22/06/17 - Pastor Young
"I've got this."
Three small words that very naturally lead to all sorts of trouble. I'm sure that we all have stories that involve us uttering this phrase; what's your "I've got this" story?
A story that comes to mind for me takes place in middle school. One of my biggest triumphs during this time was in joining a gifted and talented program, where I was engaged with different types of learning and projects. I was humbled, and resolved to work hard. This resulted in me attempting to stay on top of the extra workload, along with the normal homework and projects that came with school. I did well, and reveled in this new environment. But my "I've got this" moment was soon to come.
My undoing came because of a restaurant.
One of our big projects in the program was to design a restaurant, with some sort of theme, and create a diorama for the restaurant we came up with. I've got this, I thought to myself, as Mrs. Spaeth explained the intricate details of the project to us. Later that day, I looked up what the word "diorama" meant, and began to think about what my restaurant would look like, but couldn't come up with much.
Due to the way the program was scheduled, I didn't have another reminder about the project for another week or so. Throughout the time that followed, I would think momentarily about the restaurant, realise that I was unsure of what theme to go with or how to even begin a diorama, and just go about my normal homework and recreation, certain that inspiration would strike.
Well, everything came crashing down when a classmate asked me what theme I had decided to go with for my restaurant. It was the day before the project was due, and I felt physically sick when I realised that no, I don't got this.
These are the moments when it pays to keep a cool head.
I did the opposite.
The rest of school was a blur as I started thinking about what I could do, and the panic I felt in those hours was enough to make me want to lay on the ground. I landed on the conclusion that I would come to the program the next day and tell Mrs. Spaeth that I was going to quit. My stomach seemed to sink further and further in my body as I imagined how that scenario would play out.
The winter of my discontent found some reprieve when I got home and began crying. Once my parents were through with their incredulity at the fact that I had waited until the night before to ask for help, they began to put my half-baked ideas into action, and a diorama began forming.
Often we wait until we are at our wits' ends to reach out and ask for help. Whether we think it's more polite to do try to do it on our own, or there is a matter of pride at stake, the fact remains that we don't like to get help. Our lives seem to be a journey from dependence to independence. Parents watch on excitedly as we take our first steps, and with our second and third, we drift further from them toward being on our own.
Andrew began his message on Sunday with the three words that have become a bit of a theme in our lives: I've got this. But two other words that he said stuck with me: persistent dependence.
If we go through our lives continuing to learn how to be independent, then it stands to reason that we will have to fight tooth and nail to really be dependent on God. As the lawyer and Martha found out in Luke 10:25-11:13, it's necessary to lay aside all overconfidence, and even self-loathing, in order to seek God. Jesus says to become like children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 18. The remedy to the slow poison of independence is in knowing that we are dependent children, and God is our loving, gracious Father. We must be persistently dependent upon Him, shamelessly asking for help day after day, minute after minute.
When I got to class the next day, I felt both embarrassed and relieved. The embarrassment came from seeing everyone else's dioramas, and the great detail that was in each one of them. The relief that washed over me was in finishing the project, and the teacher being satisfied with it. Looking back all these years later though, I've come to a realisation: those other classmates most likely didn't do any of their projects on their own. Their stubby adolescent fingers wouldn't have been dexterous enough to put together the complex restaurants that they came up with, and it's painfully obvious now that they had help from their parents.
No one batted an eyelid though. It was expected that they would receive help. And the students were certainly happy to ask for help.
Can we also be like these little ones in asking for the Holy Spirit from God? Will you be persistently dependent?