You Can Do Anything, But Not Everything

My mom knows and understands my appreciation for letters and notes of encouragement. I have favorite birthday cards saved all the way back to when I was 5 years old. I’m always writing someone a letter or leaving notes on the whiteboard complimenting my staff at work. So this birthday, my Mom gave me a booklet of cute inspirational quotes that you can tear out and give to people to encourage them. Needless to say, I love it and immediately began thumbing through to read some of them. Then I came to one that made me stop. Turn back. Reread that. It hit me like a pile of bricks. 

You can do anything, but not everything. 

Wow.

And that’s not a bad thing. 

So here’s the deal, if you know me in real life (oh have read at least like two blog posts) you know that for most of my life *and still sometimes* I thought I could do everything. 

Beyond that, I thought anyone that told me otherwise didn’t believe in me and I set about to prove them wrong. 
But the people who came alongside me in life and said “Taryn, you shouldn’t try to do this…” they were the ones who believed in me the most. The ones who did believe I could take 7 hard classes at a time. The ones who did believe I could work full time. The ones who did believe I could be a camp counselor and lead on the praise team and teach Bible Drill. 

But not all at the same time. 

“You can do ANYTHING. But NOT everything.”

This is what my parents, boyfriend, mentors, best friend… what they all tried to tell me. What they all did tell me. And I didn’t listen.

They didn’t want to shut me down, to tell me I wasn’t good enough, to undermine my abilities. They wanted to empower me. They wanted me to have the strength and energy to do my very best at what was important. Not to feel like I was running a thousand miles and hour and could still never be enough. 

So to my dearest friends graduating high school this weekend, this is the one biggest thing I learned my first year of college and what I want to send you off with. 

I believe in you all. You can get a 4.0 next fall if that’s your goal. You can work a job while in school. You can get involved in leadership roles on campus. You can make the best friends of your life. You can, and I truly believe, will thrive. But you won’t do it by doing everything. 

So pick what is very most important to you, and do it to the best of your ability. Prioritize and cut back what doesn’t make the list. Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. 

I believe in you. 

My prayer for you all is in the lyrics of my graduation songs from a year ago:

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow, and each road leads you where you oughta go. And if you’re faced with a choice and you have to choose, I hope you choose the one that means the most to you… I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams, and that faith give you the courage to dare to do great things. 

Class of 2017, go and do great things

Everyone else, you go do and great things too:)

You can do anything, just not everything. 

Taryn

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“Just Be Held”

“Lift your hands, lift your eyes, in the storm is where you’ll find Me. And where you are, I’ll hold your heart, I’ll hold your heart.”

This song first pierced my heart when I was battling through mono my junior year. I had no strength left to do anything that I wanted to do or thought I was supposed to do. I had to learn to release all the expectations, all the standards, and just be held. To know that His grace was more than sufficient for exactly what I was supposed to do, and He didn’t expect anything more from me than surrender to Him. No perfect grades, No perfect looks, nothing. Just trust.

I told my best friend just last week, “The times when I have felt very closest to God, when I have felt His presence the most have been some of the hardest days of my life. The days when I had nothing left but Him.” This week, God has been reminding me of that lesson that I have to learn time and time again. To fall on Him and nothing else. Sometimes He has to knock me flat on my back to get my attention, and as much as it hurts, it is always worth it. Because afterwards, He always picks me up and lets me just be held for a while.

 

— Taryn

 

Be Strong in the LORD

I’ve told the story of my relentless sickness on this blog more than once, but this speech was the very first time I had talked about it or started to see God’s hand in it. This was a turning point for me that changed my perspective in so many ways. I needed this reminder today as well, that when I am weak, then He is so very strong.

Being a Steward of Strength

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” — 1 Peter 4:10

Growing up in church, I heard the words “steward” and “stewardship” get thrown around a lot. Usually, people use them in reference to money. You are a good steward of your money if you use it wisely and in a way that would glorify God. When we are really stretching our minds, we say that we should be a good steward of our time or our possessions. Using them in the most astute manner as to please the LORD. But when I was lying in my bed one day extremely sick, I felt God nudging me saying, “Taryn, I need you to be a better steward of your strength.”
“Wait, umm God, I know You know what You are talking about, but what do you mean a good steward of my strength? I’m doing everything I can with my strength to glorify You, isn’t that what You want?”

