Posted on May 4, 2013
Sprinkler systems are back on attack. It appears they’ve multiplied over the winter and are zealously taking on the lingering drought. Getting nailed by them is a hazard of running early. They’re refreshing at times, but when we runners fear melting … or harming our new shoes, we leap, hurdle, and twirl to avoid them, as if we weren’t already wet from sweat. And, it’s entertaining when they start spraying unannounced. It bums me out, however, when they entirely miss the grass and instead irrigate with great gusto the streets and sidewalks. It’s also disheartening when it’s raining so hard you can’t see three feet ahead and the sprinklers are flowing, programmed to complete their irrigation mission. It’s difficult – maybe impossible – to constantly align sprinklers with the weather and landscape, but I wonder if we could strive a bit harder for success.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
I sometimes conclude certain undertakings are impossible, making it acceptable for me to settle for something less than ideal. I’m not just referring to extraordinary undertakings like participation in the Olympics or running for the U.S. Presidency, although I do believe those gigs are up for me as I settle into my 42nd year of existence with no prior ambition for either. I’m talking about ordinary activities that, although they appear simple, seem impossible to accomplish … instilling in my kids an appreciation for chores, getting enough sleep, finding time to read something other than headlines and e-mails, and setting aside just a few minutes of silence daily to listen to God. Francis of Assisi said, “First do what is necessary. Then do what is possible. And before you know it, you will be doing the impossible.” It sounds so simple … like baby steps … small adjustments that over time form habits that eventually help us accomplish what we considered impossible. It’s the perfect formula for all undertakings – the extraordinary and the ordinary. However, discerning what is “necessary” and “possible” isn’t easy – our conclusions likely evolve over time and differ person to person. But, if we genuinely reflect on the “necessaries” and “possibles” we consider crucial to the achievement of a certain goal, our discernment will open our eyes to what is not necessary and a waste of time and resources. If we weed out the waste, there will be sufficient time for the necessities, making it possible for us to achieve what seemed unattainable. If something seems impossible, consider whether our actions may be adjusted slightly to carry us toward the goal. Successful adjustments will become habits, baby steps will become strides, and the goal will be within reach.
Dear God, please help us discern which undertakings You will for us, and give us courage to strive for them.