“Don’t fail to do something, just because you can’t do everything.”
The emphasis here, I believe, isn’t on the words, “Don’t fail,” but on the words, “Do something.”
This phrase from the book, The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns, really spoke to me. I am someone who becomes easily overwhelmed—and consequently paralyzed—when I see ALL THE THINGS that could be done, or should be done, or the many different ways they could be done.
I am also an information collector. When I see a problem, an opportunity, or a job that needs done, I collect all the books, all the gurus, all the opinions, all the blog posts, all the words and ideas and resources—and then I can find myself mired down in a bog of fear and perfectionism.
In this case, fear says, “What if I choose the wrong path? What if I don’t know enough yet? What if I fail?”
Perfectionism says, “I can’t do this unless I do it exactly right. I have to do all of it, in the very best, most perfect way, and I must do it in the way the experts tell me.”
The problem is that there are too many experts. Too many options. Too many paths.
So how do I get from “It’s too much” to “Do something”?
I should always position myself as a learner, but there comes a point in which I must stop collecting information and simply step out and do something with it.
If I am walking with the Lord and trusting him to direct my path, then I need to ask him for the faith to simply take that first step. Then the next. And the next.
I can’t do everything. I’m not supposed to. When I think it’s my job to do everything, I’ve elevated myself to the position of God. When I’ve put myself in that prideful position, I’m destined to fail.
But when I keep my eyes on him, allow him to work out each detail, and humbly follow him step by step, He is able to use me to accomplish his will.
He isn’t asking me to do everything. (What pride!)
He isn’t asking me for perfection. (He’s the only one who can accomplish that.)
He isn’t asking me to save the world. (He already did.)
So what is this “something” I’m supposed to do?
Take a step.
Do whatever little thing he tells me to do next.
(By the way, I highly recommend this book! I do not agree with all of the author’s theology, but it’s a thoroughly inspiring and convicting book in which Stearns shares the story of how he came to leave his lucrative job as the CEO of a successful business to become the president of the non-profit organization, World Vision.)