Philippians 4:13 says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And I have to say, I believe it, but do I truly use the fullness of the meaning in my life?
I work at an assisted living center where all the residents have memory impairments. They are not going home, and they have lost a lot of their independence. They are no longer driving, preparing food, or taking care of their children. Many can’t even remember my name day after day. And yet, every day I learn something new about life from these people whom I have grown to love.
This week, I learned about capability. There is a difference between capability and ability.
Ability often represents what we think we can do based on what the world says.
Capability often represents the potential that God built inside of us from day one.
A young resident at my community — let’s call him Ronald — is one of my capability successes. He cannot follow directions most of the time. For example, when I ask him to push the elevator button, he says, “OK, sure, I can do that,” and he then looks at me with a questioning expression. His brain won’t process the request.
For so many months, I have been trying to figure out what he can do. We finally found a pair of goggles in his room, and I asked Ronald if he can swim. He said, “Yes, I can swim very well.” We called his wife and asked if we could take him swimming. She said we could try, but she didn’t think he would remember how. Our pool is only 4.5 feet deep, so I decided to take him in myself, knowing that I could help him out if needed.
On the way to the pool, we saw the staff and residents react to seeing Ronald with swim trunks and towel. Some of them could not believe that this man was going to go swimming. He has dementia — how is he going to swim?
It’s been three months since that day, and Ronald goes to the pool once or twice a week and swims 15 laps in a row without any help. Of course, he needs help navigating the steps in and out of the pool, and we have to escort him back to his room afterward because he can’t find it alone. But no one has ever told Ronald he can’t swim because he has dementia. All he knows is that he has been swimming all his life and that he can. If I hadn’t believed him when he said he could swim, he would’ve never made it into a pool again.
I can learn a lot from this. How much more would I do if all I knew was that I could?
I can do all things — we can do all things — with a desire and with God’s help. I have the capability within me to do great things. Not of myself but because God can do great things through me. When I say, “I can’t,” I should instead say, “God can through me.”
What have you done in your life without God? How hard was it? What have you done in your life with God? How much more are you capable of now that He’s proven He can for you? And lastly, how much more are you planning to do with God? There is no limit to what He can help us achieve.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.