I Can’t

If you were a very lucky child, every time you said, “I can’t” or “I’ll never be able to”, there was someone standing nearby to kindly and patiently insist that you could. When you were finally motivated by that persistent encouragement and did try but ultimately failed, they were still standing near, nudging you to try again. Those perfect parents or parent substitutes were constantly challenging you to try new things, to reach higher, to make your best better. They carried for you the confidence that you did not yet have. That is, if you were very, very lucky.

Most people I meet were not that lucky, they grew up with at best, real parents who inconsistently and often less then patiently rebutted their “I can’t”. Worse, parents that reinforced the belief that there would be many things their children would never be able to do.

Even if you had “perfect” (ha!) parents in this regard, you will still need to learn to conquer the, “I Can’t” s as an adult. Finding real joy in your life absolutely depends on you pushing past the things that you do not think you can do.

I think a lot about how people become open to change. We often, for the longest time, ignore the reality of our money, health and relationship problems until something happens to help open that window. That feeling of hopelessness, the nagging fear that the problem is too big to be solved, the ugly thought that “I truly can’t” are some of the reasons the window stays closed.

I listen to Joyce Meyer podcasts from time to time and recently she taught me some things that have helped me and that might help you:

  • You believe what you hear
  • You believe more of what YOU say than what anyone else says
  • You can and must STOP right this minute saying (in your head or aloud) anything negative about yourself.

Here is how this works:

To counter act the “I can’t’s” Joyce taught me to say, I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. If you are not Christain then substitute whatever higher power you believe in.

Say it aloud at least several times a day. I know you feel like a fool but as Joyce says, it is better to feel like a fool for a little while than to live like one forever.  I do my aloud self-talk in the car.

Every time you start to say or think, “I can’t” say instead, I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. Sure, at first you will miss some but keep working on it.

I been working and thinking about this for about ten days or so. It has not come naturally at all. I often re-think the full and complete I can’t thought and then it takes me several minutes before I remember to erase and replace it.

Yesterday my sister and I took a long walk as part of our preparation for an upcoming hike. At about mile 9, we were getting hot and tired and griping good-naturedly to one another about our aches and pains. The thought of building up to carrying a loaded pack while doing these hikes came into my mind but before I could complete the thought, “I’ll never be able to do this while carrying 30 lbs” the thought was stopped and replaced with – I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. Wow, too cool! This happened without conscience effort and in real time.

If you are struggling with the thought of tackling your big problem, is it because you talked yourself into believing it cannot be fixed or that you are not strong enough or smart enough to fix it?

I know it can be better for you and I’m willing to walk with you while you go through it; but right this minute, YOU must stop telling yourself that you can’t, and  start telling YOU what I’ve been telling you.





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