Three years ago, I sat in a Ukrainian kitchen with my new friend, Albina. Albina, a beautiful young mom, told me about her teenage neighbor. This young lady suffered from a bowel disease and was slowly dying of starvation. During our week in Ukraine, I had watched Albina as she hosted young adults from her church, fixed late-night crepes for our ministry team, cared for her husband’s parents, and worked as a preschool teacher. Now, she told me about the corrosive wreck this disease had created in her young friend’s gut as she added a pinch of this and a pinch of that to a bubbling pot on the stove.
Watching Albina and feeling the weight of all I had experienced in Ukraine, I said to her, “Albina, you can’t do …” I took a breath with everything on the tip of my tongue. But, Albina turned quickly from her chicken soup and looked me dead in the eye.
“Nothing. I know, Cindy, I can’t do nothing.”
Double negatives aside, Albina wrapped the pot in towel and asked me to pray for her teenage neighbor, to pray that she would be able to eat just a little bit. While Albina delivered chicken soup, I thought about our conversation. What a difference in perspective! I was overwhelmed by the need. Albina was motivated. She knew she couldn’t do everything, but there was no way she was going to do nothing.
Perhaps you’re like me. You see the needs in your family, your neighborhood, your church. In our information-saturated culture, stories and images of orphans, genocide, trafficking leap from your laptop. The the pain, the pressure overwhelm you and you think, “I can’t do everything.” As a result, you do nothing.
That conversation with Albina challenged me to shift my perspective, connect with God’s heart, and become a woman who knows I can’t do everything, but I also can’t do nothing.
Here are some steps I took, and you can take too, if you find your heart stirred but overwhelmed, wanting to move from “I can’t do everything,” to “I can’t do nothing.”
Catch God’s heart for the world by drawing close to Jesus. Get into the book of John and rivet your eyes to the Man. As you read, pray. Ask God to show you Jesus’ heart for the world and stir this same heart in you. Write what God is showing you in a journal.
Get to know yourself. Consider your life experiences, pain and pleasure. Identify the skills you have developed, the talents you have honed, and your spiritual gifts. If the idea of spiritual gifts is a foreign concept for you, plan on joining me here in January. More information about that will be coming later. Journal your discoveries.
Look around you. At this point, your heart has been stirred. Your passions are becoming focused. And you have begun to trace the line of God’s work in your life up to this point. In your family, your neighborhood, your church, find an opportunity to do something? Even if it seems small, even if it doesn’t seem like a perfect fit, do something.
As you go deep, get personal, and go local, God will show you the something you can do right now. He’ll give you joy as you serve in places that fit with the woman He created you to be. He’ll reveal more of His heart to you and give you deeper understanding of your role in the Kingdom. You’ll never be able to do everything, but you can do something.
Leave me a comment. How is your perspective shifting? What is God revealing to you about His heart? What stories are stirring your passions? What are you learning about yourself? Can’t wait to hear!