- he must be thinking.
He follows the pattern his older, taller brother followed… run, bounce, catch.
Run, bounce… fall.
The pattern didn’t follow suit.
All smiles, he got back up, walking to the back of the line again- determined to try yet again. When his turn comes up, he runs, bounces… and… falls. Yet again, his pattern is different. He still smiles when falling. The thrill of the bounce and flying through the air is enough motivation to get him right back in line to try yet again.
Ten. Twenty. Then thirty times, my boy tries.
No one has told him he can’t. No one has told him he won’t get it, and so instinctively he knows, if I keep going, eventually I’ll get it.
I stand in awe at this tenacity. His frustration level didn’t rise.
He just kept trying.
A few times his fingertips hit the bar, and that was reward enough to keep trying. But, as I watched, I realized there was something I could do help. With his height, he needed the spring board just a touch closer to the bar. So, we made the small adjustment.
Run, bounce, fall. Again and again. Until… Run, bounce, SWING. Run, bounce, SWING.
Smiles a mile wide, we laughed together as he hung there like a monkey. You bet I celebrated when he caught it, again and again.
And you better believe I celebrated when he kept trying and fell.
Because it wasn’t the accomplishment that thrilled me, but his confidence. His confidence that eventually, if he kept trying, he would get it.
When Were You Told You Couldn’t?
And that’s the thing, as kids we did things, we practiced and practiced. We tried and tired until somewhere along the way we were told, or we told ourselves that we COULDN’T.
We were all artists in first grade, but by seventh some are and some aren’t. We were all ninjas climbing ladders, and monkey bars in third grade, but by ninth, some are athletes, and some aren’t. We are all learners in kindergarten, but somewhere along the way, some are deemed “book smart” and some just… “have other strengths.”
But the reality is God is always about doing new things in us, bringing out new fruit, shaping us for new endeavors. He never says, we can't, or we shouldn't try because... we might not succeed.
The God of New Possibility
Even in the midst of failure, and especially when it seems like there are parts of us that are dying, even then he is the God who whispers… “keep going, I’m by your side!”
As we see in the book of Isaiah, God is the God who brings new possibilities out of the dead ends and the impossible, and the things we were told we just… couldn’t.
“For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Don’t you see? It’s not our doing that brings the newness, the fruit, or the possible, out of the impossible. It’s God!
The fruit isn’t always the point of growth, because that God’s doing. Our job is to keep trying, keep getting back in line for another shot at the spring board, and to pay attention to where God might be aiming us.
The fruit is a by-product of the effort. Sure, success can be an accomplishment, but not the ONLY accomplishment.
While it’s true that people are given different gifts and talents, that doesn’t mean we can’t grow other skills; and that certainly doesn’t mean we don’t try new things. In fact, because God is the God who brings new possibilities and new fruit to once dead talents, skills, and abilities, We better be on the lookout for the NEW things that God is growing in us.
You Can Always Try Something New
Remember your life is not static, not set in stone. You can always try something new.
Whether you succeed or not, I don’t think is the purpose of trying.
Seeing the growth of who you became in the midst of a project, may be the point, regardless of whether the project was a success or a failure.
Who you became in the midst of falling over and over again, may be just what God wants from your efforts. And our God is the One who is always about making us into who he created us to be.
The God of Endurance and Encouragement
So today, if you’re discouraged with the amount of time and care and energy you’ve put into making a change in your life, or forging a new path, or just digging deep into the things God has called to you in this season, but you don’t see the fruit of your labor…. just yet, be encouraged.
With each new step, you take you have a God who walks beside you. Yes, celebrating the times you catch the bar, but also celebrating the effort you gave, the attempts you made, and for showing up to your actual life in the first place.
For he is the God who gives encouragement AND endurance.
He’s by your side today, this week, this month as you endeavor to live a faithful life. He’s by your side, cheering you on today, this week, this month as you work towards fulfilling a dream, or making a change, or raising a forgotten relationship.
Keep going today, friend- for you have a whole crowd of people in line behind you trying new things, seeking to be faithful, and longing to see God in the midst of it all.
Keep going today, friend!
For you have a God who is not watching far off in the stands, but is right next to you, whispering, “Keep Going. You can do this. Be faithful. I’m doing a new thing in the midst of the process.”
If you're longing to find meaning in the midst of the mundane in your own life, I have a gift written just for you. My e- book called Jesus and Spit: Seeing the Miracle in the Mundane is yours FREE when you sign up here. Join me on this journey to discover the miracles God has in your ordinary life!