I’ve told the story before of having mono and all the long term affects that has had on my health, my life plans, and everything else. My game plan through the whole thing was to try to prove someone or something wrong. Whether that was the doctors, people who told me I couldn’t keep doing everything, or the diagnosis itself. I wanted to prove that I could still juggle high school, working, pursuing a professional piano career, volunteering at church and school, my social life, and everything else. Well guess what? I couldn’t. But I adamantly refused to admit that until I was flat on my back unable to move for two days just because I went to the park with my friends.

Still, I was determined to do everything that I possibly could and never stop to rest when I could have been doing something for the kingdom of God. It took God completely knocking me out of commission to get a point across. 

“Taryn, you need to be a better of steward of your strength”

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9

Sometimes, God doesn’t give us abundant strength. But He always gives us what we need for what He has in store for us. What would happen then if we wasted all of that strength before we got to what God wanted us to use our strength on? That’s what I have been convicted of so often recently. 

My mentality has been to use up every last ounce of strength that I have or “hit the bed hard” as my youth pastor likes to say. But here’s the problem, I’m using the strength just because I have it and then I run out… and then I completely miss what God wanted to do through me. 

When I wake up in the morning and jump out of bed and run errands just to prove I can, I waste all my energy and make myself sick. Then that night when God asks me to go help out a friend who needs encouragement, I can’t because I’m too sick to get out of bed. 

So yes, God asks me to do things for Him. And He gives me the strength for them, He promises His grace is more than sufficient, but that doesn’t mean I can’t waste that strength. I want to learn to be a good steward of the strength I do have and use the gifts God gives me the ways He wants. Time, money, resources… and strength. 

His Mercies are new Every Morning

I’m definitely a morning person. I can get up at 5:30 am and be productive (like this morning!), but once about 9 pm hits, I lose any ability to function. Most days, I look forward to going to sleep at night and waking up the next morning to a fresh day — a new start. But some nights, I don’t want to go to sleep, I don’t want to have to wake up and face the daunting day that looms before me.

On those days, I have often fallen into the trap of losing hope — of forgetting that God is sovereign and so, so faithful. I forget the verse that I clung to for all of last year, the verse that gave me a reason to keep persevering when that was the last thing I wanted to do.

“Because of the LORD’s faithful love, we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” — Lamentations 3:22-23

They are new every morning! That is a reason to rejoice! Every single morning when I wake up, God has new mercy and new strength in store for that day. I don’t have to be strong enough, because He already is! And I don’t have to have the strength to get through tomorrow yet, that is in the future and God will provide what I need when I get there. When I wake up tomorrow, His mercies will be new all over again and then I’ll be able to take on the future, but not yet.

Not only does this bring hope and peace, it gives yet another reason not to worry.

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength — carrying two days at once! It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worry  doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” — Corrie ten Boom

Let me tell you what, I don’t have any abundance of strength to be wasting. I don’t want to waste the strength that God has blessed me with today by worrying about tomorrow. Especially since He says He will take care of it for me.

What is going to happen tomorrow, next week, in the future… we have no control over! Worrying isn’t going to change any of it, but what we can trust is that God will give us the strength for it as we come to it. That He isn’t ever going to leave us out on our own. That no matter how bleak and helpless things look, His power is going to claim the victory. That brings me back to the verse that sparked this whole blogging journey…

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9

That’s more than good enough for me. I don’t have to worry, I get to live without worry knowing that He is abundantly strong and that He is going to take care of me. I get to rely on His new mercies every day, and drown every single day in His sufficient grace. Grace that’s bigger than failures, bigger than weakness and fatigue, and bigger than my extreme senioritis;) Grace in knowing that no matter what happens today, God is still going to be here being faithful tomorrow and it’ll be a new day with new joy in Him to look forward to.

“Weeping may last for a night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.” — Psalm 30:5