My toddler has just learned a frustrating sentence.
I say, “Put on your shorts.” He says, “I can’t.”
I say, “Drink your milk.” He says, “I can’t.”
I say, “Put your books in the bin.” He says, “I can’t.”
It drives me crazy.
Most of the time he can. So I am trying to teach him to say either,
“This is hard. I’ll keep trying.” or,
“I need help. Please help me.”
I cannot tell you how many times a day I say, “There is nothing wrong with saying it’s hard. There is nothing wrong with trying again. There is nothing wrong with asking for help.”
This is where God looks at you with a knowing wink and smiles as if to say, “I gave Julia this child because she needs to learn this lesson.”
You see, I need to know there is nothing wrong with admitting something is hard. I need to hear there is nothing wrong with not getting it right on the first try. I need to believe there is nothing wrong with asking for help.
But I don’t live as if I believe these things were true. My actions, attitudes, and internal dialogue suggest a different belief altogether.
“I can’t” looks different for a mama than it does for a toddler. “I can’t” for me often looks like, “I can’t let them see I’m not perfect.” Or, “I can’t say ‘no.'” Or, “I can’t do this whole ‘mama’ thing today.” Or, “I can’t manage what God has given me – kids, meals, laundry, cleaning, blog, ministry, homeschool, etc. It’s too much. It’s too hard.”
I often live in the “I can’t.”
And my Father is teaching me to say, “This is hard. I will keep trying.” And, “I need help. Will you please help me?”