Yes, Yes, You Can.

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You can ditch the soda habit. You can quit watching TV. You can kick the bad eating habits that have plagued you for years. You can choose to change.


Don’t tell me you love food. I love food. And for thirty days I gave up (almost) all I hold dear. I lived to tell the tale.

We say it all the time, “I could never ____________.”

Fill in the blank: homeschool, stay home with my kids, start running, get fit, quit my job, get a job, go to school, whatever else that seems ominous to you.

These past couple years have been full of things that very much fall into the “I’ll-never-do-that” category:

Each and every circumstance has been filled with fear and trepidation. In the final hours, I’ve asked myself, “WHY am I doing this?” And afterward, I was always glad that I did. “That wasn’t so bad.”

395 to mammoth

Yes, yes, you can!

I think we get stuck in our ways and wonder if we can really change the path we’re on. But, you can. Just because you’re “grown up” doesn’t mean you need to do what you’ve always been doing. This is the 21st century, after all. So much is possible!

Consider these scenarios:

:: My neighbor, a mom of four, ranging in age from 10 to 18, is going to college now. I’m so excited for her. She said it’s something she’s always wanted to do and now’s a good time in the seasons of her family life to do it.

:: Toni made some radical changes to her diet and her activity levels, utterly transforming her body and her health. (I’m secretly jealous and using this post to pep-talk myself into a similar kind of change.)

:: My brother-in-law is finishing his second year of law school. At 36, this is kind of a big deal. He, with my sister‘s support, changed his career’s trajectory, “retired” from teaching, moved his family (my sister and two nieces) to the other coast to take on this big family adventure, and is living the life of a law school student as clearly “grown adults.”

:: Kara and her husband are fighting hard to get out of debt. That is no easy battle.

:: Friends of mine, parents of four, are embarking on “domestic foster to adopt” and are setting things up to bring an older girl or possibly a sibling pair into their family.

:: Rachel and Doug took a year off employment and moved to Italy for a short time with their two young kids.

:: Stephanie and Ryan are traveling the world with four small children, going all the way to Antarctica and beyond.

mammoth eagle

Choose to change.

Many of you are also trying new and different things:

  • homeschooling for the first time
  • going back into the work force
  • leaving the work force to be more present at home
  • adopting a child
  • giving up an addiction
  • working to rid your home of clutter
  • moving to a new place
  • changing your diet
  • trying to get fit
  • you name it

It’s easy to feel intimidated by the challenges you face. Life is hard enough sometimes just to survive. And yet we can see areas where we can change or improve our lives.

Those can be daunting.

Provided that it’s not immoral or illegal, I say go for it.

Pray for wisdom. Seek God’s direction. Then take the first step towards your new goal.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. — Philippians 4:13

It may not be easy. It may not happen right away. You may change your mind after a time, or God may direct your circumstances elsewhere. That’s all possible.

But, don’t let it be for lack of trying.

What new change do YOU want to bring about?

This post was originally posted on April 13, 2013.

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  1. I really needed this today.. I have been dealing with a “sugar addiction” that waxes and wanes but never really goes away and just today I was thinking maybe I just can’t. Thank you for the reminder that I can quit..

  2. I just ran my first 5k yesterday. I wasn’t nearly prepared, but I lost much of my momentum to train after my beloved father passed away in December. However, I was going to do it, even if I had to walk and come in last — the 5K was for MS and I signed up to honor a dear friend, Joe Emrick, who passed away after years of struggle and pain. I did it — not well, but I did it. Then I heard the most inspiring story about my Dad and when he began to run. It makes me want to run more! Eating right is also what I want to do for me and for my kids. This requires planning and that’s a challenge for me. And I always want a more stream-lined, clean home! Thanks for the pep talk! “I can do all things!”

    1. What a great story! I’m not a runner, but my brothers and dad are. How nice to follow in your dad’s footsteps.

  3. Powerful words of encouragement! Thanks for sharing your heart and some wonderful motivation. My personal health & exercise habits have sunk to less than desirable. I needed a little reminder to “just do it”! 🙂

  4. I just had to comment as I have reread this several times and your words have just helped me so much. I was crying like a baby (happy tears!) since this week had me doubting I could keep on and go for our dreams. Four of the kids were sick with the flu for two weeks with every symptom imaginable and my husband had to work like crazy and the week just broke me down. We have family and friends who make comments about homeschool, as well as other different goals and dreams we have been slowly but surely plugging away at, I am ashamed to admit that sometimes the comments make me doubt we can do all these wonderful things and we are a little crazy for lack of a better description, like they say. My husband doesn’t care at all and most the time I am fine with it but this was one of those weeks that brought me to my knees more often than ever praying for strength and a sign that I could do all these things others think we are crazy to undertake. Thank you so much for helping me get out of this rut and get back to doing. Have an awesome week all of you and way to go on all the amazing things you are all doing, I have not met you all but I am very proud of you all!

    1. What a great story. Thank you for sharing that with me. You can’t do everything, but God will give you the capacity for the things He wants for you.

