Will You Say "I Can?"

There is a fine line between telling someone they can do something and telling someone they can do something…don’t you think?
What I mean is this, if I tell someone they can or can’t do something BEFORE they even try, my words will impact them. My words are either a positive reinforcement or a negative reinforcement. However, if I tell someone they can or can’t do something that they’ve ALREADY DONE (whether it be done well or not so well), my words will impact them. Get what I’m saying?
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear my children say the words, “I can’t!” Usually my response is, “No, it’s not that you can’t, it’s that you won’t either because you are being lazy (you can judge my parenting skills or lack thereof later!) or because you are not willing to try.”
And as I type this, my words slap me right across the face. These words sting a little…not because they are mean, but because they are convicting. How many times have I told God that I can’t when in fact, I could, should or must fully knowing that God has equipped me and/or will equip me to move into the “I can, I will, I have done” stage?
Why is it so easy to point out other people’s timidity, fear, laziness and/or resistance, yet it is much harder to confront our own issues?
Because we are human that’s why!
Jennifer Rothschild spoke at our women’s conference this past weekend and her final moments of speaking spoke to me the loudest. She gave an illustration. On one imaginary board she wrote the word “Rest” and on the other imaginary board she wrote the word “Resist.” As you look at both of those words, what is the one letter that exists in one of those words that doesn’t exist in the other? The letter “i.” The letter “i” as in me, myself and I. We stop ourselves from doing so many things. Yes, others in our lives can speak negative words to us, but it is ultimately ourselves who continue to repeat those words to our own souls.
James 3:5-10 says this,
It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! (the Message)

If our words can do this much damage, think how much more our words can do that much good?
When you hear yourself saying, “I can’t” tell yourself instead “I can and I will.” Pray for discernment and wisdom. We can’t do everything perfectly and well, but we can do that which we have been gifted and equipped to do well. As Jennifer Rothschild also pointed out, when we say “I can’t” we are actually saying “I won’t” and that my friends is pure defiance to God. If the Holy Spirit is leading you along the path and is asking you to do something and you say “you can’t” or “you won’t,” you are allowing sin to control your thoughts and actions. You have given in to the sins of worry, fear, timidity, doubt and lack of trust. If God is telling you “you can” then you better bet He is going to equip you and guide you to get you through it so you can say “I did” and “I have done.”
It boils down to obedience. Isaiah was assigned a very difficult task. In Isaiah 6:9-10, it says,
And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’ Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.”

Unlike Moses and Jeremiah who gave excuses for why they couldn’t do what God had asked of them, Isaiah said, “Here I am. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8) even before the Lord had told him exactly what he was going to do or say.
Isaiah offered up his obedience to the Lord and was totally unaffected by the potential failure or success of what the Lord was about to ask him to do.
So what about you...are you willing to act in complete obedience regardless of the outcome (remember, the Lord is not asking you to be successful at something…your success does not determine His sovereignty, greatness or goodness) or will you walk in defiance by saying “I can’t” just like Moses?
“But Moses argued with the LORD, saying, "I can't do it! I'm such a clumsy speaker! Why should Pharaoh listen to me?" (Exodus 6:30)
We know how it ended for Moses. God in His grace allowed Moses to see the Promised Land, but he never got to step foot in the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34:4). Don’t let this be you friends. God is giving you opportunities to enter into the Promised Land today. You just have to be willing to say, “I can” because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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