Lenten Thoughts: The Same Old Temptation Got Me Again

The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” (Matthew 4:3 NRSV)

I blew it again! I tried too hard.  I mean, I tried when I should have trusted. I tackled rehab with a determination that backfired when I did not achieve the goals I believed I should have achieved. In other words, I wasn’t an “A” student. I was probably a “C” student – because that was the best I could get out of my body. I couldn’t achieve and maintain the perfect heart-healthy diet.  I haven’t achieved a speed of 3 mph on the treadmill and I probably never will. In fact, I haven’t reached 2 mph more than once!

My point is that I tried to turn stones into bread under my own power and that was not my job to do. My job was to do the work given me to do, accept my human limitations and trust whatever level of improvement it would bring. Instead, I kept wanting to achieve the same level that a younger, bigger man achieved during his rehab! In retrospect, it’s hard to believe I keep falling for that same temptation over and over.

I did the same thing when I got lymphodema more than ten years ago. The doctor said that once I had it, it would never go away but could be managed. I tackled that therapy with the sincere belief that I would overcome my lymphodema, even if I was the first to do so!  Of course the doctor was right and I have found the condition annoying in trying to get clothes to fit and something to be watched for any signs of  infection, but generally quite manageable.

Being an overachiever may work in the first part of life, but even then it builds up greater and greater stress. In the last part of life, I must give up achievement. I must trust God for outcomes instead of trying to create or control them.

Trust instead of Try.

 But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone,
 but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 NRSV)


About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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