When I was seven, I was at a home improvement store with my dad buying paint supplies. He handed me a list of things we’d need along with a pen. He asked that I mark off items as we gathered them. It was a simple but essential task, perfectly suited for my limited, second grade ability to assist with this errand. I followed him to the paint counter, and watched, enthralled, as the colors were mixed and the can was pounded shut. The employee handed it over to my dad who looked down at me. “What’s next?” he asked. I looked at the heavy can housing the freshly mixed paint and then down at the scrap paper and pen I was holding. For some reason, carrying the paint struck me as a more valuable task than managing the list of supplies. I requested a switch of duties. My dad refused, explaining that the can was too heavy, but I was insistent. He eventually gave in and let me try. I didn’t make it ten steps before the weight of the can proved to be too much and I dropped it. The pressure unleashed the cap, sending the paint out into a massive puddle in the center of the aisle. My determination to do it my way ended up leading to disaster.
Years later, not much has changed. I still frequently assign myself duties the Lord never intended for me. In the process, I neglect the unique and perfectly suited vocation I was created to fulfill. When I’m open to the movement of the Spirit and my place in God’s plan, it isn’t difficult to recognize my own responsibilities and crosses. Whatever is not mine to bear, may I surrender to God’s infinite wisdom and work of salvation.