Thursday, April 14, 2011

The thing you cannot do . . .

 
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt


These words hang on my refrigerator, a handmade sign written by my husband to encourage both of us. I look at it when I’m feeling at a loss and the urge hits me to give up. Not just on writing but on life.

Maybe it’s the word MUST that draws me. Maybe it’s the concept that it’s only my negative thoughts that keep me from taking that next step.

Either way, the sign works. I don’t give up on life or on my writing.

But I was really close to giving up on both not long ago.

I don’t like to admit that but it’s true. In life, too many disappointments can make going on as hard as holding my breath when my lungs are about to burst. The edge of the pool is so close, within an arm’s reach but my air is depleted. I contemplate letting go and sinking to the bottom. So easy. Giving up.

In writing, I run out of ideas, I run out of places to query, I run out of hope.

You Must . . .

Do the thing you THINK you cannot do . . .

I think I can’t write a worthy book.

I think I can’t live another day in fear of loss.

I think my words don’t matter.

I think my existence doesn’t matter.

Funny how our thoughts trip us.

Or encourage us.

You MUST do the thing you THINK you cannot do . . . and see what happens next.

Have your thoughts tripped you or encouraged you lately?

60 comments:

Susan Roux said...

Such an honest post, Terri. I have to agree with Eleanor. If you're on a journey and you really want to achieve something, then all setbacks are just humps in the road. I don't ever consider I've failed if I'm still plodding towards my goal. Failure comes when you quit the journey altogether. Smile, relax, grow a slightly tougher skin and keep heading towards your dream. Who cares how long it takes, we have a whole lifetime, don't we? And really, would you want to be doing anything else???

Susan said...

Hi Terri...Thanks for your post. I think there are times all human beings feel discouraged. During the worst of times, I have to truly GIVE UP control and turn my life over to you-know-who.

He knows best. He's in control. When I realize that I must just be quiet and follow, things ALWAYS turn out okay and, sometimes, better than I expected.


Susan is right. WHat's the hurry to get published? Produce a book? Whatever? We have all our lives. We constantly strive.

Truly, our attitude determines our altitude!

One more thing is, when I'm in the pits, I grab my gratitude journal and start a list of at LEAST 12 things to be thankful for. Voila! Discoragement goes out the window.

Hope your day is good. Susan

irishoma said...

Hi Terri,
Thanks for sharing such honest emotion--and good advice.
I had read this quote before, but your words put it in a much more personal perspective.
Blessings,
Donna V.
http://donnasbookpub.blogspot.com

B. WHITTINGTON said...

I believe this is more a female thing than a male.
I constantly analyze my work, my writing, everything I do and I always seem to come up short.
My answer is that we need to just do it and not think about it.
I am fascinated by Eleanor Roosevelt and love everything I've read by her, quotes and all. She was a wise and witty woman.
Thanks for reminding me of her words.
Hang in.
Some days it's ebb and some days it is flow.
Blessings. Barb

Jessica R. Patch said...

Terri, I love your transparency. Have I battled with these thoughts? Of course. What keeps me going when I doubt and am discouraged is knowing that no matter what, God is my ultimate reward. I may not have everything I want when I want it, but I always have Him. I find comfort in that! Thanks for this post. I've had some down days and this set me straight again. :)

Trisha said...

Great post, very encouraging; it inspires me to finish at least one of the three MS I have started. I started each one with enthusiasm that lasted only a few months then faded away with the everyday cares of life. Making writing a priority is hard for me. Have a Blessed day.

Karen Lange said...

My thoughts have done both, and I am working to keep the negative ones at bay and focus on what God says we should meditate on. Thanks for sharing this quote; it is inspiring. Thanks also for being real and sharing your journey.
Hugs and blessings,
Karen
P.S. Have fun with your gang! :)

Lin Floyd said...

I call them little voices and they are so powerful. Here's a technique to try-write down what they are saying then counter each negative with two positives. After a while you'll get good at recognizing them and can just laugh at them as you realize what is happening inside.

