Countless blogs, articles, and even books have been written about the word can't. Every time I read them, they have the same message: don't say it. Believe in yourself. Don't even think it, let alone have the words escape from your lips. Can't is the first step towards didn't. Etc, etc. I don't agree with any of it. And here's why.
I have said 'can't' too many times in my life to count. Sometimes it's legitimate ("I can't pay for that"), but oftentimes it comes out of discouragement. At my lowest of lows, I know I believe I can't do anything right, that I can't meet the deadline, that I can't be a good wife, that I can't keep going forward.
Can't reminds me that I'm human. It reminds me that I make mistakes often. It reminds me that I have the tendency to give up too soon, without pushing, and to give myself a great excuse to bow out when the going gets rough.
But here's the beauty of can't. Can't reminds me that even when I can't, God can. When I don't believe in myself any longer, I can believe in Someone else. When all my failures are laid out before me, I know that when I am unable, God is able.
Over the years, I can remember big moments where I've said can't:
I can't buy own a 30 year mortgage when I'm not even 20
I can't cook dinner every night for my family like my mom did
I can't run that far
I can't get a job that I love
I can't go 6 weeks without using my right arm
I can't become a photographer
And friends, I have. I have done all of that and more. Not because I'm great. Not because I "stared fear in the face." Not because I am any more than a 22 year old who still feels like a little girl instead of an adult. It's because at my weakest, Christ is my strength, and the only one who lets me carry on. I'll leave you with a couple verses from a beautiful hymn:
Not I, but Christ, to gently soothe in sorrow,
Not I, but Christ, to wipe the falling tear;
Not I, but Christ, to lift the weary burden,
Not I, but Christ, to hush away all fear.
Not I, but Christ, my every need supplying,
Not I, but Christ, my strength and health to be;
Not I, but Christ, for body, soul, and spirit,
Christ, only Christ, here and eternally.