Killing Can’t

Ever been told that you aren’t able to do something, or even worse when someone tells us we can’t do something? I’m not referencing a person telling you not to touch a hot oven (seriously, don’t do that!), I mean more on the lines of telling you not to follow after your dreams and aspirations. I think this happens almost on a daily basis for some of us, we run into situations where we have a bold idea or want to get better and take a risk. Then some force says, “You don’t have enough experience,” or, “you’ll never be able to do that.” Nothing will crush you worse than something like that, especially when it’s someone who knows us. I remember being in tenth grade of high school, I wasn’t the best student in the world, but I always tried my best. I was in a class where I was on the edge of failing and I was trying to get help from the teacher, my teacher wanted me and my mom to come in and meet. I felt relieved because I would be able to see how to do better in the class, unfortunately, it didn’t go that way. In the meeting my teacher was very hard on some paper and tests that I had done, I don’t remember all that was said, but there was one thing that I will never forget. She said to me, “If you don’t understand this, you will never be able to understand anything.” I was devastated. My teacher was supposed to help me learn, but she had no faith that I would be able to amount to anything. That took me a long time to move past, and to be completely honest, I still have fears about being a failure and not amounting to anything. The words that were said cut like a sword, and they were the words that said I can’t.

We all have moments in our lives where we remember the words that hurt us, and the people that told us we can’t, but God says we can. For me I clung to this truth, because over and over again we read in the word how God uses the people who feel hopeless. God uses the broken to heel the broken. Don’t believe me that God uses broken people? Read Paul’s story! If you have been keeping up with my blog for the past few months, you know that I have been reading through the life and writings of Paul. The thing that amazes me is how broken Paul was, he was a terrorist and a murderer, but God used him. God stopped him in his tracks and showed him how far he had gone, showing him the damage that he was doing. God used him. God gave him a new name, gave him a new identity. Paul is one of the most well-known leaders of the early church, and he was the most broken. No matter how broken you feel, or hurt others have done to you, there is always hope. That story above, that wasn’t a story of failure. I ended up passing the class, I continued to work hard at everything I did. I was rejected from universities when I applied, so I went to community college. I am now in my third year, and happily at the University of Greensboro. I didn’t do any of that on my own will, I trusted God and chose to not believe the lie that I can’t do something. No matter how many times you may be told you can’t do something, God says you can change the world. I want to share my mindset that God has taught me through my life because I believe that each and every one of us can be used for something bigger and better than we can even imagine.

Trust in God.

When Paul had an encounter with God, he was blinded by a light. This is such a perfect example of all of us, we are blind. Probably not physically, but we are all blind to what happens to us. Problems and struggles come against us all the time, and we can’t see them coming. God wants to guide us through life, he wants to be there with us when the problems arise. Because when the problems come against us, God will lead us through it. In my own life, struggles have come against me and my family a lot, the past year has been some of the hardest challenges we have ever had to face, but we have trusted God through it all. Things are still hard, and life hasn’t become perfect, but God has never left. When we trust God through all things, he shows us the blessings in life. I have seen people come together in the times of loss with my friends, I have seen the beginning of healing for those close, and I have learned to find the simple and beautiful joys all around me. I choose God, no matter what, I will always choose him. I will follow his ways forever, and no matter where life takes me, I know my future is in his hands. As I trust in God, I am secure in my talents and abilities, I will use them for his glory and not my own. When all of us choose to trust in him, the words that people say will never stop us from achieving the path set for our lives.

Work hard.

Throughout the bible, we see the stories of the broken being used to change the world, but it wasn’t easy for them. I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions about our awesome God, things don’t just fall into place, it requires hard work. Paul was a great leader because he chose to do the hard work. He traveled in order to spread the word, he was imprisoned, and he poured into the lives of people he mentored. So what does working hard look like? First we need to get rid of the idea that we are too spiritual to get dirty. That’s such a lie from Satan to hold us back! We need to be willing to let go of pride and serve others. Each week at my church, I see people serve one another and do the hard tasks for the kingdom. From dirty diapers to leading a small group, we need to be willing to do hard work. If you trust God and expect change to happen, have fun waiting, God wants us to do all we can to serve those around us. I sound pretty harsh because I want you to know how vital this part is, if a farmer never tended the fields, there would never be any produce of value! When people say you can’t do something, show them you can by working hard at everything you do. Actions speak louder than words, and in God, we can do all things.

Testimony brings life.

Everyone has a story. Big or small, simple or complex, each of us have a story to tell. Paul’s story is one of brokenness to redemption, and that spoke to countless numbers of people. Imagine the people you could comfort with your story. Think of a few people right now. Do it? Good. Now think about what would happen if you shared your story with them, I guarantee they can relate to it. We all have a story, so why not use it? One of my favorite things about a small group is having a group of people share with one another the things they are going through, as a leader you want to have all the answers and help them, but nine times out of ten, someone else in the group speaks up and is able to comfort that other person. No matter how old or young you are, you have a story that will speak to someone else. Your testimony in an example of how you can make it through, how you can be influential, it kills the can’t we fight in life. Your testimony brings life.

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I know it’s hard sometimes. It can feel like people around you just keep telling you no, or that you’ll never be anything. It can feel like it may be true, or that you can’t change now. Worries, fears, and doubts, we all face them. I face them every day. In all of this, know this one truth. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” The truth is that you can. We can because God says we can. Does that mean it will happen now? Probably not. Will it take experience and trial? It will. Is it worth it? Absolutely. God made each of us with purpose, we weren’t made to just exist. We were made to change the world. No matter what you’ve done or if you feel like your age holds you back, know that God will use you where you are to change the world. You are special. You are beautifully made. You can do all things with Christ. So step into the identity God made for you, trust him, work hard, and use your story to show love to everyone around you.

Kill the can’t in your life.

-Joshua Thomas

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