In Others’ Words: Conquering the “Can’ts”

Try It M Chase Smith Quote 11.12.13

I admire people who take the word “can’t” and turn it into a great big “Oh yes, I can!”

Like Helen Keller.

Or Erik Weihenmayer.

You probably recognize Helen Keller’s name and know she’s the first deaf-blind woman to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree, who then went on to become an international speaker and author.

Erik Weihenmayer? He’s the first blind man to summit Mount Everest (on May 21, 2001).

Helen was born deaf and blind. Erik was born with a disease that led to total blindness when he was 13 years old. And yet, in spite of their physical inability to see, these two people had a-ma-zing vision.

Vision that helped them see far beyond all the “can’ts” they were told.

The photo used for today’s quote? That brings a smile to my face too. My son, Josh, is in that photo. Yeah, he’s covered in mud — running his second Spartan race this past May — and helping his friend, Tony, over the obstacle. His first race in 2o12? He ran it solo. The second time he ran it with a team — and it was all about conquering the course together!

In Your Words: Tell me about a “No, you can’t” that you turned it into a beautiful, liberating, a-ma-zing, “Oh yes, I can!” I’d love to hear your story.

The Fun of Conquering the Can’ts Click to Tweet

Turning a Can’t into an “Oh, Yes, I Can!” Click to Tweet

What “Can’t” Have You Conquered? Click To Tweet

I’m ready to celebrate 2014 — but I need your help creating a downloadable calendar of quotes. My newsletter subscribers will receive a PDF version of the calendar  – and 5 subscribers will receive a customized calendar and a copy of one of my books. Go here for more information. 

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  1. November 13, 2013, 6:15 am   /  Reply

    In 1986, someone I disliked very strongly, told me, across a room full of people, that I would NEVER EVER amount to ANYTHING unless I had a university degree.

    Realllly? Is that so?

    Last I saw, ‘Bruce”, at least one of those 3 boys of yours was scared to bits of you.

    Let’s review, shall we? Since then I have:
    -marrried an awesome guy
    -had four children
    -taken enough short wave radios to give 12,300 Quechua Indians the Gospel in their own language
    -been to remote parts of the Andes where NO Canadian women had ever been or will ever go again, unless they drive 200 miles of course
    -spoken to a 100 year old Navajo woman who laughed about the fire on her birthday cake
    -written a book, and have 3 more drafted
    -made friends with people I NEVER thought existed, let alone who’d think I was smart enough to hang out with
    -gone to Ephesus and Rome

    -never once made my kids cry at dinner because they didn’t want their peas and potatoes to touch and told them (yelled, actually) they were completely silly to even care…

    Go ahead buddy, tell me I didn’t succeed.

    • November 13, 2013, 11:18 am   /  Reply

      Don’t even wait around for that guy, JZM. You know who you are.

    • Bernadette DesChamps
      November 14, 2013, 2:36 pm   /  Reply

      I hardly know you except through your comments here, but, Jennifer, you rock! “Slightly” sarcastic, with a heart bigger than the Northern Territories, you make me laugh…out loud…on a regular basis. You’re my kind of hero. Press on!

      (College dropout, wife, mom, grandma, sister, friend, worship leader, mentor, prayer warrior, sinner, coffee-sucking sometimes writer, who hates to cook, but must laugh or she’ll surely die)

  2. November 13, 2013, 7:54 am   /  Reply

    Way to go, JZM! You have really made a difference in a lot of lives.
    My “you can’t do that” was much smaller…an art teacher who told me I’d never make a potter. And I believed her and didn’t even try to do something my fingers itched to do until I was in my late 50s. I finally took lessons, and while my teacher said I wasn’t his best student, I was his most determined. lol Great post, Beth.

    • November 13, 2013, 11:18 am   /  Reply

      I love this, Patricia.
      And sometimes it’s not about being the best … but it is about pursuing the dream.

  3. November 13, 2013, 8:15 am   /  Reply

    Ok…gonna be totally honest here: there are very few people in my life who’ve told me I can’t do something. Honestly, I grew up around friends and family who tended to make me feel like I really could do anything. I’ve thought about this fact a lot just in the past 24 hours actually–I interviewed five homeless men yesterday and each one just oozed loneliness. Each one seemed almost desperate for someone to believe in them. And once again, I was reminded what a huge blessing it is to be surrounded by supportive family, friends, coworkers, etc.

    But there is a “can’t” that I think the world tends to throw at me at times–and that’s that I can’t work and write and keep up relationships and one day be a wife and mom and speak or teach and stay connected with my family at the same time. Sometimes it’s even the “Christian world” that throws that one at me–making me feel like I have to choose between dreams. But I don’t know…God makes the impossible possible…so I hope I can keep ignoring that particular “can’t” and choose to believe it’ll all work out. Haha!

    • November 13, 2013, 11:20 am   /  Reply

      I have to admit that sometimes the church (little “c” or big “C”) does throw “can’ts” at us, Melissa. Rather than encouraging us with who we are in Christ … and telling us to stand in the wide open spaces of God’s grace … it’s all about can’t and won’t and shouldn’t and don’t.

  4. November 13, 2013, 9:40 am   /  Reply

    It never ceases to amaze me how the impetus for many achievements in life began with a person being told they “can’t.” For Christians, that flies straight in the face of Philippians 4:13. Yet therein lies the rub. If we succeed, it’s through His strength. If we fail, it’s through ours. Thank you for your wise words to ponder, my Friend.

    • November 13, 2013, 11:21 am   /  Reply

      Appreciate your insights too, my friend.

  5. November 13, 2013, 10:17 am   /  Reply

    A few years ago, several doctors agreed that I was not long for this world, and that my upcoming years would be spent in pain, and invalidism.

    I’m still here, and while there’s pain – they can take their invalidism and do unmentionable things with it.

    • November 13, 2013, 11:21 am   /  Reply


      • Bernadette DesChamps
        November 14, 2013, 2:46 pm   /  Reply

        A very “valid” suggestion, indeed. Andrew, I am always blessed and provoked by your transparency. And by provoked, I mean doubly blessed. You always keep it real and encourage me to do the same.

  6. Susan Tuttle
    November 13, 2013, 1:07 pm   /  Reply

    I loved your title of this post, because conquering the can’ts is always an internal for me. I’ve been blessed with family and friends who are my champions and always telling me I can do ALL things through Christ. It’s my own thoughts that hold me back. A running dialogue that I need to quiet with God’s gentle voice. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have gotten married, had kids, pursued writing. With each step into those huge life areas I’m amazed that God takes my “I can’ts” and makes them into “but I can.” ALL things through him:)

    • November 13, 2013, 7:31 pm   /  Reply

      Thanks for joining the conversation today, Susan.
      And yes, I love how God changes my “I can’ts” into “Oh yes, I can” — through Him and because of His strength.

  7. Bernadette DesChamps
    November 14, 2013, 3:02 pm   /  Reply

    Great post! Pondering all these things…and while I do, I’ll leave you with this: While Skyping today, my 3 year old granddaughter announced that she is Dancer Mermaid Princess Cadence Doctor! Wow! Pretty ambitious for a blue-eyed pixie twirling around in sparkly gold shoes and a frothy, ruffled dress.

    And here I’ve been just floating through life in basic black. “I coulda been somebody!” 😉

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