In our American society, we’re taught that we can do it. As Walt Disney once said, “If we can dream it, we can do it.” Our innovation and will have created entire industries, from the Industrial Revolution to the Information Age. You’ve also heard the phrase, “If it’s got to be, it’s up to me.” Granted, applying our will and energy toward an end is good, even essential, to being productive—not only for an American culture, but for Christ.
But I believe I’ve found two words that are even more powerful than I can.
It’s I can’t. What I mean is, I do not ultimately have the power to control or improve my life. But Christ in me does. If I have given my heart to Him, and allowed Him to sit in the driver’s seat for me, then I, now in the passenger side, have no handle on the steering wheel. I can ask Jesus to go here or there, turn this way or that, request certain destinations (such as a drive through at Dairy Queen with my wife for a butterscotch dilly bar:), but He is the one with the responsibility to get me there. It is through Him that the actions and movement of my life flow.
It’s a beautiful understanding. I’ve spent so much of my life driving myself to do better, to excel, to make schedules that control my world. Of course these are healthy when applied in a healthy way, but if my foundation is my belief that I am the foundation for these things to make happen, then they won’t. Not in a way that glorifies Jesus.
But to remind myself over and over that I can’t … Not my power … Not my power but Yours, Jesus … empowers me not to assume the weight of the world, but to give it away—to the only One who understands what it takes to hold it up, as He did on the cross.
There is a tremendous release here, a feeling and awareness and joy that I can sit back and enjoy the ride—to discover the scenery, life, the rest of the family in the car, to be myself, to be free.
One of my favorite verses, especially growing up, is Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I’ve fumbled over that verse throughout the years, and have struggled with the problem that I address in this post. What I’ve come to realize is that now that I have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20), it’s not my old self living in me, but Christ in me, through His Spirit. I’m one with Him, an adopted son.
What that means to me is when I give up control of my life to Jesus and let go of my anxieties, worries, stresses, fears, insecurities, wants, needs, hurts, pains, losses, burdens—when I give them all up to Him, He takes them away. Isn’t that beautiful? When I go to work and feel burdened by a responsibility that quickly weighs on me, I have a tool, a reminder, at my defense. I can’t. Help me, Jesus. I can’t do this. Please help me do this! For You!