We’ve all used the phrase “I’m trying”; “I’m trying to _________”, fill in the blank; lose weight, quit smoking, be a good person, forgive someone; have a better attitude. The list could go on and on. In my life I have had things that I have “tried” to overcome as well. I’ve spent much time and energy, thinking and praying, over, under, around and about the situations, but to no avail. All that my efforts accomplish was to distract my attention and zap my energy; which only served to aid and abet the thief as he quite effortlessly hijacked my passions and held them for a ransom that always appeared just beyond my reach.
The more I tried the more mental real estate I ceded to the thief, which only compounded my frustrations. All the while the peace and freedom I longed for were staring me in the face, but I was so blinded by the situation that I could not see them.
Recently my pastor used a sermon illustration that was nothing short of an epiphany to me. During the service he placed a pencil on the pulpit, he then called up a parishioner and asked them to try to pick it up. The parishioner then picked up the pencil to which my pastor responded, “No, I didn’t tell you to pick it up, I told you totry to pick it up.” The parishioner looked confused and was unsure what to do. Pastor thanked them for being such a great sermon illustration and then encouraged us to stop trying and, to borrow a phrase from Nike, Just Do It!
It made me pause and think about how often we try or wish for things without ever taking the necessary steps to accomplish them. If faith without works is dead as scripture tells us in James 2:26, then certainly desire without effort is as equally lifeless.
So take my pastors advice and pick up your pencil, it’s the first step toward achieving your goal!