I just returned from a long walk, through a field passed a 200 year old Hospital, which is stunning and beautiful; perhaps even more so as it’s gardens are filled to the brim with daffodils. It is cold, rainy and dark, for many this would be horrible weather, for me it never prevents a good walk and is often the time I do my best reflections. My High School English teacher always told me when it rains in a novel, it is often symbolism of an epiphanal moment, or realization. Today was certainly that.
Over the last two years, I’ve heard a lot of “I/you can’t”. I’ve heard it from friends, family, Pastors, Priests, acquaintances, strangers and pretty much almost everyone in my life. I’m amazed that so many people feel powerless, feel unable to do that which their heart desires and feel the need to discourage others as well. I’m amazed that people feel so weak and unable to make choices. I’m not sure if this is somewhat cultural, I think perhaps part of it is, but I also recognize this is probably, sadly, a human condition and one I know I’ve been guilty of in the past.
And what is it people think they can’t do? Well the answers are as varied as people (and by no means should everyone feel they are called to do all these things and yes rarely, but sometimes, there are barriers we can’t remove) but my friend’s and family can’t list include: owning a dog, volunteering, fostering, adoption, eating healthy, giving to charity, moving, changing jobs, re-training, exercising, cooking, finding something to be thankful for, reading the newspaper, reading a book, going to the countryside, exploring a new city, caring for a loved one who is sick, working part-time, getting in control of one’s finances and the list goes on. A friend of mine recently said through tears to me that she wants to read a paper, but she can’t because she simply isn’t educated enough.
I believe when we say we can’t do something we disable ourselves. We allow fear of failure to ruin our choices, we actually stop making any choices at all and instead let life pass us by. I am not a natural risk taker, I am not like people who climb mountains or deep-sea dive. I do have fears, a lot of them. One month ago I attended an interview and didn’t get it, almost all my friends and family told me to head home, to not attend the interview for the second position because I won’t get that post either. Well, I did. After that many family members told me I should decline the position as I would never find somewhere to live. Well, I did. Close friends and family told me to get the cat put down when she was attacked, they felt I couldn’t spend two weeks caring for her 24/7. Well, I did and as of today all her stitches were taken out and she is eating, on her own again. She did it, in her time, but she refused to give up.
I do not believe we can do everything we desire in the timing we want and I do know there are significant barriers at times to do the things we feel called to do. I know, first-hand, these things are not always easy, if they were I’d currently have four chickens, 4-5 rescue dogs & cats, a small-holding and a large family! Currently that is not realistic, but it doesn’t mean it will always be that way, it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, it just means right now is not that season but instead a season of preparing for that life and for what lies ahead. Friends tell me they “can’t” own a dog because they’ll always have to work full-time because they need money. They fail to see how we choose to live today shapes our future. If you really and truly want a dog and want to work part-time, then maybe spending £200 on a cleaning lady each month, £200 a month on clothes and £100 at the beauty salon each month is what is preventing you from having the life which you desire. Maybe *owning* your choice instead of saying you can’t, would get you further. And yes I’m well aware that most of us work full time due to necessities not luxuries!
I believe the Lord put very clear desires into my heart, they are not desires to be wealthy, make money on the stock market or retire at 40 or 50, they are not desires to own a big home or a luxury vehicle. My desires are to care for orphans, to work hard and be a good steward of resources. My desires are to give to others, to care about people and animals, to be an honorable employee with a cheerful heart and soul both professionally and personally. My desires are to live my faith, fully and firmly even when it is the exception to the norm. My desires include motherhood, caring for animals and being content with whatever season I’m in. My desires are to know there are very few things you can’t do and many things you can do! And when I need reminding of just how much we can accomplish by making purposeful choices I repeat this verse:
I can do anything through Him who gives me strength Philippians 4:13
And I’m pretty sure you can to! And on that note I want to thank all my blog friends and readers for being a constant source of encouragement, for telling me I can, celebrating my moments of joy and providing support during the downtimes. You are, in truth, incredible, each and every one of you! Thank you!
And what is it that you “can” do?