Happy New Year!
What I’ve been thinking about lately is will and ability. If you think about the word “responsibility” you can think of it as “response ability.” It’s your ability to respond to life’s demands. Its your capacity to act. Another thing to consider besides ability is willingness. As great American thinker William James describes it, its the “sense of the amount of effort we can put forth.” We all have a power of will. It is my hope and prayer that you have an immense power of will. It is the engine with which you drive your abilities forth in your life. Its the motivation and “want to” of your life and its very important. Its what gets us through the tough and scary moments. Its a part of faith.
So there are two things I want to encourage you in: your capacity to stand in any present moment as “willing and able.” Your willingness to show up, to be fully present and fully engaged in whatever you are doing. This is important, because as I write this our society is struggling to be fully present in the moment. We are easily distracted by media, by our smart phones, and the constant onslaught of information. So stay focused on what is important to you and commit to that. Put the engine of your will into drive and go full throttle towards that. Time is relative; each year time goes by much quicker. So don’t delay in putting forth effort in your life. Act now. Carpe Diem!
Now about your ability. Each one of us has a unique set of abilities, skills, and talents. What I think is most important to grasp and learn in life is your ability to have faith in God through Christ. The ability to “just believe” can be quite difficult at times, even though it really is a simple thing to do. Jesus said in Matthew 19 that “with God all things are possible.” When you organize your life around your faith in God, you will be very surprised at what you will be able to do with your life.
But even then, there are going to be a few things you can’t do. You can’t reason with an unreasonable person. You can’t make other people feel what you want them to feel. You can’t make people do what you want them to do. You can’t take responsibility for other people’s choices. You can’t make God stop loving or pursuing you. So this shows that there are some things in which even though we are willing, we don’t have the ability. This is important – to know your limits. These are God-given limits in which we all live with on the earth.
In saying that, I also want you to remember that its very tempting sometimes to say “I can’t” when in reality you can but are afraid or you don’t want to. So when you catch yourself thinking “I can’t”, be skeptical and discern if fear or lack of desire is influencing you. If so, then don’t lie to yourself by saying “I can’t” but instead state your honest feelings of fear or that you don’t want to. This is part of staying true to yourself. If you are facing a demand that is against your principles, don’t say “I can’t”. Its more accurate to say “I won’t.” That is about your will, not your ability.
Remember to always consider your willingness and ability in any situation you find. You have been blessed in many ways and have your own unique course to navigate in this life. I conclude this missive from the beginning of 2017 with an encouragement from Hebrews 12. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”