You May be Capable, but Are You Called?

This is the tale of a lesson learned the hard way—and you know how fun those are.

Our story begins with a heap of good intentions. Someone [far craftier than you] appeals to your nature to please [everyone in the universe], and begs that you lead the way. The fate of the [children, charity, ministry, non-profit] rests on your shoulders, and if you fail [yup, that word] to take on this challenge, all will be lost.

You believe you can, and there’s even a [flattered] part of you that wants to. You dive in [heart first], sure you’ll be able to accommodate the mountain of work ahead with sheer will and determination.

Fast forward incalculable [unpaid] hours of time, and you find yourself [um, maybe myself] with head in hands asking, “What in the world was I thinking?”

There is a far reaching freedom in learning that just because we can, doesn't mean we should—or have to. | Decision Making | Spiritual Encouragement | Bible Quotes | Seeking God's Will | Strength | Faith |

It’s at this point [too late] that you [yes, fine…me] go before the Lord and plead for deliverance. Surely the Creator of the universe can undo what you’ve done. Certainly your face-down-tantrums on the living room floor are not falling on deaf ears.

Oh no, indeed He hears you…

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

{Tweet that}

Those are the words God wrote over my regret filled heart. They sounded a whole lot like, “You made your bed, babe.”

While we have a God of grace, loving kindness, and tender mercies, there are times in this life when we must face our choices head on and deal with the consequences of our [hasty] actions. We can still have confidence that God is for us, and ever working on our behalf. This often looks like Him teaching us a lesson now—before we make an even bigger mess.

If you find yourself in that position today, or even better, if you’re on the cusp of deciding how to proceed, can I offer you some wisdom from my hard-learned lesson?

Listen before you speak.

To my credit, I did seek the Lord prior to this decision. However, in hindsight, pride and ego wiggled into that conversation as I laid out what I could do, rather than listen for what I should do. Seeking God’s will and timing always involves more listening than speaking. He’s able and willing to show us what we should do, if we’ll stop telling Him what we can do.

Capability does not equal calling.

My motives in accepting this assignment were pure—I could help. However, embracing that knowledge (can) and pairing it with commitment (should) are two very different things. It’s wonderful to be well-acquainted with our gifts and abilities, but there is no one who knows them better than God. He is also the ONLY one with the vantage point of perfect timing, position, and place for those gifts to be used. Just because He’s made us able, doesn’t mean He’s called us to action right now.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 ESV

Whose “rules” are you following?

This world has a lot of “should-do” rules. I fall prey to the one that says I “should” please everyone—and I’ll work myself into a frenzy to make it happen. But frenzied isn’t how God wants me. In fact, that state of mind leaves me too wrung dry to say “yes” when God calls me to do what He has chosen for me. When we release ourselves from rules we aren’t obligated to follow it gives us permission to say “no,”—which then gives us freedom to pursue what God has for us.

Guts and glory

If you find yourself in a position that wasn’t the best first choice, the next ones can make all the difference. It takes humility to bow out, but sometimes you humbly admit you bit off more than you could chew and ask for a rescue team. Other times, you gut it out and finish what you started—to the glory of God.

Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ.
Colossians 3:24b MSG

Because our God is faithful, just and so very good, He turns our mistakes into powerful lessons. There is a far-reaching freedom in learning that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should—or have to. Every “no” we deliver for the right reasons, is truly a “yes” for God. 

By His endless grace,

Friends, I’ll be in and out this summer as I enjoy some extra fun and sunshine with family. I’d love for you to join me on InstagramFacebook, or Pinterest for community and real conversation throughout the week. You can also subscribe to the blog here for posts direct to your email inbox.

You can find these words linked up at my favorite spots: Jennifer Dukes LeeHolley GerthKristin Hill TaylorLyli DunbarCrystal StormsSalt & Light and Grace & Truth.

This post was edited from archives and originally posted on Simply for One.

23 thoughts on “You May be Capable, but Are You Called?

  1. Love this Tiffany! I pray God closes all doors that He has not opened for me! I’ve placed myself in far too many situations when I run ahead of Him before praying and laying it at His feet. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  2. Tiffany, I tend to have a big unhealthy habit of jumping in first and crying out to the Lord later. I’m getting a lot better about bringing EVERYTHING before the Lord, but still have a ways to go. That being said, I’ve chosen you for this week’s feature at Salt & Light Linkup. It’s well deserved and your writing is still among my favorites. Thank you for sharing at Salt & Light!

    1. Oh, Natalie…thanks so much for the feature. What a blessing!! This lesson certainly hasn’t been a one-and-done in my life either, but I’m so grateful that God keeps teaching me with grace. Especially thankful that I can grow among the safety and kindness of sweet sisters like you. xo

  3. What a powerful piece! I have been on the fence about jumping into something because I felt like I needed to. No one else is reaching out to build a Christian community in this particular area so I needed to. However, I have had a nagging reservation about starting this up all summer. I thought it was just nerves from taking on one more thing, but your openness has really made me think. I am going to really (I mean really!) pray about this one. The last thing I want is to be outside of God’s will. Thank you so much!

  4. Oh that I would’ve learned this lesson years ago. How much heartache it would have saved! I’m finally getting it and understanding that the pain of saying “No” or “Not right now” is less than the pain of committing to something I’m not supposed to. You are so right- only God can see it all and we have to seek him to find out what to do when offered such an opportunity.

  5. I seem to come back to this time after time throughout the years. So many good things that one can do — but we certainly can’t do them all. I continually pray for wisdom and discernment for well-placed yeses and noes.

  6. Oh that pride and ego. They are so often the downfall, even when intentions are good. I know this wasn’t easy to share, but hopefully your words and heart will stop someone going down a similar path!

  7. You have so much wisdom here, Tiffany! All of this is so true — and I think something we should all be considering whenever a new ministry opportunity is given to us. Sometimes we might not be exactly capable, and still the Lord calls us to do it. And sometimes we might be capable, yet it isn’t what God would have for us. Thank you for sharing this, and for reminding us to check with every decision what is God’s will for us. God bless you!

    1. You’re so right…God does equip us when He calls us. I think that’s the beauty of being sure we’re where He wants us. Thanks for joining the conversation, Ronja!

  8. Hard lessons teach us the most – so true that I can see a green light when God wants me at a yellow or red! Listening is the key. Just bec I can, doesn’t me I ought! great post, tiffany.

  9. Hi Tiffany,
    I’ve missed you! (But I’ve really been the one off the blogging train this summer!) I’ve also been in your shoes where I quickly regretted what I committed to. I love your last line though that a no is really a yes if the right reasons are behind it. So good to check in with you and hope your summer is going well! xoxo

  10. Thanks for letting us learn from your oops! I love your transparency :) I’ve gotten myself into way too many unfulfilling and unnecessary projects because I let my pride or insecurities raise my hand to volunteer. I love the advice you’ve given. Blessings to you as you enjoy your summer days!

  11. Amen Tiffany! I hope your Summer is going well. Finding the balance is difficult thing at times. I’ve had to train myself to seek God first in every situation asking Him to direct my paths(Prov 3:5-6) Those verses have given me direction, blessed me with ideas, and guarded me from difficult situations. The key is being willing to listen to God’s direction, which in the past I definitely did not do. I am so thankful for His undeserved grace. He continues to help develop me into the man that He can use for His glory. I am always inspired after reading your posts and excited to see it land in my inbox. Thank you for this inspiring reminder. Continued blessings to you and yours this Summer and Godspeed in all your endeavors.

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