The Line Between Can’t and Won’t

We’ve all said it: “I can’t right now,” and we usually launch into a litany  of  reasons as to why we “can’t” do something. I don’t think many of us ever say, “I won’t” do something; however, we frequently mean won’t when we say can’t.

Have you ever been in that place that something just tugs at your heart? It seems no matter where you go something reminds you of that urge. Is there some thing that you strongly believe should be changed or improved and you wish you could be a part of the change? Do you know someone who is passionate about a social injustice or mission area and you have often thought “I could never do that.”

The Bible is full of stories of people who said “I can’t” to God. Jonah was directed by God to deliver a message to Nineveh that could change their lives. Jonah took off in the opposite direction, was swallowed up by a big fish, he prayed, and God sent him back to Nineveh. He didn’t think he had what it took to deliver a dangerous message, and yet God called him to this mission and it was worth it in the end as lives were changed.

When we say “I can’t,” Jesus says, “I will.” The apostles frequently questioned Jesus when he told them to do something. Just look at the way the disciples grumbled when Jesus said to get food  for the 4,000 plus followers who sat and listened to Jesus. “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?” They were done and ready to just leave. Jesus, however, had other plans and fed all who stayed and even had food leftover. We need to trust that if we are willing to say “yes”  the Holy Spirit will overcome our fears and great things can happen.

Taking action is one of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves. When we say yes and shift our focus to the needs of other people, we change ourselves. When we ask others to pray with us to discern the next right step to take, we are uplifted and spiritually nourished. When we trust the call we hear and step forward, God steps forward with us. I believe we are closest to God when we are fulfilling the mission he sets before us–even when that mission or call surprises us.

If you are hanging on to a call, if you have heard from the Lord, or if you are waiting for clarity, I encourage you to seek the prayerful partnership of others for the courage to take the first step. Ask for prayer to overcome  your fear and prayer for an open door through which you will walk. And then walk on my friends–walk on in faith and joy.

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” Matthew 9

 

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Timing

I admit it—I’m a rusher. I want what I want when I want it and I have been known to manipulate the situation to get what I want. Did you catch that? I said “what I WANT;” This attitude has caused such pain in my life. I never asked if this was what God wanted for me. And even when I knew it was not what God would want—I did it anyway. Or worse yet, I convinced myself that no matter how wrong I knew it was, surely God would make it right for me!

This was especially true with relationships. I was always looking for better, or maybe just different. I could not stand the idea of being alone. So I was willing to do what I needed to have the relationship I thought I needed. I wasn’t willing to wait on God’s timing for me. The end result for me was three marriages and countless affairs in and out of those marriages. Nothing seemed to make me happy so I kept looking and manipulating. And then one day I said: “enough” and God said: “finally!”

I learned that the most important relationship I could have was with Jesus. Coming to know him by reading the Bible and talking with others about his love for me changed everything. Suddenly God was enough. He filled my life with wonderful new relationships—with other women. I can sit here today and breathe in his love and look at the change in my life and I am overwhelmed to tears. I am no longer hunting for the next husband or lover. I am content and trusting that if God wants that in my life I will know it is time. For today, I do my best to be available for all the good relationships God places in my life. It is so much easier when I take my hands off and trust God’s timetable for my life.

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, ‘Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?’ He replied, ‘Father alone has the authority to set those dates and time, and they are not for you to know.’
Acts 1: 6-7, New Living Translation