When My Want-To’s Are Bigger Than My Can-Do’s


I want to do it all! I want to be the perfect wife, mom, grandmother, Bible teacher, friend, athlete, rancher, pianist, and writer. I take life literally including this verse in Philippians. Unfortunately, sometimes my emphasis is wrong: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Then I crash and burn!

Only when I do them through Him, can I hope for success. Part of doing through Christ is waiting for His commands. How often I jump into the next great thing or press myself into another shape to take on something that I or someone else wants me to do. My want-to’s definitely out-weigh my can-do’s.

So how do we find contentment in what we are able to do, and not keep a list of want-to’s always lurking in the background of our minds? Easy answer: Reasonable Expectations. Truth: Knowing and discovering what is reasonable is not always easy. Here are a few steps to lining up our want-to’s with our can’do’s.

1.      Accept my limitations.

Whether we are limited due to age, physical abilities, mental capacity, time, circumstances, or even fear, we are all limited. Each choice we make limits other possibilities. And then, life happens with all its challenges, and we are limited further. I chose not to go to college, but to stay home and be a mom (the best years of my life!). This, however, has limited career options in my empty nest years. I also deal with physical limitations and pain every day. This limits my choices of activities. “God, help me to accept my limitations and seek your best for my life every day.”

2.      Don’t compare, you will despair.

I have an idea in my mind what a woman my age should look like and be able to do. However, I realize and accept that God has me on a unique, one-of-a-kind path, and I have learned to be okay with that (most of the time). “God thank you for making me, me–warts and all!”

3.      Find alternative options.

I can no longer garden in the ground, but I can container garden with my husband helping to put things on my potting table within easy reach. I can’t go walking or hiking, but I can go on amazing drives and be pushed in a wheelchair. I can’t sit for hours at my computer, but I can manage my time to get what needs to be accomplished (most days). “God show me what I can do.”

4.      Learn to be flexible.

Knowing that when I can’t do something, there is always tomorrow. If I choose to put off a task until I am feeling better, that is not procrastination, it is being reasonable. “God, please help me to never use my limitations as an excuse, but to be honest when I can’t do something.”

5.      Knowing when to quit.

Sometimes, I start a task and can only finish part of it. I give myself permission to quit until I can resume the activity with renewed vigor. (No judging myself allowed.) “God, help me to aware of my body and my emotions, and to allow myself to take a break.”

6.      I choose joy within my limitations. I rejoice over what I can do and find joy in the little things. “God, thank you that there are so many things that I can do. Help me to do them with joy.”

7.      I praise God for every step, every action, every activity that I can do. I was told that I never should have been able to stand or walk or have children (I have five). So, each step, each encounter with my children and grandchildren is a praise to God. God, You are good all the time. My circumstances don’t change Your character. You are ever faithful.”

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