Lynn said...

I'm reading a book on how to take my thoughts 'captive' and to meditate on truth to push away the untruth such as 'I can't, I'm no good, etc.' I've read many of these types of books before and I think I'm there, finally got it and do not need the help, but nah..God will always be working me.

Your tenacity is and will be an inspritation to yourself and others.

Jan Cline said...

It's an every day battle. We are bombarded with negativity and we must be aware of every thought that comes in our minds - rejecting the thoughts that may hinder us. That's why we write all those good words - so others will have positive things to read!

Gina Conroy said...

My thoughts usually trip me up, but I haven't been listening to them lately. Instead, I'm using the Nike slogan of old. I'm "Just Doing it!" I'm writing, whether I think I'm good at it or not because I know if I don't quit, I will get better. I'm trying not to let my thoughts and emotions rule what I do! And so far it's working...I'm still writing!

Joanne Sher said...

LOVE your honesty, Terri. I'm constantly allowing my thoughts to trip me up. But prayer, and dear friends to get me on the right traack - will often help me get out of that.

Margo Berendsen said...

I struggle with thoughts that I'm a loser or a freak a lot. I hear friends making plans at church and not including me and I'm devastated. I waste too much time on the internet and I despair I'll ever be a productive writer. I yell at my kids... ya da ya da ya da.... THERE'S A REASON why the Bible says to think on what is good and true and noble and pure and praise worthy. Not brood on all this stuff that drags you into a downward spiral.

Sorry for venting on your blog. I guess you kinda lit a little spark there. I guess my answer is, yeah, my thoughts have kind of tripped me lately.

Maria I. Morgan said...

Great post, Terri! Our thoughts are so powerful - and yes, they can either encourage us or sink us. So thankful that the Lord knows our frailties and His Word points us in the right direction - to bring all of our worries and concerns to Him and then He goes one step further and gives us a list of things to think on (Phil. 4:8) When I quit worrying and think about what I'm supposed to, it's then that His peace rushes in like a flood! Praise the Lord! Praying things are going well for you! Have a beautiful weekend, my friend!

Loree Huebner said...

I loved your very honest post.

I’ve been there too, Terri. When negative thoughts gather in the corner of my mind, I read Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

That verse gives me the strength to move forward and tread harder to stay afloat.

Just remember that thoughts can be stumbling blocks. Sort them out. If they are good, they are from God. If they aren’t good, well, we know where they came from.
Just remember, you are never alone.

Keli Gwyn said...

Terri, like many others I appreciate your honesty and transparency.

I'm sorry you've been through such a tough time lately. I hope the clouds part and the sun breaks through soon, breathtaking in its brilliance.

Seven words in your post jumped out at me: "I was really close to giving up." This would indicate that there was at least a break in the clouds allowing a ray of sunshine to penetrate. I thank the Lord for giving that to you just when you needed it and hope you see blue sky soon.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Terri, my thoughts are constantly tripping me, I fall flat on my face, bruise myself and then I get up and trip the thoughts back. I really loved your post. You write from the heart.
Hugs,
Rachna

**CREATIVE CARMELINA** said...

I think i must write these words out in calligraphy onto a painted watercolour background and hang it in my office!
Thanks for the inspiration!


Ciao Bella!

Creative Carmelina

Cheryl Klarich said...

Hi Terri! I just caught up on what's going on here. Just know that your're not alone, girl!!! Thanks for your awesome honesty!

Sally said...

Feeling a bit blah today but credit that I'm working on a ghost story. Such topics are inherantly dark. My remedies for the blahs; a deep belly laugh, a flavored cup of coffee, extended hugs, a heaving good cry, then back on the trail. Blessings to you, my friend.

Linda O'Connell said...

