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The Power of I Can’t

Guest Blogger: Staci Stallings

We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions–but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all. (TMB 1 Corinthians 8:2-3)

Let’s be honest. Our culture today worships the individual who succeeds. We hold up as our role models those who are tough, who fight through adversity and come out on the other side, those who know the most and do the most. It’s an intimidating culture to marinate in.

We have been told almost from birth that any situation you face should be met with a “can do” spirit. “I Can” is verily tattooed to our birth certificates before we exit the hospital.

In schools, administrators busily design programs that foster “self-reliance” and “self-respect.” They teach children to believe in themselves and work toward their goals.

I suppose from a worldly perspective that’s about all we could ever hope for. After all, without God, who else are you going to rely on? There is a song that talks about no one is going to have your back when you fall. That’s the juice we are all steeped in. We hear it in commercials and on the radio. We even hear it from each other.

“It’s okay. You can do this. I know you can.”

But here’s the thing: None of this is Biblical. None of it is based on a relationship with God. It is all based in self, which ultimately is the very sin Adam and Eve got thrown out of the garden for committing.

So I invite you for a moment to take a good, hard look at these messages that sound so good and so right, and see them for what they are: lies of the Enemy.

That may sound harsh, but speaking as someone who practically gorged herself on this kind of thinking for 35 years, I can tell you that this way of thinking is not just sin–it is deadly. When you rely on yourself, what happens when you are weak? What happens when your doubt overtakes your faith? What happens when you’re walking on water with a friend who really needs you, and you suddenly sense that you can’t do this?

I’ve felt the panic that rises at this very thought. I have fought it. I have tried to shout it down with platitudes and positive thoughts, but the sad truth is, on my own I’m not capable of handling the depth of brokenness in this world. Sometimes I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to do, I’m swimming and swimming, but I sense that at any moment I’m going under with no way to find up again.

That’s often what happens when God puts you out into deep water with the emotional issues of others–family, friends, those we work with, our children, and spouses. There is a depth to the need that none of us can quite meet. No matter how much we want to. No matter how much we try. We simply can’t because as humans we are limited. We have limited understanding, limited wisdom, limited patience, limited everything.

But here’s a secret that Satan never wanted you to hear. When you think you can’t, you’re right. Now that doesn’t give you license to give up. It is, instead, a call to stop trusting yourself and start trusting God.

Jesus is walking on that water with you, and He knows you can’t. He never meant for you to.

I know, that’s radically new thinking, but it’s true. God knows you are human. He knows you don’t have all of the answers. He doesn’t expect you to. What He wants is for every one of these occasions of “I can’t” panic to be cause for you to call out to Him, to ask Him into the situation, to reach for His help, His love, His strength, His wisdom, His peace. He wants nothing more than to come to your assistance, but you have to recognize your own need for Him and make the choice to ask.

There is power–God’s power–waiting in the words “I can’t” so long as they are followed by, “but He can.” Rest in that power. Reach for that power. For He is always right there ready to do what you can’t.

To learn more about Staci, visit her blog.

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About Jess Keller

I'm an author, speaker and chocolate eater who's chasing hard after my dreams.

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