When I got married a few years ago, at the age of 33, I felt that I had lived the single life to its fullest, and was very ready to enter into a new season of life. I knew that marriage would bring change, that it would be different, and I was excited for what was next. What I didn’t realize was just how set in my ways I had become while living as a single woman throughout my twenties.
Most of the habits I had acquired were more like idiosyncrasies, nothing harmful, just quirky, and hopefully endearing to my husband. But living with someone, day in and day out, can make you more aware of things that you hadn’t previously paid any attention to, because they will point those things out to you. The number one thing my new husband pointed out to me was how often I say “I can’t.” In fact, he made a family rule that I had to stop saying it.
“In our family, we don’t say I can’t.”
“I don’t really say it all that much, do I?” I wondered to myself.
After it was pointed out, I realized that I did say “I can’t” a lot. I not only said it, it seemed that I believed it. In fact, I had no idea how much I believed it. And I had no idea how much that affected me.
As I started to push back on my “I can’t” statements, I found that they were grounded in fear. In the fear of not enough, in the fear of failure, in the fear of other people’s perceptions of me.
More than that, my “I can’t” statements summed up my overall belief that I wasn’t enough. That I had a couple of things I was alright at, but mostly, I was maybe an average girl, nothing special, not really gifted, not exceptional. My husband didn’t see me that way though. He saw me as enough, he saw more giftedness in me than I could see, and more capabilities than I could even imagine.
When I thought about Jesus and how He treated people, it made me realize that my idea of myself and my lack of capabilities wasn’t glorifying God at all. I was treating myself with less love and care then Jesus would have. Because when Jesus was here on earth, God in the flesh, He didn’t treat people as if they were not enough. He didn’t treat them like they were failures. He didn’t care what other people thought of them. He loved them. Completely and totally. In their accomplishments and their struggles, He loved them. Despite their sin, He loved them. Because He made them. And He made me.
For You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14)
I also found that relying on “I can’t” when things were hard, scary, overwhelming, or sad, I was not only limiting myself, but that I was also limiting the God who made me, and who lives in me.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
I began to realize that I just might be capable of more than I had thought previously, which was amazing to me. What if I didn’t have to assume that I just can’t do things, and instead I tried them? And what if I tried those hard, scary or overwhelming things and found that I actually could do them? What does that say about God? What does that say about me?
Well it doesn’t say that I am awesome, in some sort of a super-independent, girl-power, singing some Taylor Swift anthem in the car with the windows down kind of way, but because I was made lovingly by a God who made me to do more than I can even dream of. He has things that He wants me to do, for Him, and with Him. He wants me to ask Him for help with things, and He knows that some will come easier than others, because I am more gifted in some ways than others. We each have a unique giftset, which makes some things come naturally, and some things take work. But overall, He wants me to use the gifts that He has given me to the best of my ability, for all of the days that I get to walk this Earth. He wants me to rest in His love, His approval, His power…in Him. Instead of giving up, I can walk forward, trusting that the hand of my Creator will guide me, and help me, and give me what I need. He will supply what I lack, and He has given me a lot to begin with.
And so it is with you as well. He has gifted you to do amazing things in His name. Don’t give up, don’t count yourself out. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Lean into Him, and rest in the fact that He loves you so much, and that He is so glad He created you, with your specific gifts. And if you struggle believing that, just know that I do too. And it has become my daily prayer to remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, with a purpose in mind. I pray that you remember that daily too.– Julie