Terri,
Your blog post is such an inspiration. We all give those positive messages to others, but it isn't as easy being as positive with ourselves sometimes, is it? Peace to you.
http://lindaoconnell.blogspot.com

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Terri,
Thanks for the honest thoughtful post. So so true for all of us. The deceiver of our souls is a discourager of our spirits. Our defense is a good offense. Don the armor. Think on "these things." Humble yourself before the Lord to resist the devil. Do the thing you think you cannot do.
I will long be remembering this post! Thank you....
Susan

Susan said...

p.s. on Thursday...Thanks for your visit and comment to my blog,Terri. Susan

Julie Jarnagin said...

That's a wonderful quote!

BECKY said...

Hi Terri. I'm sorry you've been going through those kinds of feelings. I hope you know how many of your blog friends love you, even though we may have never met in person! And I agree with what Jan Cline said, about us writing "good stuff." Hugs to you. Oh, please check out Melissa's blog at http://writeryogini.blogspot.com/. She wrote about sending kind and loving thoughts to ourselves.

Emily said...

Great post :)

Cheryl Wright said...

Terri, Terri, Terri, this reads just like a journal entry I wrote a few months ago. Although I am not in a place of discouragement right now, your post still inspires me.

Shirl said...

That has been a favorite quote of mine at one time, but I had forgotten it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention again.

As the others have said, I love your honesty, and your grit. It encourages us.

However, I did give into all the doubts and such. I gave up the book I thought I was going to write. I gave up my blog because words weren't coming any more. It has been a long, hard dry spell. Now I'm not sketching, and the old fear is back.

But this morning, I find a reminder here to go on...

I hope I will heed it.

Kaylus Horton said...

This is the second time in this week that this quote has come to me in the form of a question. What can I do that I think is too hard for me to do? I will seek the Lord for direction. Thank you for being a reminder that answering this question can lead to me my destiny.

Jill said...

I've been at a complete loss lately, what to do, give up, edit, etc. I stopped writing during lent--probably the longest lent season known to man--and it's been good, but emotional and rocky, too.

Heidi Willis said...

Great quote... and touching words from you.

I think we all hit that at some point. Perhaps God's way of teaching us total reliance on Him?

"Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS...The Lord is near!! Be anxious for NOTHING but in EVERYTHING make your requests made known to God in prayer and praise." Phil. 3: 4-6

Easier read than done, for sure, but He LOVES you with an everlasting love. He has made you for a purpose - to glorify Him and do His will on earth. And you are precious to Him - even when it feels like you are alone in your circumstances.

hugs and prayers!

sarah said...

I'm so glad you're a fighter. and this post hits home for me. Giving up is never an option....and Terri...your words always matter...your thoughts posted...simple yet give me the push...that omph to keep moving forward.....Stay strong out there...you're the best!

Nancy said...

I'm so glad you have that note to help you. I think we all need some little message that speaks to us. Mine is "It's coming up," and there is a little sun with rays all around it.
As for your life, I believe that if you have blessed one person in some deep way, your life is very meaningful. You have blessed me many times over and your list of readers shows that they would agree with me.

I am also going to take your note and see if it helps me to move on a bit.

Deb Shucka said...

Such an interesting look at Eleanor's quote. Yup, it's the thinking that gets me every time, and there are times when giving up seems the easiest option - or at least the most sane. Isn't it great we have a God who keeps us going when things look the bleakest?

KelliGirl said...

Terri,
I think my thoughts/emotions are my best friend and worst enemy. Perhaps that's just part of being human. If you figure out how to tame the negative thoughts, please let me know!!!

I know the pressing on is incredibly difficult, but your honesty through the struggle is blessing so many others. Keep sharing and being honest.

Blessings and prayers,
Kelli

Lynda R Young said...

Yeah, I'm constantly doubting myself and I've teetered on the edge of giving up as well. I gave up once though and I regretted it. I don't want to give up again. Your posts are so encouraging.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Terri..there are two awards for you on my blog.

Julie Gillies said...

Oh Terri, I LOVE that quote...& really needed to see it today. I'm jotting it down & hanging it near my computer!

Thanks for taking time to encourage us. :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, yes. It's what's inbetween my ears that most often snags my dreams and splays them on the ground to rot.

But I refuse to give in to those negative voices! Reading that you go through the same thing, helps keep me from giving up.

