Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Morning Musings: I Just Can't!

"I just can’t."

Those three words are so powerful in our minds, and when I hear them (whether uttered by myself or another person) it sets me on edge. Growing up we had a family motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. My Dad’s voice resonates so clearly in my head with that admonition that any time I find myself thinking that something is too difficult for me, my conscience instantly responds with, 
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” 

Life is full of hard work, no matter what your calling. I am presented with opportunities to throw in the towel on a daily basis, as motherhood is the sort of job where you often feel like you fail more than you succeed. Whether it’s a seeming inability to keep the house tidy, get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour, keep up on the laundry, or get a child to understand that no, we don’t throw toys when we get angry (even though we’ve been working on it for over a year now!), it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and say, “I just can’t do it!”
[Laundry procrastination]
But here’s the deal. Unless the “can’t” in your mind involves flying without wings or using a magic wand, you most likely can. Now, I am not saying that you can do everything perfectly all the time and all you need is a little self motivation. But if the only thing I worked on and cared about was the state of my kitchen, I guarantee you it’d be sparkling clean. I am capable. And if someone offered to give me $500 if I could manage to keep the house tidy for a week, you can bet it’d be company-ready for seven days in a row. It’s not a matter of whether I’m capable. It’s often a matter of priorities.

Now, occasionally a messy house is a sign of properly aligned priorities. If the kids have had a rough day which required extra time and energy from you, you’ve managed to make a meal for a friend in need without forsaking your homeschool lessons for the day, and you even squeezed in a trip to the grocery store when you dropped the meal off, then there’s no problem. But if your house is *always* unkept, and you say it’s just too hard to get around to cleaning the bathrooms because the kids are so crazy, it might be a sign that you’re simply letting your priorities slip. How many hours did you spend on the computer this week? In front of the TV? It’s not that you can’t, it’s that your “me-time” takes top priority.

The funny thing about excuses is that they so rarely excuse you. 
They simply reveal your priorities.

So when you find yourself saying you “can’t,” it’s prudent to investigate. Why can’t I? Am I physically incapable, or do I simply not want to? And is my reason for not wanting to do this God-honoring, or is it actually laziness? You probably won’t like the answer.

I just can’t tidy up after the kids go to bed, I’m too exhausted.
I just can’t spend an hour reading to my kids, I have too much to do.
I just can’t make it to church. (Or I can’t make it to church on time.)
I just can’t make up a budget, it’s too overwhelming.
I just can’t be content with my life right now, it’s not how I pictured it would be.

The excuses don’t hold up, but they bring light to what is more important to you:

Your sleep is more important than your home.
Your Facebook is more important than your children’s imaginations.
Your day off is more important than worship in the Lord’s house.
 Frivolous or careless spending is more important than honoring your husband (and your God) with your finances.
Your wants are more important than God’s plan for you.

Ouch. I don’t know about you, but I kind of squirm when I think about all the times I am tempted to give into the “I just can’t” mentality throughout the day. And no, I don’t read to my children for an hour every day, or tidy up every single night before I go to bed. To be honest, I am writing this because I desperately need to be reminded of these truths myself! I fall short in every category. But, I was given the gift of a father’s patient and persistent instruction throughout the years. I have a voice bouncing around in my head that I simply can’t silence when the temptation strikes. 

“You can’t? You mean you won’t. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You just don’t want to.”

It’s time to want to.
Get up, and go to it!
When you rely on the grace of God, you can!
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*By the way, if anyone wanted to offer me $500 to keep my house clean for a week, that would sure help me get off to a good start… just let me know…


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