I suppose I could have stayed in last night and read my way through an introduction of Psychology handbook. I had spent the previous hour watching a programme about Philosophy. I decided to go to the Women Aglow meeting instead. I had decided the previous day, before Monday’s trauma, which did not creep up on me unannounced, that I was going. After Monday’s trauma I came close to changing my mind.
“Did you talk to anyone?” was the question asked by a friend of mine I spoke to earlier this evening. She knows me well. Even my inner hermit did not want to read the psychology book. A meal and good fellowship seemed a good idea to balance out the day.
Monday’s trauma - let me just enlighten you. I suppose there are levels of trauma. My trauma isn’t appendicitis with complications. That’s someone else’s trauma – my boss. Someone has to step up and take control. That’s my trauma. It’s a complicated thing. My boss does stuff that I don’t do. I don’t know how to do it. He teaches Philosophy. I don’t. It’s not really something I can do. I know where my lines are drawn and I like order and reason. I know Philosophy is all about reason but it’s all a bit airy-fairy. The story is told of an examination question on a Philosophy paper – “Why?” Someone passed with flying colours for writing the answer “Because”. Yeeeuuuhk! My mind doesn’t work like that. It’s that commentary that I can’t do. Give me a paragraph to read and a set of questions to answer and I am happy. I can philosophise to a certain extent – but I know my starting point and my end destination. I would rather not get lost in a philosophical maze.
The speaker at the Women Aglow meeting was a woman who had just returned from a visit to Albania. As part of her job with Adopt A Child she sometimes has the opportunity to see first-hand the children the charity works with. The visit was more than visiting families, but encouraging the churches out there to embrace all the resources God gives to build his kingdom. I came with an expectation to see a slide show of Albania and the work of Adopt A Child.
She had something else she wanted to share. She talked about finding, developing and putting our gifts to use in the Kingdom. She talked about forgiveness and how an unforgiving attitude only hurts ourselves and not others. It stops us from moving forward. She talked about the need to speak faith to ourselves. Too often the things we tell ourselves are negative. These are things we all know but need to be reminded about. It was something else that caught my imagination and a word for now for me.
God had said to her “You’re getting too big for your boots!”
It’s something that’s usually said as a rebuke. This was said not in that manner. It was said in encouragement – you are growing and the old ways no longer fit. When you move into a new shoe size no one suggests you should try to stop your feet growing or shrink them a little. There is nothing more annoying than swiftly growing feet. It seems that only the other day you bought a new pair and, now, barely out of the box, they don’t fit!
Too big for your boots means you need to get a new pair that fit. As God stretches us and challenges us we grow. Sometimes we don’t want the unfamiliar experiences that growth brings.
I would not deny that the last week or so has been a week of growth. I never expected to be in the position of responsibility that I am in. It has been a challenge and yes, I have got a little bit too big for my boots. Over the next few weeks I will experience a spiritual growth spurt. But how much bigger than my boots am I?
Not that big!
I have learned over the last week there are things that I thought I couldn’t do that I actually can do. I have written myself into the story as a member of the posse that chases the bandits, but not the sheriff. I now know there is a little bit of sheriff in me. I can do that bit.
However, there is a lot that I can’t do. It has nothing to do with a lack of willingness to try. Willingness is not enough. Sometimes the willingness to do something can stop you from stepping aside to let someone more qualified to the job. It is no good pushing yourself or allowing others to push you into something you are not equipped to do. If you grow through the experience, it’s not the kind of growth that is straight up and healthy, but a little bit warped.
God knows me. He knows the kind of things I can do when challenged, but He also knows where my limits are. He wasn’t going to tell me what I could do or not, but expected me tell myself those things. When things were a little overwhelming I spoke to Him about it. I prayed about it. The solution wasn’t in being equipped to do what I thought I couldn’t do – no massive flood of self-confidence. I simply stepped aside to allow someone else to do it. No shame one me that I had somehow fallen short of the mark.
I might be bigger than my boots but there are some shoes I cannot fill.