I appreciate you.

Rhonda Schrock said...

It really is the battle of the mind, isn't it? And it's all about who or what we're focusing on. The Lord really talked to me about this recently, and it's an ongoing battle for me.

Great reminder, Terri!

Stacy Henrie said...

Terri - this is beautiful! I love the honesty of your posts. And I LOVE that saying. I think that one needs to go up on my board. This last weekend, I got some really disppointing news and wanted to give up the writing. But I couldn't do it, and I must not. Thanks for the post.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yes, my thoughts totally trip me up!
In the P90x workout I do, some of it is SO hard--I mean chin-ups! Come on.--but he says, "Don't say I can't do this. Say you presently struggle with and do your best."
I love that, even when applied in writing.

Nehha N Josshi said...

I simply try to ignore the negative voices :)

JIM said...

I was like that for years then I was talked into trying to be a professional photographer.. Now I wish I had started many years ago.. Great blog I started following


http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/04/tutorial-how-i-photograph-flying-birds.html

Nelson Souzza said...

The blog is very good!
Congratulations!
http://nelsonsouzza.blogspot.com

Texas Playwright Chick said...

Oh, but there is such pure JOY in finding out that you were able to do the thing that you thought you could not do!

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

I love that quote, Terri -- boy do I need to brand it on my forehead...or at least hang it on my fridge!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

The enemy of our souls whispers, "Things will never change. They'll always be bad and get worse." It's a big lie.

The last five years were difficult, but I'm coming into the sunshine. The sun will shine again for you too, my friend.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

What a wonderful quote to keep close!!

I know exactly what you mean, Terri, life and making dreams a reality aren't easy, but God never implied that anything worth while would be easy!

Carole said...

Your post was a wondeful blessing to me - I am making a sign and posting it on my frig.
I must lose weight to stay healthy and I think I cannot do it - I so needed this inspirtation.
God bless you.
Have a blessed Easter:-)

sarah said...

wanted to stop by and wish you and your family a very happy Easter.....praying things turn around in positive and amazing ways....☺

Kathryn Magendie said...

Ah, this is so heartfelt and heartsaid and insightful and lovely . . . Hugs to you, dear Terri -Happy Easter. And I know how this business can suck the life out of you - we just have to keep strong or else ...? - HUGS HUGS

Carol J. Garvin said...

The writer's life is very cyclic... we work enthusiastically through shining highs and then hit static brick wall lows, and wherever we are we can't seem to see past what is immediately in front of us. When we're mired down it's important to remember that "this, too, will pass." God's timing is immutable. If we continue to do our part, He will do His and guide us to whatever destination is in our best interest. Eleanor was right: to accomplish anything we must keep pushing ourselves forward.

Ann Best said...

Our thoughts, and our fears, do trip us up. But as another commenter said, our writing goes well and then we hit a wall. But if we're determined, we'll get going again. We do have to make every effort and then ask Him to help us. This is what I do!

Thanks for a wonderful post that I'm reading the day after Easter Sunday. How appropriate!
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Sally said...

Hey Terri,
We were in PA from 95-97 first at a bookstore in Harrisburg then as houseparents at Milton Hershey school. That was a real growth period for me. We moved to AZ from there.

Jessica Nelson said...

I love that you posted this to see everyday! What a wonderful quote.
Yep, there are lots of times I feel worried but I usually bounce back pretty quick.

Paul Greci said...

I love the quote. I've been tripping on my thoughts a lot lately both in terms of writing and life. Very timely for me Terri. Thank you!!

rosaria said...

Truly Inspirational!

Tana Adams said...

I am constantly doing the things I thin I cannot do. Sometimes I wish I would stop. ha! Have a great weekend. I'll email you with my big news!!!

Janet, said...

Many times I think of quitting. I think no one cares about my stories and I get frustrated when I run out of ideas and publishers who still accept unsolicited manuscripts. But, for some reason, I rest a while and then continue on. I love the quote, it fits us writers, don't you think?