Trying vs. succeeding. I think those two words pretty much encapsulate the story of most people’s lives – and also highlight how God has been changing my life radically in the past 6 months. For whatever reason, up until last year, God allowed my life to be generally made up of successes. Not totally of course, but without doubt more than I could have hoped for. To recap briefly, at the end of high school I got into the music conservatory I wanted with the scholarship we needed to make it work… and when God showed me that a performing career wasn’t where I’d be most free to follow Him, He provided another scholarship at a Christian school where I could live at home. The rest of college went great, and in spite of transferring in sophomore year and changing my major, I graduated on time (with a job lined up)…and got to marry my best friend 7 months later. It would be hard to make up that amount of trying, all followed by positive outcomes, even in my most ambitious imagination!
And then December happened. Now my life is about trying always – and succeeding sometimes. Re-learning talking, eating, and walking came after lots and lots of trying (and praying!), but they did come. Success. There’s been an equal (if not greater) amount of therapy, trying, and praying spent on waking up the nerves in my left hand, but that seems unlikely to happen now. Trying. Visiting with a friend at home or going out to a new place takes lots of mental trying and exertion. Sometimes my brain cooperates and things go well (success), but unfortunately sometimes that doesn’t happen – in spite of the trying involved. Ivan and the rest of my family do a great job trying to help me mentally, emotionally, and physically, and I couldn’t ask for any greater effort…but even that sometimes yields mixed results.
The point of all of this struck me again recently with greater impact – and hopefully it can encourage some of you too. A life – any life – can’t be measured by just the number of successes. I’m trying as hard at living as I ever have (honestly, probably harder than I ever have!) but the outcome – that is, the success of my trying – is out of my hands in a lot of ways. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I think God is showing me that, because of Christ, He measures me not by my success, but simply by having a heart that tries.
After all, isn’t that why Jesus came? He succeeded on my behalf because He knew that even my best attempt to reach Him couldn’t come close to His perfect measure. He died so that His life would cover my tries with His successes. And what about the hearts (mine included, sometimes) that don’t even try to be close to His? By His grace, His Spirit can intervene and succeed for them, and transform them into hearts that try too. The gospel makes trying and growing – sometimes even apart from succeeding – the only measure now.