When my sister and I were in elementary school there was a television show we loved to watch. It had a funny name: "Guts." That's because it was all about kids who had the guts to participate in these wild sports competitions. That's right - these were no ordinary sports. These were things like crazy obstacle courses, indoor mountain climbing, and extreme basketball - with kids on bungee cords popping the ball through 20-foot high hoops.
A lot of the competitions looked fun. But some seemed a little hard. I was never quite sure how to answer the famous "Guts" question: Do you have what it takes?
Actually, I found that I wasn't quite sure how to answer this question when it came to a lot of different areas of my life. Sometimes I wondered if I had what it takes to be a good friend. Other times I wasn't sure if I had the ability to do well in a certain class or excel on a particular assignment.
Maybe you've had these feelings or asked this question, too. But asking the question, I've found, is one thing. Figuring out what to do when you're pretty sure the answer is a big, scary "no," well, that's another.
That's what I had to face recently when I was given some work that I wasn't sure I could do or wasn't ready to do. When I first heard about the assignment, I thought, "Who, me?" I didn't think I was the right person for the job at all. But I knew I had to do it, so I decided to pray.
Deep inside me, I thought that God's answer was going to be that I did have what it would take to complete the assignment. What I needed to know was: How could He be so sure?
The first answer I heard was that the opportunity to take on this new role actually came from God. It might have seemed that I was the one chosen for the assignment because no one else was available. But what God was telling me was that there was nothing outside His control. That nothing was happening that wasn't being guided by Him.
What did that mean for me? It meant that since God was giving me this job, then He must have made me capable of doing it well. God made me - and everyone - in His image. So He could never see someone as incapable or dumb or prone to messing up. My real work was to see myself the way He made me - smart and poised - and then to remember that each moment of the day.
This seemed like a good answer. But that wasn't the only thing God had to say. The second idea I got was something from the Bible - something that Jesus talked about. He said, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).
By saying this, Jesus didn't mean that he and God were the same. I like to think of this "one" meaning that they had the same purpose. In other words, because God is Father-Mother, Creator of each of us, He gives us our purpose - to live in His image. His purpose is good, and as His reflection, our purpose must be good.
But God doesn't just leave us there. Being "one" with Him also means that we could never be separated from everything we need in order to do what God created us to do. Our connection to Him means that if we need strength, strength will be there. If we need calm, we'll find that calm in knowing that God is giving it to us. A sense of humor and the ability to get along with others - God gives these to us, too.
These ideas made so much sense that by the time I had to complete the assignment, I wasn't scared anymore. In fact, I found I was actually looking forward to it, because I knew that God was right there with me. I felt sure I would succeed. And sure enough, I did. But in the end, the success didn't mean nearly as much as the feeling that God was present and caring for me each step of the way.
What I found through this experience was that there's really only one response to the question: Do you have what it takes? That's because there's nothing God can't do. And with your hand in His, you can answer "yes" every time.
I the Lord thy God
will hold thy right hand,
saying unto thee,
Fear not; I will help thee.