The Secret Power of Weakness and “I Can’t”

Confessions of the Heart

“I can’t!”

I’ve confessed, full of discouragement, more times than I care to count or admit. It’s a declaration that I’ve never been proud to use because it exposed a weakness each time I uttered it. But, there seems to come a point in many situations where I feel that I am incapable of going through it.

Growing up, I would always hear that I was never to use the phrase, “I can’t!” I was taught by my parents and teachers to try my best and never give up. So, it was understood that those two words used together, somehow, meant that I’d given up, and I wasn’t allowed to do that.

Well, there are plenty of times that I decided to give up, even recently, because I decided that “I can’t!” In fact, writing about it hit me the other day when I yelled, “I can’t!” and realized that unless I asked God to help me, it wouldn’t get done.

The Revelation of Weakness

weaknessIt wasn’t until recently that I really paid any attention to why I felt this way – it was because “I” can’t.

Now, I’m sure that sounds no different than before so let me explain.

Often as adults, the things we set out to do and, ultimately, decide that we can’t do were things we would never be able to accomplish on our own. I’ve always needed God’s help to get through or accomplish a goal. But, once again, more times than I care to count, I didn’t ask Him for help. I tried to succeed on my own.

So, I finally learned that what I was taught about the phrase “I can’t!” wasn’t completely true. See, when you surrender to God’s will, that’s when you become capable. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” This lets us know that we can do “all things” as long as our strength is coming from God.

So, What’s The Play Call?

In all of your doing, remember that you really can’t unless God is pouring the resources and tools you need to get the job done. Never forget that you must rely on God to validate your capabilities. Here are a few things to keep in mind when the phrase “I can’t!” comes to mind:

  1. “You can!” as long as God allows you to. As our previous Playbook reference reminds us, we need His will and His strength to complete all that we set out to do. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13
  2. Trust God more than you trust yourself. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
  3. Your words have power. Yep, they sure do, and when you declare that you can’t, your mind and heart begin to believe it. Yes, I do realize that we’ve just talked about the fact that we can’t without God. But when we trust Him, we are capable. Turn your understanding of “I” can’t into the confession that “God can.”  “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21
  4. Remember, when you’re the weakest, God’s the strongest. Our lowest point of weakness reveals God’s greatest strength in our lives. It’s an unfair, gracious exchange by God. “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
  5. Don’t let fear stop you from doing all that you were called to do. “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

The key thing to remember is that, as the song says, “Without Him, I could do nothing. Without Him, I would fail.” Know that without God, you really can’t. And, it is okay to admit that… in fact, God is waiting for you to admit it so that He can step in and help you. So, go ahead and give it all to God.


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