No Such Thing as “Can’t”

October 25, 2013 | 9 comments

I “met” Christin Ditchfield years ago, through her Take It To Heart!® program, heard daily on hundreds of stations across the United States and around the world. And just this year? I’ve come to call her a dear friend. She has walked alongside me during the upcoming release of my first book.

If you don’t know her already, I think it’s safe to say you will LOVE her.

Christin is an author and a speaker, and she brings her wisdom to the blog today.  Here’s the beautiful Christin Ditchfield:


Have you ever stepped out of the boat – metaphorically speaking – simply because Jesus said, “Come!”

I heard a powerful teaching this summer on Matthew 14:22-33. The speaker pointed out that Jesus always supplies all the power, the ability, the grace and the strength we need to accomplish whatever it is that He asks us to do. It’s inherent in the command.

So when He asks us to do something, we don’t have to wonder IF we will be able to do it. We know that we can. Even if that means walking on water.

Mulling it over, I found myself picturing my five-year-old nephew Timmy – love of my life, apple of my eye. We love to do craft projects together. I used to be a teacher, so you can believe me when I say that Timmy is exceptionally handsome and amazingly talented and incredibly smart. He has a fabulous personality!

With one funny little quirk. Every time he’s faced with a new challenge or opportunity, Timmy responds with these two words: “I can’t.”

It’s so silly. He loves to learn. He loves to play. He loves to create. But before I even hand him the scissors or glue or paint, he declares he can’t do whatever I’m about to ask him to do. He hasn’t even tried. Most of the time he doesn’t even know what it is. Doesn’t matter.

“I can’t.”

It’s like an automatic reflex.

I’m not really sure what’s at the root of it. It could be a lack of confidence. Insecurity. Fear of failure. (Boy, it starts early, doesn’t it?) He may have inherited some of Auntie’s perfectionism: “If I don’t think I can do it perfectly the first time, I don’t want to try.” Or some of Daddy’s … um…overall outlook on life. (There’s a reason we used to call my brother “Eeyore.”) Sometimes it’s laziness. “That looks like work! I don’t feel like making the effort…”

But regardless, my response is always the same:  “Yes, you can… see!”

Because there are three things to know about every project I put in front of Timmy:

1. I chose it specifically for him. I prepared it ahead of time. I had a plan and a purpose in mind. I knew before I brought it to him that he was fully capable of accomplishing the task OR (being a teacher) I knew that he needed to learn the skill involved and that this was the way to learn it.

2. I have already equipped him – I’ve prepared him through other projects we’ve worked on together. And I’ve provided him with all of the supplies and tools he needs. Because I want him to succeed.

3. I’m not going anywhere. I will be right there beside him, ready to help – every step of the way.

Most of the time, after one or two “I can’t”s, Timmy joyfully discovers that he can – and we make memories, as well as messy craft projects together!

But occasionally the “I can’ts” persist. Stubborn and whiny or whimpering. Again, it may be fear or insecurity… it may be laziness or even disobedience.

That’s when I smile and say – lovingly, sweetly, firmly—in my best teacher voice:

“You CAN … and you WILL!”

And he does.

To bring it back to Peter and the boat, maybe Jesus has called you, as He’s called me, to step out in certain areas of our lives. Step out in obedience and faith.

Some of the things He’s calling me to do scare me! I find myself suddenly filled with fear, anxiety, insecurity, or doubt. Other things look like too much effort, too much work.

I start to lift my foot. I might even get over the side of the boat. But then I turn back.

“I can’t…. I can’t do this… Really… I can’t.”

But Jesus is reminding me that every task He’s called me to is one He’s chosen and prepared especially. He knows that I’m able – or need to learn to be able. He’s equipped me with everything I need. And He’s right there with me, ready to help me every step of the way.

Just like I am with Timmy.

On days like today – when I feel myself shrinking back, when I hear myself saying “I can’t” – it’s as if Jesus is gently tipping my chin up, making me look Him right in eye, as He answers lovingly, firmly:

“Yes, you CAN. And you WILL!

Christin Ditchfield is an author, conference speaker, and radio host, passionate about calling women to a deeper life – the life we long for, the life we were created for! Christin’s latest book is What Women Should Know About Facing Fear (Leafwood 2013). She blogs at

Christin invites you to connect with her on Pinterest or Twitter @AuthorChristin or on Facebook at .


by | October 25, 2013 | 9 comments


  1. Amy

    Awesome, awesome. Love it, love it. Christin, I can so relate to your Auntie love. As an Aunt to 4 girls, I know it’s special. I work with children regularly, and never thought of how my “yes you cans” to them are like God’s to me. In a season where I’m questioning every opened door for fear of stepping outside of His will, it’s such a welcome reminder that if I ask Jesus to lead me He will, and He will supply everything I need for the journey. Thank you.

  2. Christin Ditchfield (@AuthorChristin)

    So true, Amy… When I think how much I love my little nephews, how I’m rooting for them, how I want to see them learn and grow and become all they were meant to be… and then I realize that’s how God loves them and me — only infinitely more, and more perfectly — it’s mind-blowing! He is FOR me. He is FOR you! Blessings!

  3. Leah Adams

    What wisdom! God never calls us without equipping us. Satan loves to convinces us we can’t, yet God knows we can in HIM. I, too, have nephews I am crazy about…only mine are now taller than me! I loved ’em when they were little and I love ’em now that they tower over me. They are the object of many of my prayers. Thank you for a beautiful post.

    • Christin Ditchfield (@AuthorChristin)

      They grow up so fast — and teach us so much! What a privilege to walk beside them… I think being an Auntie is its own special calling!

  4. Nancy Ruegg

    A perfect illustration for those times when Satan’s lies (“You can’t do THAT! Who do you think you are?!”) sound so logical. How foolish to ignore all of God’s promises that assure me the opposite is true. Thank you for lifting MY chin today, Christin.

  5. lynndmorrisseyL

    Christin, what an unexpected and joyful surprise to see you this past weekend at Allume! I had no idea that beautiful you and beautiful Jennifer knew each other. I know personally that every, single word she says about you is true. You are such a gifted communicator, and moreover you give the gift of yourself. You have no idea how indebted I am to you from your past encouragement through AWSA to right now. I can’t believe you almost missed dinner to show me some tricks of the trade. You are such an incredible encourager. Even your post here helps to give me courage. I thank God for putting us back in touch. And thank you beyond words!

    • Christin Ditchfield (@AuthorChristin)

      Oh Lynni! Thank you for those kind words. You bless my heart! I really enjoyed our time at Allume together… so thankful our paths have crossed again! How God lavishes His love on us through our sisters! Can’t wait to see what’s next…

  6. Deb Anderson Weaver

    My mother would not allow us to use the word “can’t” in our household growing up. It didn’t matter how much we tried to prove the existence of the word, she’d say, “It’s not can’t. It’s ‘can try’.” When I was nearly fifteen, she had a major, paralyzing stroke. She had to relearn to talk, eat, write, walk, and drive. She never had to tell us that “can’t” wasn’t a word anymore. She proved it daily.

    Deb Weaver


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest