I couldn’t understand why my husband would get so frustrated when I would say those words. I mean, it was true, or so I thought. I can’t, I have x amount of kids…. I can’t, don’t have time…. I can’t, this is just the way I am….
To a point it was true, but it was also a crutch. I used my excuses in a way where it sounded like I had no other alternative. Then, when I got frustrated, I blamed my excuses and really bought into that victim mentality without realizing it.
Now I realize that I truly do have a choice even for those things that have a “no duh” response.
I mean, I’m not going to let my child cry on the floor for hours while I go read a book. However, it still is my choice to pick him up and soothe him instead of reading my book. I can choose to not make a phone call because the noise level in my house is way too high, or I can choose to make the phone call and have the person on the other end deal with the noise. I make that decision constantly. When I want to talk with my mom and my kids are running around making a lot of noise, I’ll still call her. However, if I’m about to call the municipal office, I want to present myself in a more positive and put-together way, so I’ll go into a room and shut the door praying that it won’t take too long.
Speaking of talking on the phone… Did I mention that I’ve always hated doing so? It is the scariest thing to do! Will they pick up? What will they say? What will I say?…. I went a long time avoiding talking on the phone for as long as I could, and when I did, I wrote myself a little script.
I make the choice to use the phone a lot more often now, and it’s gotten a lot better. Depending on who I’m calling and what I’m calling about, it’s the most natural thing. But I still have those instances where I have to make the choice to call or not to call and weight the consequences of each decision.
That’s what it really comes down to. The consequences of our choices. Many times we instinctively make a choice based on how we feel or how we’ve always made a particular decision. As for the phone, many times I made the choice not to call based on the anxiety that it caused me. However, there were also many times where the consequence of calling outweighed the fear – such as inquiring about a job.
Talking on the phone is a normal daily activity that has pretty immediate consequences, but do we realize that there are long-term consequences as well?
Calling a potential employer may guarantee that you get the job, talking with a friend or family member maintains and strengthens that relationship, calling to ask for a reduced rate may help with your future finances.
And that’s just the phone…
What about our families? Wow!
“I can’t handle my child, he drives me nuts!” That’s a hard statement to feel within yourself. The response to that feeling is even more complicated. But it’s possible to address it by working on being intentional with our children.
Being intentional with our children isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it! The goal isn’t on addressing the immediate issue for the sake of the immediate moment, the goal is on addressing the immediate issue for the sake of the child’s future. Many of us want our children to be adults with a strong moral character. The responses we give our children help form that character.
I have a lot of trouble with this – I have a tendency to yell when I’m feeling over-whelmed with all of the commotion that surrounds me. That response isn’t the most conducive to forming children of strong moral character. However, knowing that I have that choice to give into my feelings and yell, or take a deep breath and address the issue in the way that it needs to be addressed, really helps me choose the correct option more often or at least check myself, apologize, and start over.
Now, we got into this whole topic of making choices by removing the phrase, “I can’t,” from my vocabulary.
What have you been saying “I can’t” about lately? Do you really have no other alternative? Or are you going to look at it for what it is (the majority of the time), and say, “I’m choosing not to?”
Do you have a dream that you’d love to pursue, but give the excuse “I can’t,” when in reality you may just not be willing to do what it takes to pursue it?
Let’s start being honest with ourselves and take responsibility for the choices we make each moment of every day. We can also go a step further and make the choices that we need to make now in order to achieve what we want to happen in the future!
For me lately is been all about feelings of inadequacy. I can’t write, can’t homeschool, can’t take care of my home….
It’s not good. And it denies the presence of God within me. Thanks for the reminder today.
Hey Ginny – You’ve got this! I have feelings of inadequacy ALL. THE. TIME. It can be so hard to pick back up, to make some sense of the jumble of stuff in our brains, but you can do it! You can write! You can homeschool! You can take care of your home! …even if it’s just a little bit each day – for now. I’ll be praying for you!
There is a difference between “can” and “should”… and “can’t” and “don’t want to”.
It’s amazing how much the words we choose affect our attitude!
Thank you for sharing this, I definitely needed the reminder.
I agree – it is amazing! I’m so glad I could “be there” for you today!
Sometimes it’s easier just to say we can’t . . . when really we mean we don’t want to. And that might even be okay! The important thing is to figure out what that “Can’t” REALLY means at that time. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.
Absolutely! It can just be so easy to get into the habit of saying “I can’t”, instead of taking responsibility for our choices. Thank you for commenting!
YESSSS! I’ve been working so hard lately on removing that negative self-talk and replacing it with positive self-talk and prayer. I know the overwhelmed feeling when I start telling myself “I can’t.” Makes a world of difference to say “I got this, we’ll get through this.” THANK YOU for the reminder!
I love how you included the need for prayer. This is so true! With Him all things are possible! 🙂
Jessica Kong says
What a great idea! I have been trying to implement something similar in my home. I have a child that is easily discouraged and says this quite a lot! Great motivation to get this phrase out of the home 🙂
One of my boys has also gotten into the habit of saying it a lot! Forming a child’s mindset can be so difficult – if you have any tips to make that easier, I’m all ears! 🙂
Hmmm… I think I say “I can’t” when I really mean “I don’t want to.” It’s an easy way out. I’ll have to be more aware of what I’m saying versus what I mean moving forward. 🙂
I agree, it is an easy way out. I mean… who doesn’t like an easy button, right? At the same time, it ends up being more freeing once we take responsibility for our choices – I’m still working on it as well 🙂
Amy Brooks says
Thank you for another reminder to WAKE UP EARLIER and choose to do what I want to get done!!! I need to choose that – very intentionally! Thank you!
Hey girl! I’m right there with you! Monday morning was great! This morning… not so much. Here’s to waking up early tomorrow morning! <3