I love reading autobiographies and if you follow my posts regularly, you may have noticed I often refer to something that has impacted me through people’s stories. Most recently I have been enjoying “It Worked For Me” by Colin Powell. Through his years in the military and his service to four presidents of the United States, General Powell learned many significant guidelines for leadership. He calls them his “Thirteen Rules”. One that stood out to me is,
“It can be done.” He says, “Once again, it is more about attitude than reality. Maybe it can’t be done, but always start out believing you can get it done until facts and analysis pile up against it. Have a positive and enthusiastic approach to every task.”[i]
Good advice! I am trying to apply this principle not only to my involvement in women’s ministry leadership, but also to everyday tasks. Lately, the task has been a big gardening project. Some of you may remember when we had our deck replaced eighteen months ago and the mess the mini excavator had made of our lawn and garden. Over time the lawn has been replaced and a new gate was installed in the fence. Two weeks ago I hired a nice young college student to bring in loads of topsoil and make a new flowerbed to surround the deck. Hubby and I transplanted herbs and other plants I had saved from destruction and it looks quite nice.
Of course one thing leads to another! Curving around the central stone patio is a width of decorative stones between the patio and the flowerbeds. It had become ground into the dirt, was full of weeds, and needed to be dug up and cleaned. What I didn’t know was that the stones were about three inches deep! This project started to look impossible! Then I read that quote by Powell and I decided to test his theory.
I also like the Chinese proverb Tanya quoted on Facebook this morning,
“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.”[ii]
I was too embarrassed to take a “before” picture, but here are a few of the improvements we’ve made and the progress made as of today.
I’m grateful for my husband’s help and to his credit he really hasn’t complained that much. Perhaps gardening is growing on him?
We did get the vegetable garden finished today as well despite the lateness of putting it in. Now if the weather would just warm up for longer than one day!
I’m trying to keep my mind focused on the big picture and not be discouraged by how long things take given the weather, my physical limitations, and demands on my time. I refuse to say it can’t be done!
As I dig around in the dirt I constantly come across armies of ants that I disturb. But do they look at the huge task of rebuilding and repairing the mess I’ve made of their hard work and throw a poor me fit? Do they flop over with six little feet in the air and cry, “It can’t be done!” To the contrary, they never stop their feverish laboring although confusion may frustrate their efforts for a short time. They simply go about the task no matter how monumental it may seem.
The industrious little ant even gets a mention in the Bible, “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones! Learn from their ways and become wise!” [iii] Well, I hope I don’t merit the lazybones nickname, but they do inspire me to keep working away at my project until it is done.
Proverbs 14:23 states, “There is profit in all hard work…” (HCSB)
What profit is there for me in seeing this project through to the end? The satisfaction of my vision being realized is one outcome. Relaxing in the peace and quiet of my little garden oasis encircled by beautiful living things will bring me much joy. Seasoning and garnishing food with herbs from my own garden will give me more incentive to try out a few recipes. Late in the summer I hope to harvest tomatoes, green onions, beans, and snow peas to savour and preserve.
Remember, my friend, with God as our helper,
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
Maybe in the end, it can’t be done but HE CAN!!
Until next time,