When do we learn that we can’t do things?

Posted by on July 19, 2005

Eleanor, Johnny, Joshua, and I just got back from a trip to my grandma’s place at Donner Lake. It was very nice. We got to hang out among the trees, got for hikes, and perhaps most importantly, swim in the lake!

Johnny swimming in the lake

Johnny (pictured here) loved “swimming” in the lake in his inner tube. Once he got the hang of it, we had to stop him from getting away from us and paddling and kicking his way out to toward the middle of the lake. He wanted nothing more than to go out past the buoys that mark the swimming area to “where the boats are.”

He has no fear. I can remember feeling like I could do anything. What happened to that?

John Bell of the Church of Scotland quotes research into children and singing. In kindergarten, pretty much all children believe they can sing, but ask any group of adults and you’ll find precious few who believe that they can sing.

We seem to learn that we “can’t” and therefore do not even try to do the things we’d like to do. I just replaced the water main at our house. If you asked me a couple of weeks ago whether I could do that , I might have told you no. But the pipe broke and my dad was there to encourage me so I did it. I was wrong to sell myself short.

So many people tell me what they can’t do or what our church can’t do. It gets sad after a while. And it’s a lie. We can do so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Let’s take a page from Johnny’s book and swim for the middle of the lake!

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