I Can Do All Things…or can I? (And an apology to my readers)

I dropped two Alka Seltzer Gold tablets into a clear plastic cup of water and breathed a silent thank you that Scott and I were sitting at a back table and all other eyes in the room were front and center, on the speaker. I watched the fizzing bubbles applaud my decision to make it to the one-day writers conference and prayed they would work their magic.

I had woken a few hours earlier feeling like I had a hangover. Or that I’d lost a few rounds in a boxing ring.

But I wanted to make it there, to the conference.

I wanted to gather with storytellers, wordsmiths, and writers. I wanted to learn and connect and get encouraged.

And I did.

Sort of.

I made it halfway through the all-day event.  After going through the lunch line, I stood next to a glass-topped table with chairs nearly as tall as me, and removed layers of yellow cheese and salami from between thick slices of gluten-free bread, wishing I was about to bite into a chewy ciabatta roll instead. Or the spicy Cuban sandwich my husband had grabbed.

I immediately regretted eating. The slight waves that sloshed in my stomach earlier turned into a tsunami, and prior experience shouted at me to leave before there was an eruption. Without saying goodbye or connecting with people I had hoped to chat with, Scott and I tossed our paper plates in the trash and hurried to the car.

I felt like a failure. Like I wasn’t measuring up to Paul’s statement in Philippians 4:13 , “I can do all things through Christ….” What was wrong with me? How come couldn’t do all things? How come I couldn’t even finish a writers conference?

I’ve wrestled with a lot feelings of failure since dealing with Lyme Disease. Feelings of letting people down. Of not accomplishing, not following through.

I didn’t need an opponent in a boxing match, because I was doing just fine beating myself up.

But not for long.

As I clicked the seatbelt into its holder, I remembered a quote I’d recently read, one that I decided would become my mantra during this season, one that kept appearing in various forms through various means. Enough times that I finally paid attention.

Don’t let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can.

I’m not sure who the actual author is – I looked it up and read Ronald Reagan, John Wooden, and lots of others.

Don’t let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can.

I closed my eyes on the drive home and thought I may not have been able to stay for the entire writers conference, but I DID make it there and gleaned good information from the first half. Instead of telling myself “Ugh, you only made it halfway,” I congratulated myself. “Way to go, Girl. You got through half of the conference. Now go to sleep.”

In this season, I can’t walk six or seven miles straight like I used to, but I can walk a mile or two every day.

I can’t minister in all the ways that I used to, but I can minister some.

I can’t work with a dozen clients, but I can work with a few.

I can’t write chapters, but I can write sentences, paragraphs. Poetry.

I don’t have to let what I cannot do keep me from what I can.

And about that verse in Philippians 4:13? The one that says

For I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.

It is important to read Scripture in context. Because if we back up two verses, and begin reading in verse 11 we see what Paul means:

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:

For I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

THEN comes verse 13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

The “all things” Paul speaks of, is knowing he can handle wherever he is – which happens to be in chains at this point – and whatever his circumstances are, because Christ gives him (and the rest of His followers) the strength to be content in all situations.

Even if we aren’t where we want to be, nor where we anticipate being forever. Even if we feel like we are in chains.

Whether healthy or sick. Rich or poor. Satiated or hungry. Married or divorced or widowed or single.

There are so many things  I can’t do right now. But I can do all that I do in Christ, who strengthens me, and then release the rest into an atmosphere of hope and expectation.

Here’s a poem I wrote during a 15-minute writing prompt on Friday concerning Lyme Disease.


I don’t like my current circumstances. Many days it feels like a prison sentence. But in Christ I’ll be strengthened into contentment, and maintain my joy.

So how about you – are you finding yourself limited in any way? In circumstances that leave you feeling like “I can’t _______?”

What is one but I can _______  that you can add to that statement and accomplish today? I’m rooting for you – and praying!

Grateful for this abundant life,

PS  I owe my readers an apology. In my last post, I wrote about hearing the words “I am enough” and thinking not me, I’m not enough without my people and my God.  Later that night, I was speaking with a woman who had no knowledge of my blog post. When I asked her what was one thing that had made a positive difference in her life in the past few months, she said “Telling myself ‘I am enough.'”  And it hit me, that when someone says “I am enough” it doesn’t mean that they are saying they don’t need other people. It means they are learning how to be okay with who they are.  I went back and rephrased the post to be more in line with what I meant.  I’m a work in progress.

2 thoughts on “I Can Do All Things…or can I? (And an apology to my readers)

  1. Love this post . Thank u.

    “I don’t have to let what I cannot do keep me from what I can.”

    I’ve lived with daily massive anxiety for almost three years and feel like it is never going away. I don’t have a desire to live but plod thru each day telling myself that God wants me to live and love Him no matter what…. I don’t want to live but I won’t give up because God is the only thing that’s Worthy. I can’t let Him go even though I don’t trust him
    most of the time because I feel so eerily alone and feel like He has not spoken to me in any way like I want him to. I beg for him to. But I’m
    In the desert.
    All of my joy and peace disappeared overnite almost three yrs ago. And I see no light at the end of the tunnel.
    But I will take this sentence – as you have – and make use of it!

    “I don’t have to let what I cannot do keep me from what I can.”

    I can still keep trying to trust Him…..
    I can still try to love. Try to help others. Pray for peace in the world.
    Etc. Even when I feel terrible every single day.😩💔❤️‍🩹

    • Hi Vicki,
      I’m so sorry for all you are struggling with right now, and I am thankful you are still with hope, even if it feels like you are just hanging on. I don’t know if it was something that happened 3 years ago that was the catalyst for the anxiety, but I am wondering if you have any kind of support group? I just lifted a prayer that you would hear from the Lord and also find support. ❤️

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