I Can’t

(2 minute read)

One of my sisters recently recommended a book where one of my main takeaways is the phrase, “I can’t.” We don’t have to say yes to everything people ask of us. We don’t even need to give reasons for why we need to say no.

A good way to decide what is OK to say “I can’t” to and what we actually need to do is to ask what God wants of us.

Does God want me to care for my family’s legitimate needs like making sure they have food and are safe? You bet! Does He want me to make sure that each one of my children have everything they want when they want it? “I can’t.”

Does God want me to make sure that my house is clean enough that it’s not a fire hazard with disease growing in the corners? Absolutely! Does He want me to have it Instagram ready at all times? “I can’t.”

Does God want me to spend time with Him each day? Oh yes! Did He call me to be a hermit or to join every Bible study/prayer group/etc. that I’m offered? “I can’t.”

Does God want me to give back by being active in the parish in a way that honors my primary vocation as wife and mother? Sure. Does He want me to volunteer for every ministry at the parish? “I can’t.”

There are seasons of life where “I can’t” seems like the answer to everything: when we have newborns, or a sick child or a sick parent or we’re sick ourselves, or when our teens are using every spare hour of our days and nights to be taxi drivers, etc.

There are other seasons when there are less demands from family and we can say “I can” when asked to do some things. But we still need to say “I can’t” to some things.

Not one of us is indispensable (even to our spouses and children).

We need to trust that God has a plan, even if we get hit by a bus. And He loves our spouses and children even more than we do.

We need to trust that if we legitimately can’t, God has someone else in mind for that task. In fact, maybe someone isn’t stepping up because we haven’t learned to say, “I can’t.”

Spend some time this week praying and thinking about what God is really calling you to do and what He is encouraging you to say “I can’t” to.

Written by Kathy DeVet


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