“How do you do it?”
That’s one of those complimentary questions we ask someone to show we are impressed with their performance. Sometimes we ask it in utter awe, legitimately amazed at their display of physical strength, mental aptitude and spiritual perseverance.
They are life skill jugglers, and we bow in respect at their ability to endure, thrive and get it all done.
Other times we ask the question with a hint of disdain. We’re not impressed with them, in fact, we’re kind of ticked!
Here, let me translate. On those occasions, the question “How do you do it?” can be translated in these ways:
*What’s wrong with you?
*You’re going to kill yourself
*Are you sure you should be doing all this?
*Knock it off, dude! You’re making us all look bad.
No one likes the guy who blows the curve, but you have to show them some respect. After all, they are apparently doing better than us. So, we continue to say it: “How do you do it?”
It doesn’t matter if you are impressed, or peeved, it is a legitimate question to ask and wonder where some people get their strength.
I was having a conversation this morning with a friend and wonderful Christian man. By the way, when I say “wonderful Christian man” I don’t mean it in that funeral kind of way. It seems like everyone who dies was a wonderful person, that we’re all going to miss dearly.
Just once I’d like to see an honest funeral. You know, one where the eulogy contained phrases like “Couldn’t stand him,” “Not my favorite,” or “Good riddance!” Don’t get all offended, you know you have a list. It’s a sin issue, we’ll just pray through it.
Anyway, this guy is what I said, a wonderful Christian man. He’s generous, spirit-filled, a little ornery and whole lotta fun. We were having a conversation because he was just diagnosed with cancer.
I wondered how he would take the news, and what the Big C would do to his spirit.
As we met, he joked and spoke about family plans for the coming weekend. Even we Godly people will play a good round of “Lets Avoid The Issue” on occasion. But, we finally sat down for coffee and got real.
He talked about the moment when the doctor gave him the news. He detailed all the potentially difficult things his future holds. Mostly, we looked into the scariest pages of all… the unknown.
Right in the middle of all that he said something that just blew me away. He said, “Well, it’s not like I shouldn’t have cancer. I’m a sinner like everyone else. It’s just something I’m going to have to deal with.”
Where was the denial? How about a little anger? What, no pot shots at God?
How’d he do that?
Truth is that it doesn’t matter whether the task is big and impressive to all who witness your accomplishments, or small and unnoticed by anyone but you. Whatever is before you, you have to have the strength for the task.
Later in the day, God taught me what was going on in my friend.
I went into the gym to do my normal workout… and it killed me. Literally, I’m dead even as I type this. (It’s not lying when you’re blogging, its called gross exaggeration and it’s a literary device. Don’t judge me.)
Now, I remember high school football workouts that worked me over. I remember running outside in mid-August until I hurled. I have even done Pure Cardio with Shaun T in then Insanity program. In a word, it was insane!
But, today my normal, old, boring workout just killed me. I had to use lighter weight, I sweat like a dumb kid in college, and I had to give up early. Why?
I just didn’t have the strength today.
That’s the real deal. The people who go through amazing trials and overcome incredible obstacles often don’t have some secret to their success. True, sometimes the difference between us and them is a little laziness on our part, but other times what lies at the core of our amazement is a strength that seems to transcend them and their efforts.
That’s exactly what it is. A strength from above:
Ephesians 3:14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
This is my prayer for you. Whether your task is large or small, that you would have the strength of the Father within you.
Because the task really isn’t the issue. The hardest thing you’ve ever done is the thing you didn’t have strength for…
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
Don’t work harder. Don’t look for tips and tricks. Seek the face of the Father and may He fill you with His strength for whatever it is that’s beating you down.
Now, that’s how you do it!