“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
If everyone did only what they thought they were capable of doing, what would be the challenge? How would we feel fulfilled? For most people, it is not in doing the “ordinary” that we feel we have achieved an accomplishment, it is in doing the extraordinary.
If someone wants to be a baseball mega legend, that person has to do more than hit balls that will only get him to first base. If someone wants to be a superstar football quarterback, he will have to learn to throw accurately and more than ten yards. If someone, well, I think you get the picture.
Eleanor Roosevelt had many clever sayings and sage advice. Today’s is no different. “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” When we set our sights on something that we think will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, we rise to the challenge. Some of the greatest innovations came from people who were tasked with doing the impossible. They did it in such a manner as to leave people stupefied and even extremely edified.
God calls us to do something that we think to be impossible: to rise above our sinfulness and embrace the cross so as to follow in the footsteps of His Son. In many ways, even though we might desire to leave our sinfulness behind, we become too comfortable with our sin. To think that we have to leave that with which we have become comfortable, which has become predictable, is unsettling. It is only in doing that which we thought we could not do that we gain incredible freedom.
While Jesus challenges us to rise above our sinfulness, He does not mean that we have to do it on our own. He is willing and more than able to help us if we turn to Him. That is the entire problem with our personal conversion, isn’t it? Too often we turn to the world for help and not to the Lord.
Becoming holier is not an overnight proposition. It takes as much training as a mega athlete. We have to work on our prayer life, introducing new ways to pray. We have to work on upping our game in terms of service by increasing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy that we perform. And we have to be kind. Kind to ourselves and kind to others.
These might all sound like impossible tasks. Often they are not impossible at all. It is merely that we do not want to try anything new. How can we possibly hope to please God if we stay rooted in our own sinfulness? Do you think you cannot rise above your sinfulness? Listen to good ol’ Eleanor and do it anyway.
FAITH ACTION: Ask God for the grace you need to do better in your spiritual life today.