Jon Stolpe Stretched

What's S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me now?


Today, I am blessed to share a guest post from Tara Watson.  Tara is a wife, mom, friend, and fellow blogger.  This year, she started blogging about her weight loss journey, but I think it’s turned into so much more.  I would highly encourage you to check out her blog (Chewing The Fat On Skinny) and become one of her readers.  Today, Tara shares about changing her view from CANNOT to CAN DO!  I love what she writes below.  Check it out, and let me know what you think by sending me a comment.

(I’m always looking for guest bloggers to share on Jon Stolpe Stretched.  Let me know if you’re interested in writing a guest post.  Thanks!)

When Jon asked me to be a guest blogger I thought, that’s like Picasso saying ‘Tara, come on over and we’ll sketch for a while’, because I consider Jon a fantastic writer. And then I thought “why not?”

When I was pondering about what was stretching me, plenty of things came to mind, but one thing came to the top of my mind. I’m reading this (fiction) book about an overachieving working mother of three whose life is turned upside-down after she sustains a traumatic brain injury (uplifting eh?). This (truly inspiring) book follows her journey before, during and after the injury. At one point during the book, she is in the hospital doing her physical therapy, feeling sorry for herself, and on the road to Doomsville as she calls it. Then she has an a-ha! moment. She realizes that she has been focusing on what she can’t do instead of what she CAN do. And this really changes how she approaches not only her recovery but her life.

This story, for many reasons, really resonates with me. I am an overachieving working mother of two who happens to have a neurological illness. I was diagnosed with this illness in 2002, and it has gotten worse over the past few years. It’s called trigeminal neuralgia/atypical facial pain (isn’t that a mouthful).  It causes me to experience a variety of pains in the right hand side of my head from pinching and pulling, to feeling like someone is driving nails in my head, to stop you in your tracks lightning bolts of pain. I am now on a (mostly) successful treatment program that has helped reduce the frequency and intensity of the attacks, but it still very much impacts how I can live my life.

Some of my pain triggers are cold weather,  hot weather, stress, noise, surprise, crying, laughing, going to the dentist…pretty much every day living. 😉 This impacts what kind of job I can hold, what I can do with my kids, and what kind of volunteer work I help with. It limits the time I can enjoy being outside doing hobbies, going to concerts, and doing adventurous things. Truth be told, if I sat down and made a list of what I can’t do because of this illness I’d most likely need some tissues and chocolate.

Instead, just like the character in the book, I am choosing to focus on what I CAN do. I can be a loving Mom, a compassionate wife, a giving family member, a kind friend and a helpful co-worker. I can hug, love, laugh, cry, jump, run, see and feel. I can dance, exercise, read, do my job well, and be crafty and funny. I CAN do soooo many more things than I cannot.  Another thing I can do is to look at myself through God’s eyes.

You see, God doesn’t look at what we can’t do because he knows what we CAN do. He knows the very essence of who we are. He doesn’t see our limits, He sees us as limitless.  He doesn’t see handicaps or illness, skin color or gender. He sees our beauty, talent and our untapped potential. God knows our faults and flaws, and He loves us anyway. And He has great plans for us, if only we would believe.

When I think about God’s great love for me and what He sees in me, the idea of cannot is erased. If God believes in me, I need to believe in me too. I need to love me like God loves me and accept that what I cannot do does not limit me, it defines me. You see, life’s pain and troubles refine me into exactly who God wants me to be.

This week, I ask you to take stock in how you are living your life. Are you focusing on what you cannot do? Chasing after things that you cannot have?

Or are you living in the can-do?  Remove the self-imposed limits you put on your life, focus on the little and big things that you CAN do, and realize that with God by your side and in your heart, you are limitless!


September 29, 2011 - Posted by | blog spotlight, experiences, guest blogger, life, stretch, thoughts, wisdom


  1. Tara,
    You are a beautiful person. Thank you for share in honesty and with encouragement how God is stretching you now.

    Comment by Leanne | September 29, 2011 | Reply

  2. That’s pretty convicting stuff! All to often I bemoan my limitations instead of focusing on the resurrected Jesus alive in me! I have health limitations as well but God is redirecting me and I’m learning to live life fully anyway. Thanks for sharing your encouraging thoughts Tara.

    Comment by Beck | September 30, 2011 | Reply

  3. As a colleague of Tara, I can tell you that she manages all of this with grace and humor! Great blog Tara!

    Comment by Bridget | October 7, 2011 | Reply

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