I can’t do this.
Out of every disparaging remark my brain makes about me, it most frequently likes to tell me what I can’t do. Every new experience, project, and challenge is immediately met with fear because deep down, after more than a decade of reinforcement, I believe that I’m not capable.
It’s not always a direct thought of ‘I can’t do this,’ but it’s usually the theme. When asked to create something completely new at work, I’m sure I don’t have the skills or understanding to actually complete the project. The thought of meeting someone can put me into internal hysterics because I have no idea what to do in a relationship.
The self-doubt is so deep that it doesn’t matter how many compliments my work or social skills receive. It adds to the insecurity because it feels like I’m fooling everyone. I’d like them to meet anyone else to see what talented actually looks like. I’m an imposter. I can’t do this.
Recognizing this is half the battle and fortunately, after some very wonderful and challenging counseling, I have coping mechanisms to push through the doubt. Even when I’m telling myself I can’t do this, I do it and prove to myself I can.
Although I’ll argue there’s some truth to ‘I can’t do it.’
Anytime I rise to a challenge and surprise myself, I know it’s not because I had it in me all along. Honestly, I don’t think I have much in me at all. On my own, I’m terrified of life. Of succeeding. Of failing. Of letting people down. Of proving people right. It’s all too much. Which is why what I have makes all the difference.
It’s not a faith in my own talent and abilities, but the One who gave them to me.
God doesn’t choose the equipped, but equips the chosen
I heard this quote at a Dare2Share conference as a young teenager and I think about it all the time. It’s easy to think about it on a large scale, like Noah building an ark or Moses parting the seas, but chosen looks different in all of our lives.
God chooses people to be full-time missionaries and evangelists and helps them in their work, but He’s also chosen our careers, too. Whether you’re a writer, marketer, factory worker, nurse, salesperson, actor, or anything else you can imagine, it’s likely you have the skills and understanding to do your job. It doesn’t matter if you knew your entire life you wanted to be a teacher or fell into a management position out of necessity, you aren’t there by accident.
When Jesus called His first disciples, they were four normal guys fishing. They weren’t temple scholars or religious folk. They knew the laws but they weren’t especially learned. You can look around you and think about all the people that are more talented and qualified, but God still chose you. On purpose, I might add.
Unlike a lot of my friends, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was good at school and liked almost all my classes (except English, go figure) so there wasn’t an obvious career track for me. One teacher told me I should be a talk show host, which is clearly off the mark. I’m a talker, but I could never maintain a conversation that stayed on time and topic.
It wasn’t until I toured a school my mom wanted me to visit and found a flyer about a major I’d never heard of that sounded exactly like what I wanted to do with my life. Before I fully understood it, God was revealing part of His plan and showing me a glimpse of what I could do.
Despite never having anything to do with public relations, I was instantly very good at it. I don’t say that to brag on my own abilities, but how my Creator designed me to be good at something I wouldn’t know about until it was absolutely necessary.
In Acts chapter 2, we see the disciples receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. It’s been almost two months since Jesus was crucified and ascended and the disciples were following Jesus’ command and waiting for His spirit. Suddenly, what sounded like a mighty wind surrounded them and then flames settled on each of them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).
They began speaking the languages of all the people around them and people were amazed, although the loudest voices wrote them off as drunk. Then Peter, fisherman Peter, stands up and begins to preach (Acts 2:14-40).
He doesn’t just talk about his experiences with Jesus and vouch for Him being the actual Messiah. He pulls out Old Testament scripture and ties in kings of old and uses the theology of the Jewish people to sway the crowd. We see 26 verses of his speech, and then it just says He kept speaking for a long time.
You know what happened? ABOUT 3,000 PEOPLE WERE ADDED TO THE CHURCH THAT DAY ALONE! (Acts 2:41).
I’ve grown up in the church and while I’d never claim to be a Bible expert, I know it decent enough to carry on a conversation. Could I pull passages and on the spot preach a compelling case for Christ that would convert 3,000 people? Not on my own, and with the Holy Spirit, Peter was able to do something He’d never done and bring about amazing change.
This is just one of many examples I could use to illustrate how God doesn’t place you somewhere if He isn’t going to help you. I’m not saying you’ll instantly become a speaker to teach the masses, but anything is possible.
What I do know to be true is I’ve never found myself in a situation where I couldn’t rely on God to help me through. Even when I’ve failed, I’ve seen His hand and learned something valuable to carry to my next experience.
Next time you’re unsure of your abilities, remember that God has your back. He’s created you special with a unique purpose and for His glory, He will fulfill it. There isn’t a cookie cutter mold He uses for different fields, either. It’s not like I’m the exact same as every other marketing professional. He designed me special and every circumstance I encounter is built around the understanding of who I am and what I can accomplish with God.
Confidence in God’s abilities is way better than confidence in your own, because you know He’ll never let you down. Whereas I’m sure when you’ve tried to accomplish something on your own, it probably didn’t go super well. Trusting in God to equip you for every situation is believing in His basic promises to us.
That’s really the key, I think. Every time I’m walking to a meeting with new people or sitting down to work on a project, the script of how I can’t do it begins to roll. Now, through the anxiety, I admit that yeah, maybe I can’t, but I know my God can, so I got this.
“I’m trained in the secret of overcoming things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.” Philippians 4:13 TPT
(you knew that verse was coming)