I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 ESV)
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. … For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:10, 13 ESV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
I started with a few verses that point out how God is there for us, giving us power and strength. There’s a reason. I’ve heard several people use the words “I can’t” this past week or so. Particularly regarding the memorization challenge, we put out there for Crossroads…memorize 1 John, the target is to do it in twelve months…but if it takes two years, so be it, just get out there and do it.
And the “I cant’s” came out…I can’t memorize. I can’t do it. I can’t retain that many verses. I can’t….
I understand it will be a struggle for some…myself included. I have a “bad memory”…between age and my neurological issues…I have to write notes and then write notes to remind me where I put those notes. I have two whiteboards in my home office; I write reminders on my mirror, I have a whiteboard on the fridge…and I have post-it notes and notebooks strewn about. I get the memory struggle.
But I’m going to give it a go. I want to be able to…and I’m going to work at… finding a technique that helps me learn how to memorize better. (learnscripture.net is the tool I plan to use).
Carol S Dweck is a recognized leader in the area of mindsets and changing them. Her book “Mindsets” does a great job of explaining the two primary mindsets…fixed and growth. The fixed mindset is one where a person sees an ability as a set quantity…no way to get better, learn, or improve. The growth mindset is one that recognizes a lack of ability or knowledge…but then addresses the issue with a “how do I get better” attitude. Studies Dr. Dweck and others have done, show people with growth mindsets are usually more successful, healthier, and less stressed.
One guess on where the phrase “I can’t” lands one on the mindset spectrum.
At the risk of going a bit long (may be too late)…let’s look at an analogy – ice skating.
Have you ever gone ice skating – or roller skating? Did you skate flawlessly the first time you hit the rink – or pond? Let me answer for you – no, you didn’t.
How many times did you fall? A strong fixed mindset person would have fallen once and never tried again…a growth mindset would get up and practice.
How many times did you practice before you became stable at it?
Where you able to do tricks the first time you tried to do one?
Did you get to a professional level? If you didn’t…are you a failure?
Those are just a few questions to think over…and then reflect on your “I can’t.” It may not be memorizing scripture…maybe you struggle with another “I can’t.” But I tell you…you can. You may not make it to “professional” level…but you can be better than you are today. You may not get the whole of 1 John memorized…but even 40 verses are more than you started with.
Whatever it is that you struggle with doing…remember –
It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV)
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, … Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:16, 20-21 ESV)