I’m not sure at what point in my life I gave myself some sort of unspoken challenge. To make myself great. To be successful. To live an exotic, adventurous life. To make my pain and failures into something good. Some sort of dust I can rise from.
I don’t know when I started being so hard on myself. When I found myself overwhelmed by the heavy responsibility on my shoulders.
I’m also not sure when I realized that I did that to myself. No one else gave me this false responsibility.
No one else expects perfection.
No one else judges every single aspect of success in my life.
No one else watches how much I can raise from the dust.
I put this responsibility on myself. And then I cried to God when I couldn’t be successful. When I failed to make a name for myself. When I lost to pride and fear. I wondered why I couldn’t do it.
Why I will never be able to do it on my own.
This has been a theme of my life these last few weeks. You may have noticed if you keep up with each blog. And it’s kept up through my biblical studies as well. Check out these verses from Genesis 12.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
– Genesis 12:1-3
Abram’s responsibility here is 0. Nothing. God hasn’t told Abram to do anything but go and obey. He hasn’t told him to make a great nation or make a name for himself or bless the earth.
Instead, God says “I will” five times in three verses. There is no “If you will… I will.” There is no “Succeed in this and I’ll do this.” It is a unilateral promise from God to Abram. God has explained what HE will do. What HIS responsibility is. What HIS plan is. All Abram had to do was be chosen by God and listen.
Here it is all on God.
It is not and will never be up to us.
Because when we try to do it ourselves, we will always fail.
Like in Chapter 11.
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
– Genesis 11:4
Let us make the name. Let us figure out how to reach the heavens. How to stay safely in one spot. How to disobey God and hold all control.
In chapter 9 verses 1 and 7, God told the people of Noah, these same people who would later build the Tower, to fill the earth. He told them to scatter. And yet they stayed together and built the tower in the hopes of NOT being dispersed. They did the exact opposite of the Lord’s command.
And then four verses later we see God scattering them anyway. No matter what we do, how much we disobey, God will have his way.
I think there’s such a great contrast here between God telling Abram HE will make his name great and these people saying they’re going to do it themselves. It shows us clearly how one will always succeed and the other will always lose. How God will always keep his promises and man will always fail without God.
The hard part is is being patient. Waiting on God and trusting him to come through on his promises. Abram didn’t see these “I will’s” happen in one or even ten years. Some took his entire life others Abram never even saw fulfilled. Some promises took generations to be fulfilled. But God always fulfills the promises.
And yet I am constantly trying to do it myself. I’m trying to make my own name. To heal myself. To figure and overcome my fears alone. I’m trying to take responsibility and control.
And I fail over and over again.
And then I watch what happens when I let go and give God the responsibility back. I watch myself be healed and loved and seen. I watch God do a great work and make HIS name great. Because it was never about my name anyway.
God rose me from the dust and made something beautiful out of it. God showed his amazing power and love. He revealed my desperate need for him. He gave me a heart for people I had forgotten how to love. God showed me how deeply he loves me and will always hold me.
God continually reminds me that he said “I WILL” and never “If you will then I will.”
Because if that’s what he’d said, then he would never be able to work. He would never be able to show his great name and power because I would fail every single time. Because I can’t.
God is offering our little, insignificant lives to be a part of his eternity. He’s inviting us to be a part of something HE will do.
Many chapters later in Genesis we see it happen again with Isaac.
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands.
– Genesis 26:3-4a
Five more “I will’s” in less than two verses.
Five more examples of God taking responsibility.
Five more times that God reminds us that he will not and did not choose us because of what we have to offer, but because of how fully and deeply he loves his children.
Because I can’t.