I believe Christians overthink things. Make things too hard. I know I do—especially when it comes to what I’m ready or skilled enough to do. But the reality is that God does the heavy lifting in our lives.
I was thinking about Gideon today—not because I was in a deep exegesis or anything, but mostly just because I have a pink Post-It note taped to my bathroom mirror with Judges 6:14 written on it, to remind me of this simple principle.
“…The Lord turned to him (Gideon) and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)
Go in the strength that you have, God told Gideon. Am I not sending you? That verse just resonates FREEDOM throughout my entire being, like the exciting gong of the grandfather clock that used to strike every hour in my Grandma’s house. Those words empower me.
Take the strength that you have and go. It isn’t complicated. God didn’t give him a list of things to accomplish first. He didn’t say, “Once you have checked all the items off your list, then you can go.”
I can’t imagine being in Gideon’s shoes. He’d had a pretty rough go of it in his life thus far. He’d seen his brothers killed in the previous war, and he really wasn’t looking forward to something that could perhaps be Part II—the Sequel to his previous wartime disaster. He probably wanted to know a few logistics ahead of time so that he could at least know what to anticipate.
I’m totally the same way. Show me the schematics. I want the low-down ahead of time. I like to have my ducks all lined up in a row. Shoot, forget just the ducks. If I had been the administrator on Noah’s ark—I would have had the animal lines color-coated somehow and single file. I would have made myself a nutcase trying to figure out how to get this crazy, loud group of animals onto the boat. I might have had a panic attack before the animals even got moving.
I would have made it too complicated. But it sounds like Noah was still walking in enough of the “take dominion over the birds of the air and animals on the land” directive that the animals just obeyed and walked onto the boat in an orderly fashion.
I definitely concern myself with the little things too much. I’m sure Gideon was doing it too. God had already catered to Gideon’s fleece requests, just so he would know that God was with him. But I’m sure Gideon was still worried about logistics. “Okay, so we will go to war and fight. But how will we win? What’s to be our battle strategy? What weapons will work best against the Midianites?”
But God was planning on doing all the heavy lifting. So God had Gideon send a bunch of soldiers home. I can’t imagine the anxiety that Gideon must have felt as everything that would actually make sense for a battle strategy came crashing down.
“Go…in…the…strength…that…you…have…”, God said.
Not the strength you thought you needed. Not the knowledge or training you will have eventually when you finish your graduate degree. Not the strength you will have once you have a little more inner healing under your belt and feel ready. Go now.
Go now, aka “Take what you have now. You take the 10% that you bring to the table and I’ll bring my 90%”, says God.
“I’ll do all the heavy lifting”, God is saying. “Don’t concern yourself with the details.”
God does the heavy lifting for us.
I mean, seriously, think about the cross. What did He do? Answer= Everything. What did we do? Answer= Nothing.
So we overthink things. We make life too hard by trying to figure it all out so we know what to anticipate.
There is a time and a place for preparation. There is. I believe we constantly alternate between times of preparation in our lives and times of forward movement and taking new territory. But often, preparation and forward movement are intertwined. They happen simultaneously.
And if we overthink things—we could miss the joyous simplicity of just following God’s lead and trusting him to use our 10%.
It was never about us anyway. We just get to partner with what He’s already doing.
And he’s thrilled to take us along for the ride.
“Go in the strength that you have…”
“The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor…The Lord turned to him (Gideon) and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:12,14)