With a brand new, shiny Prince tennis racket, a smooth, black tennis bag with pockets, sleek compartments, and a cute pair of Nike tennis shoes, I was prepared to conquer the world, one serve at a time.
The sophisticated gear ensured the tennis ball spinning 30 miles an hour hit the sweet spot every single time, of course.
Walking, prancing, into the music store I identified the most beautiful, cobalt blue, Spanish guitar. I’ll take that one on the wall, please! A few weeks later, I got another guitar. And another one.
The sophisticated gear ensured my fingers would dance along steel strings, creating a beautiful acoustic sound of melody every single time, of course.
The day after thanksgiving I very politely enlisted my husband to run-not-walk to the department store with a thousand other eager shoppers to purchase a state-of-the-art, all in one, never have to iron your clothes again, supernaturally powered washer and dryer.
The sophisticated gear ensured my dirty laundry would be made white as snow, folded, and put away every single time, of course.
Nine out of ten tennis balls, though hit with tenacity of John McEnroe and charged grunt of Monica Seles, never make it to the other side of the court.
My guitars stage as home décor accessories rather than instruments made to worship.
Clothes washed and dried rarely make it to my closet with elegance, but rather in clumps and piles spilling onto dresser tops and chairs. Actually, rarely do they make it past the laundry room.
Somewhere along the line, I had a faulty believe that the gear would make the player. The outward tools of the trade would produce extraordinary, life altering results. The exterior would magically transform the interior.
Yet God tells us our character and strength are built from the inside out.
If I want to learn to play the guitar, I need to learn the language of reading music, painfully develop calloused fingertips and practice tedious scales and chords that resemble nothing of a song. And that is only the beginning.
Somewhere along the line, I had a faulty believe I could simply quit if the goal was too hard to accomplish.
I am no longer a tennis player. I quit playing guitar. And well, I’m getting better at the laundry.
The one thing I cannot quit is being a child of God.
Contrary to what others may believe, I cannot rebuke the Holy Spirit out of me.
I cannot rescind the adoption papers signed by my Heavenly Father.
When the going gets tough, I can’t resign from this life God has appointed before the foundation of the world.
I am powerless to do any of those things.
Like Jacob, I can wrestle it out with God for hours upon hours, days upon days, but eventually I will grow weary of wrestling and the only thing to do is fall back into the arms of the very One I am exchanging blows with.
Yes, He works from the inside out, using trials, struggles, mistakes, tribulations, failures and everything messy in this world to mold me, shape me, grow me, move me and use me. Everything messy to draw me closer to Him.
I am a quitter. But this life, I will run with endurance, even if that run is a very slow waltz past the starting line.
One serve at a time. One strum at a time. One load at a time.
I am moving one step at a time and I will not quit, because He will not let me.
And He will not let you.