  5. Thanks so much, Jessica.

    When you posted this, I was giving panel talks at our homeschool conference, a first for me! Now I’ve been asked to speak for a multi-church lady’s group, and my husband thinks I can give that kind of a talk. And a few other amazing opportunities are staring me in the face as well.

    My big issue right now is deciding what to say ‘no’ to. After all, I’m not healthy and I have 4 homeschooled kids. Gotta be realistic here!

    Congratulations on your big accomplishments! You’re inspiring.

    1. Yay! Sounds like you were a hit. And yes, saying NO is going to be just as important as saying YES. Blessings as you figure that out.

  6. After fourteen years of difficulty with a simple walk, I took the plunge and started working toward a 5k. I can currently run (more like a very very very slow jog) 5 minutes at a time…four minutes more than I could when I started at the beginning of March. I can also walk/run a total of 35 minutes without dying…yeah, I know, very unlikely that walk/running is going to kill a 28 year old…and I’m actually considering doing the Whole30…or at least the Whole9 I’ve seen. I have given up soda/coffee since New Year’s with NO cheating! So many things I didn’t think I could do…I’ve been doing.

    However, I can’t do it by myself…I’ve needed God every step of the way!

  7. Thank you for this post, it has encouraged me so much! I just finished a full week of no white sugar (along with other healthy habits), which I’ve never done before, wow! Between your recent posts and reading about Toni and her Fit For Good changes (thanks for introducing me to her blog!), I have hope I can reduce my fatigue, improve my health, balance my “mom life”and actually enjoy life. Thank you, and best wishes on completing your new book. 🙂

  8. Wonderful post! I have actually been thinking a lot lately about “I could never . . . . ” statements. Those type of statements can be so dangerous because they can really hold us back, they give us an excuse to not change or try something. How much have I or others missed out on because we believed the “I could never”? I vow to check my thoughts if I ever hear my inner self say, I could never!

  9. Hi Jessica! I needed this today. I have been battling with the addiction of smoking. I want to give it up so badly. I have 5 beautiful children that need me. God will give us the strength, and I needed to be reminded of that. Thank you for all you do! With love, from my family to yours.

  10. I used to think I could never move out of SoCal… born and raised in San Diego and loving Santa Clarita as a married adult with a family. After all, why would we ever think of leaving perfect weather?! Well, in June we picked up and moved to Boerne, TX. We’re in a little country town outside of San Antonio. It’s a FAR cry from the hustle and bustle of LA or SD, but we are LOVING it. I knew I could only make this change with my faith and my family. There are surprises and blessings waiting for you when you step out in faith outside of your comfort zone. DO IT.

    1. I am SO glad you are enjoying a new state. It didn’t work for us. I am a CA girl, through and through, and glad we stepped out of the comfort zone to move back. hehe. I am thrilled for you! I love to hear success stories!

  11. Thanks for this reminder today. I kicked a bad diet soda habit last November. I’ve been off all soda almost 9 months now! No one, including me, thought this would happen. I’m grateful to get off the stuff. One of my triggers would have been a car ride…well, I just made a move from northern VA to Alaska. Praise God wasn’t tempted to go back on soda! Feels good.

  12. What a great post. It’s hard to have the courage to try something new. My husband went back to school five years ago to become a PA (physician’s assistant). Now, at 41, he is starting a brand new job as an emergency room PA. It took a lot of courage and hard work for all of us – him, me, and our four kids. But now that we’re on the other side, it’s wonderful to see him so happy and fulfilled and pursuing his life’s dream.

  13. Thank you so much for this. What an encouraging post! You are so right – we just need to do it. I will be speaking at a ladies’ retreat soon which isn’t easy for me. I am moving forward in my dream to be a writer. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I don’t know why it is so easy for us to not believe in ourselves, at times, but encouragement from others is often exactly what we need to move forward. Thanks, again!

  14. love this! I would love to read about your friend getting out of debt, but the link isn’t working! Is there another way to get to her page? Thank you!

  15. I’ve spent the last year or so making some significant improvements to my diet. It’s been a struggle for my entire adulthood, but now that I have grown accustomed to truly eating better (much more fruits and veggies, very little processed foods, not letting a marketing team decide what is “healthy” for me, and finding ways to satisfy my sweet tooth without derailing the whole thing!) I look back on how I ate in my 20’s and I can’t even imagine it!

    My biggest motivation is health. My dad is type 2 and I have several risk factors (I’m already considered insulin resistant). Earlier this year my dad made a commitment to change his lifestyle. He’s lost over 20 pound and was just taken off insulin! I keep myself motivated by remembering that weight loss isn’t truly my goal (it’s a perk!). My goal is to reverse the path ahead of me and avoid diabetes when I am older. It is also to improve my hemoglobin A1C so that my doctor won’t have to put me on medication. I want to set a good example for my daughter about how important it is that you consider what you are putting into your body.

    I have lost 12 pounds since mid-July (still have more to go!) and I have a checkup in a few weeks. I am excited to see what my blood tests show!