Do you have big dreams? Do you have the courage to step out, take risks, believe in the impossible?
Or are you timid? Do you see the pitfalls before you see the potential? Do you prefer to stay in one place in comfort rather than chart new ground facing the unknown?
I must admit that I tend to fall into the latter category.
My husband is the dreamer in our family. He has high hopes. He is ever-optimistic. He does not fear taking risks or putting himself forward to follow what is on his heart.
I like to think of myself as the realist in the relationship. I often ask the questions about how we are going to get to the place that my husband has in his sights. I’m the person who wants to understand the nitty gritty. The practical details. To weigh up whether the plan will work.
And we meet somewhere in the middle.
Instead of making New Year’s resolutions many people have adopted an idea of having One Word that underpins the year. A word to live by instead of a list of specific changes they want to make.
My word? FAITH.
Because I know that with my realist tendencies my faith can often be rather small.
I know that my view of what God can do can be rather limited.
I know that my expectations can be low – way too low.
Why is my faith so small? I’ve been a Christian for twenty years now. I’ve been around a bit – seen and heard God do amazing things. I’ve been on a faith journey myself where my husband and I stepped out in faith fifteen years ago to serve God full-time in youth ministry. This journey has led us through miles of uncharted territory, facing many unknown courses and still now we live in a state of constant dependence on God for our security and well-being.
And yet, yes, my faith is small.
Why? Because my faith is limited by how I see myself. And this affects how I see God.
Let me explain by referring first to a well-known story from the Gospels.
When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. And they *came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith *said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, *said to them, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He *said to the paralytic, “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”
Faith. These men showed such amazing faith.
I would have been held back by doubt and fear. Doubt that Jesus would have the time or interest to show to my friend. Fear that would have prevented me from taking the radical steps needed to get close to Jesus.
What holds me back in my faith? My fear over putting myself forward. My desire to stay in the background. My inhibitions which limit the potential for God to work in my life and the lives of those around me.
And so I pray that God will grow my faith this year. That He will take my gaze off myself and lift it towards Him. For His power is not dependent on me, but on His unfailing love and grace. I just need the faith to see it.
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