I know well the pendulum of I can’t vs. I did it. Maybe you do too. Years ago while recovering from a hospital stay, my mom visited me while my dad attended a business convention. Our first morning alone together, I made breakfast while Mom dressed. When Mom reached the carpeted steps joining the bedrooms to my main floor, she hesitated. Three simple steps that take three seconds to descend suddenly appeared a cavernous pit to Mom.
Even afraid to grip the hefty railing, Mom rocked a little forward, stammering, “I can’t . . . I can’t.” The combination of Mom’s still weak legs and her new medication morphed her mid-60s body into a fearful child. Petrified to ease her foot onto the first step, Mom’s “I can’t . . . I can’t . . . can’t” faded to a whisper when I suggested Plan B. With my holding her hand, Mom sat down and together we scooched our bottoms down each step.
I Can’t…I Can’t
Decades later I sit here writing to you, pondering how often I, and maybe at times you, stammer, “I can’t. I can’t.” Our mortified doubts may not leave our lips, but we all have our share of inferior moments where we are adamantly convinced that we cannot do something. I can’t deal with this marriage anymore. I can’t stand the way my boss treats me. Ugh, I can’t go another month without enough money. I can’t endure the chemo. Sigh, I can’t hack being single this long. I can’t get through to my teen. I can’t live like this anymore.
I get your “I can’ts.” At times, we all need some extra encouragement, a welcoming respite for those “I can’ts” of life. As much as I identify with your “I can’ts,” God gets them even more. He already knows all about your reluctance, your uncertainty, even your skepticism. He also knows how well you bend and flex your way through challenges—what you can handle and just where you need a hand.
I Did It…I Did It
So before the next cacophony of “I can’ts” rumble and roar, reducing us to an emotional slug, let’s try something. Work with me here. Tell God about all those “I can’ts.” Go on. Dump out the frustration, the worry, the feeling overwhelmed. And sit on your tush, if you need to. God is already there ready to scooch along right with you.
So goodbye the “I can’ts” of life and hello “I did it! I did it!” This very moment you’re just one scooch away from getting down those steps like my mom or taking the next step forward. You CAN do it!
“You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing.
You back up but you don’t give up.” —Chuck Yeager, flying ace, record-setting test pilot