All things are possible for God. (Mark 10:27)
I routinely have to remind myself that I am not Superwoman, much less God. That’s obvious, of course, but I’ll bet that 99 percent of us forget this fact as we wake up, throw on our clothes, and fly through our days with impossibly loaded “to-do” lists. Maybe we have all secretly enjoyed being called “Superwoman” (or “Superman”) at one time or another. But when we come up against the impossible, no cape in the world can help us.
One especially busy fall, my daughter posted this on my Facebook page: “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” That saying, attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, woke me up like a bucket of ice water.
First, it was shocking to realize just how well my child knew me. Second, it was as if my need to achieve the impossible was completely washed away. Here’s why.
Even on my toughest days and with the toughest people in my life, I can normally do what is necessary. I need to praise God more than I do for this very basic ability. Doing what is possible, thanks be to God, is also routinely achievable so long as I remain in the sacraments, in God’s word, and in fellowship with other Christians.
However, when I hit upon the need to do what I know is impossible, my natural response is to panic. But then I suddenly realize that even if the impossible needs to be done, I am not responsible for getting it done. God is!
Trusting that some of the good things that I want to get done can really only be accomplished by God, who I am not, and on his timetable and in his divine manner, which I cannot know, I am able to peacefully begin to do what is necessary. Then I can move on to what is possible, leaving what is miraculous entirely in God’s hands.
Ask Jesus today to be your peace. He will help you to do what is necessary, attempt what is possible. The rest—what seems impossible—you can trust to him.
This is an excerpt from Finding God’s Peace in Everyday Challenges by Heidi Bratton (The Word Among Us Press, 2015), available at www.wau.org/books.