The title of this post made up a key part of a story recounted to me by my Mum this afternoon.

She had been at her regular women’s group, and there had heard extracts from a book which tells the story of a New Zealand Christian couple who spent years doing missionary work* in China.

Before going to China ever entered their thoughts, they had felt that God had told them to bury the words ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t’, and so they set about removing them from their vocabulary and mindset.

This choice became very significant, when sometime later they felt that God was asking them to go to China.

An understandable response would have been “we can’t” or “we won’t”, but as they had buried those words, their answer could only be yes. And so they went there, spent years there, had 6 children there, experienced many challenging things there – including interrogations – and finally returned to New Zealand thinking their time of missionary work was over. Only to find that God soon asked them to go back.

*Generally understood to mean acts of service influenced by and related a person’s faith, often in a country other than their country of origin. The decision to do such work is usually preceded by a sense of calling to that work from God.

I was struck by that concept of burying the words “can’t” and “won’t”. How liberating could that be for anyone with a desire, dream, or determined vision. How shaping and focusing could such a concept be for goal setting, ‘stepping out’, and following through.

A useful tool for a writer-in-waiting. A good backdrop for the photographer. A blank canvas for the artist…

I think I’m going to ponder this some more, and invite you to do the same.