Have you ever come upon a roadblock in life and declared victory for the other team before you even tried? Ever had a task that needed to be done in order to reach your goal that defeated you with no opposing effort? Sure you have, we all have, every time we say “I can’t”, “I don’t do that”, or “that isn’t my job” we are surrendering before the fight has even began.
I know I’ve done it and catch myself still doing it. The trick is to catch yourself and change your answer to something like “I can”, “I haven’t before but….” or “this is new to me” as you forge forward in expectation of victory. After all the battle is half over when you win the battle against yourself in your words and mind.
Now there are plenty of things that we don’t have to learn how to do, but the things that stand between us and our goal we simply must defeat. In some cases it might be that you don’t have a particular skill, or time to learn it or it takes away from your reaching the goal to focus on it. In those times it is best to outsource and find someone to help you out. But there are other things that when it comes down to it you absolutely must accomplish on your own to reach your goal. These things you must stare in the face and overcome in order to succeed.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to watch my daughters overcome a long standing fear because it was standing in the way of their goal. It all started when we discovered that our beloved Abyssinian cat Gogo was missing. Neither of my girls have any memories of life before Gogo. He is a part of their history and family. Anything happening to Gogo was just out of the question for the girls. Recovering Gogo was their number one agenda item and nothing else mattered.
The back of our house at the time backed up to a very large green space filled with trees, blackberry bushes and wildlife including coyotes. We decided that we would make flyers and walk door to door to the sixty plus neighbors that share this green space with us. The girls determined that they would alternate who knocked on the door, handed the person the flyer and inspire whoever answered to keep their eyes on the green space to help us locate Gogo. As they made their plans I thought to myself (but didn’t say out loud) that the only problem with this plan was that Caiden doesn’t talk to men that she doesn’t know really well and Selah is intensely shy with all strangers.
The resolve in their step and purpose in their mission lead me to believe that somehow they would work it out. They not only worked it out but their pleas to the neighbors inspired many to come out and look around their yard right then and there. When there was a gap in houses as we moved to another area of the neighborhood Selah turned to me and said, “I might be afraid to talk to these people but I don’t care because I am going to find my cat tonight!” Caiden animatedly agreed and said, “Nothing is standing between me and my cat – nothing, nothing, nothing!” And they marched on as I proudly supervised.
It took us hours to knock on every door and we discovered that there were more doors than we expected. We finally came home because the sun was quickly setting. Before we came inside we walked all around the outside of the house calling for Gogo as we sprinkled tuna across all corners of the yard. We had heard stories of coyote sightings and of many missing cats on our evening rounds. When the day was over and they had done everything in their power to find their cat they resolved to leave it to prayer and then went to bed exhausted.
When it was nearly midnight I went outside one last time to call for Gogo. He seemed to be nowhere to be found. I came inside but decided at the last minute to take our little puppy out for one last potty break. It was then that I heard the faint cry of Gogo as he delightfully rounded the corner and came home to me. He was bloody and dirty but has never been as happy as was when he finally climbed into bed with the girls to announce his arrival home.
The girls could have said, “I can’t” or “I don’t do that” but I was so proud to see the courage well up in them when the need arose for them to overcome their fears. Who knows what actually brought Gogo home. It could have been the tuna smell, our cries for him throughout the neighborhood that lead the way, or his own cat instinct. But the girls overcame, took action, participated in the solution and stomped out their own fears in pursuit of their goal.
You might be there right now in a place in which you have to dig deep within yourself to summon the courage to take the next step, to move forward, to go on through each day. Have faith in your own ability to overcome. After all you have overcome a lot to be right where you are today. You didn’t know how to walk until you tried, fell down, tried again, fell down and tried again. You didn’t give up when you fell.
You didn’t know how to talk, feed yourself, get dressed, or any of the everyday tasks that you do without a thought. I once had a fear of public speaking until I forced myself to overcome it. What is your obstacle? And are you ready to stare it down instead of declaring “I can’t”. Tell me all the reasons that you can – and then tell them to yourself and believe it.