When I was in university, swot week was the best of times and the worst of times for me. It was the week between lectures ending and final exams starting. Agony and ecstasy.
As exams drew closer I remember being gripped by a sense of foreboding. The law faculty had successfully ingrained the fear of failure in me. The standard was high and I was always afraid that I couldn’t make it.
Without fail, every year I talked myself into believing that this time, this time, I didn’t have what it takes to do well.
I did it with my final exams; maybe you do it in a different area of your life. You convince yourself that you don’t have what it takes to succeed and you give up before you try. It’s a defence mechanism. We want to protect ourselves from disappointment so we lower our expectations in advance.
We psych ourselves out before we start.
“If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t.” Denis Waitley
I want to pick up on the biblical account in Numbers 13 of how Moses sent scouts out to check out the land of Canaan. When they returned the feedback they gave was,
“We can’t attack those people; they’re stronger than we are.”
They’d sent 12 men out and all of them agreed that they would be destroyed if they tried to enter the city. All of them except one whose name was Caleb,
“Let’s go up and take the land – now. We can do it.”
If you were one the people listening to the reports you’d probably call Caleb crazy, arrogant and over-confident. And you would agree with the 11 because they were being realistic and logical. According to that story, the whole community would have agreed with you.
When you face a challenge you can have one of two responses to it.
Either, “Oh my word, I’m going to do die. I can’t do this.”
Or, “I can totally do this. *cue Rambo music*”
The way you respond to a difficult obstacle will depend on how much you trust God. Caleb trusted God at his word and believed that if God said that this land was theirs then it was. Some of you reading this are thinking, That’s not my issue, I trust God. The person I don’t trust is me. If you’re thinking this then you’re doing the same thing that the 11 did – falling into the trap of self-reliance.
Self-reliance takes your focus off God and puts it on you. When you’re faced with a situation that’s bigger than you, you feel tiny; like a grasshopper in front of a giant. What you need to do is to take your eyes off yourself and look up. When you feel inadequate, you need to choose God-reliance over self-reliance. This is what trusting God means.
It’s time to look up. It time to believe that you can totally do what God says you can do.