· I just can’t make myself work on that right now
· I can’t get motivated on working toward my goal
· I can’t get to work on time
· I can’t control my emotions
Do any of these sound familiar? If not, maybe it is some other thing that we “can’t” do. Can is a condition of power, authority, ability, and/or choice. These are all of the things we need to make goals and then choose to work towards them. The language that we use can have a big effect on our behavior. When we say “I can’t” what we are really saying is that we lack power, we lack authority, we lack ability, and choice. But our power lies in our ability to choose. When we give up our power and choose “can’t”, we end up staying where we are, making little to no progress, and settling for the excuse. Before we know it, we actually start to believe that we can’t. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 23:7 that “as a man thinketh, so is he”. So if we think we can’t then so it is and the outcome will reflect this.
So back to the opening series of questions considered from a different angle:
· Is it that you can’t or that you won’t work on THAT right now?
· Is it that you can’t or that you won’t work toward the goal you’ve set?
· Is it that you can’t or that you won’t get to work on time?
· Is it that you can’t or that you won’t control your emotions?
Can’t is a by-product of the enemy and as previously stated impedes progress. Sometimes the things we go through can leave us feeling like we can’t. However, can’t gives us permission to make excuses and justifies us not doing our part to improve our situation. At times can’t comes from a place of fear. It can feel uncomfortable to try something new or maybe we do not want to start because we fear we will fail. Some of us even fear being successful because if we actually achieve the goal then we have to work to maintain that success.
The enemy will use fear to activate our fear response of flight, fight, or freeze. We end up either wanting to run away (flight), get caught up in unnecessary conflicts that distract us from what God has called us to do (fight), or become paralyzed and feel as though we can’t move or don’t know the next move to make (freeze). If you are a believer the Bible says in Luke 10:19 that “we have authority and power to overcome the enemy”. We are not left to the enemies devices. We actually have more power than we realize because we live with the same power that raised Christ from the dead inside of us (Romans 8:11).
The question to consider is do you believe that you can’t or is it that you won’t believe in it? We can lose sight of what is inside when fear strikes or when we focus more on what is happening around us than what God has put inside of us. Learning to see our ability, power, and choice is a process. Here are some things that may help you the next time you are trying to decide to between can’t or won’t:
1. Increase your self-awareness. We always have a choice. We always have power. However, in the moment it can be hard to recognize the choice and power because we are used to responding in a certain way. We can work on improving our self-awareness by slowing down and tuning into ourselves in the moment. This helps us learn what we are thinking and feeling so that we can recognize the choices available to us. Check in with yourself and make sure that you aren’t using can’t to excuse you out of making the changes that will improve your life.
2. Sometimes things can feel overwhelming. Rather than trying to tackle it all at once you can break down what you need to get done into smaller parts. Start with the easiest and progress from there.
3. Be patient. The old adage that Roman wasn’t built in a day is true. It wasn’t. So neither does changing your mindset and responses have to be. Transformation is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over time. Give yourself the time needed to become more self-aware and then to do something different. Patience is a virtue that is best applied not just to others but ourselves as well.
4. Watch out for setbacks. Setbacks can be small or large and can derail us from where we’re going. Know that they will happen and be determined not to let them stop you. Setbacks can become the “cant’s” that excuse why we are not doing what we want to be doing or know we need to do. Do not allow yourself to be derailed by these. If you have gotten off track make a plan to get back to working on turning goals into reality. It’s never too late.
Until next time…...