It's happened before. It's actually happened before with this very same lady. A lady was teaching at our church and she started talking about how some people discourage you by saying "You can't do that". She was doing fine.
Then, unfortunately, she pointed me out. She referenced the fact that I was buying a house and said people had told me I couldn't do it. "Right?" she asked.
There was a brief moment while I tried to figure out how to not totally ruin her example when it flitted through my mind that at some point on this blog a complete stranger suggested I join the big sister program rather than be a foster parent. It was a stretch. Ok, it's a stretch resembling the length of the state of Texas, but I made a huge stretch and nodded so the lesson could go on. (Ok I lied. She hung her whole point on my answer, so I lied. Speakers, teachers, preachers, conversationalists everywhere, help me stay honest by not hanging your point on my answer unless you KNOW my answer. That's also a warning, I hate lying, so at some point I might be willing to crash your example by giving an honest answer. I'm working on it. So BEWARE.)
Thankfully she did.
But after she did, I took a moment to appreciate the truth of the matter. People don't try and tell me things are impossible. I don't even remember the last time someone said something was impossible. I appreciate that. Most of the time I'm neither encouraged or discouraged by people, they tend to just watch and see what will happen. I appreciate that too in a way. Resounding encouragement is a great high. But if I fall flat on my face, the first thing I'll do is mentally roll through the names of people that thought it was a "GREAT idea!"
I remember a year or so ago that my mother, 50+ years old, unloaded a futon from a pick up truck, and hauled it over to a house. When I asked her why she didn't just come get me for help, she told me something that I doubt I'll ever forget. She told me that was going to get me, but had thought a moment and said to herself "Jeanette would do this own her own, and if she can do it, I can do it."
Thinking about those words, and my life and the lives of those around me has made me realize something. If I decide something is impossible for me, I might be influencing the decisions of those around me as well. If they think I'm stronger than they are, and I wouldn't do it, they might not try themselves. That's a heavy responsibility. I'll be the first to tell you not to do something like that. I'm most definitely NOT a good measuring stick to decide what's possible and impossible. But, I've seen a pattern of people seeing me do something then doing it themselves.
So, troubled by the responsibility of things entirely out of my control, I wondered at the solution. If some random person out there is going to do what I do, because I've done it, how can I keep them out of trouble?
Then, the answer came. Last night at church I just happened to use the phrase "I can do all things", then driving home I passed a church sign that irritates me to no end by reading "The two most power-filled words - I CAN" I'm almost entirely convinced that those words should be "GOD CAN" (truth be told I've already pondered the legal consequences of, uhum, changing their sign for them). After spending yet some more time irritated by their sign the answer came to me.
I'd be happy to tell anyone and everyone I haven't done a single solitary thing. I can't move futons, I can't buy houses, I can't parent a child. GOD CAN.
If you want to do what I do, then you're going to have to learn to do nothing. And I do mean learn. Doing nothing is the hardest thing I've ever done. And the only way to learn to do nothing is to do nothing and let God teach you to do nothing. -- I'm serious. I can't even do nothing on my own. A friend of mine is talking about (after she buys a house and fixes it up) becoming a foster parent. She doesn't have God though, and I worry for her. There's a formula to being able to do something and it starts with God. If you follow my recipe and leave out that key ingredient, you could wind up in a huge mess.
So, my responsibility lies in promoting my key ingredient. GOD CAN.