Purposeful Faith

The Curse of the Capable

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,

 just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

I am the oldest of two kids in my family. While growing up, it was hard not to notice that my mom seemed to spend all of her time helping my younger brother. To be fair, he needed more help than I did but it was sometimes hurtful that I didn’t get the same level of attention. It kind of forced me to become independent. When I was an adult, married with kids, I asked my mom why there was such a disparity in my youth and her response was, “You didn’t need any help. You were perfectly capable.”

Now I call it the curse of the capable. Because you don’t need help, you won’t get any.

I’ve seen this curse play out a dozen different ways since then. For example, my husband and I are both independent people, and while we love to be together, we don’t always need each other. That can be good sometimes because I don’t have to wait until the weekend change a smoke detector battery or kill a spider. It can be a bad thing, however, because it’s easy for independent people to grow apart. We have to be careful about noticing when we’ve drifted and come back together.

I have also seen the curse among women. I am a natural born encourager. I use phrases like, ‘to die for,’ or ‘phenomenal’ when I’m cheering for you. I’m the friend that will literally jump up and down screaming when you share good news. I like to think I’m the ‘there for you’ friend in good times and bad. The problem I have seen is that as a natural encourager, it’s often hard to find encouragement for myself.

On the outside, it can appear as if I am confident and capable, therefore I don’t need anyone to build me up. Inside though, I am still the little girl thirsting for comfort in an arid desert. I have come a long way in this area. I found Jesus later in life and knowing I have his never waning encouragement is the most phenomenal comfort of all. But I have to admit that I still think it’s nice to get some affirmation from friends, family, and community.

If you are independent or competent, you may be under the curse of the capable. Maybe you are an encourager that needs to be affirmed or a mom who could use a reminder that she’s a good one. Perhaps you are a leader who would love some help but feels bad asking for it because you ‘should’ have it under control. Take heart, friend. As someone under the curse myself, I see you. I think you are doing a great job!

I want to invite you today to take a minute and think about someone in your life that could use a little boost. Even if that person seems like they have it all together, a quick note or message from you may be what she needs most. When we take the time to pour into others, the curse breaks and being capable becomes a blessing.

Father God, you are the ultimate encourager. Please help us to encourage one another regardless of whether or not we need it. Help us never to give up and to break the curse for people we love or admire and that in turn, it would be broken in our lives as well. Amen.

About Anne Watson:

Anne is a former sleep in on Sunday’s girl who didn’t meet Jesus until way later in life. She recently quit trying to be holy, however, after spending an inordinate amount of time trying to shuck her unholy habits to fit into the Christian world. As a bullying survivor, Anne knows first hand the pressure to belong and why changing yourself doesn’t work. She now spends her time fiercely encouraging women to be badass for Jesus by being who God created them to be…themselves. She is a writer, a speaker, and a podcast host for the Declare Conference. She and her husband are raising three hysterical kiddos and are also in the process of going broke while paying for college. You can find more from Anne on her blog, GodDots.com.


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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Did you, Kelly, write this article? Or did Ann Watson write it. I’m a little confused when I see Ann Watson’s picture and description at the end of the article.

  • I love your words. I could relate on so many different levels. I too am independent and an encourager. People don’t think we need any encouragement but we do. I have found it is really important to express we have needs too because it doesn’t always appear as if we do.

    My heart stung a little when you explained your childhood. I have 3 children and one does need extra care way into adulthood. I know my other children get adequate attention for their needs but they see someone else getting more and it hurts. Then there is me trying to make everyone happy and feel encouraged and I never quite succeed because one still gets more.

    • Maree! Thank you for sharing that. I love how you said that we need to express that we have needs, too, because sometimes that’s really hard. Encouragers are often so busy meeting other people’s needs they aren’t aware they have some, too. Also, I don’t necessarily thing attention is a competition. I have three kids, too, and I try to have something special with each of them so our time together is quality. I also remind them (often) that I will make mistakes as their mom but if, at the end of the day, they can say they know I love them then I will consider that a success.

      You are probably doing much better than you think, friend. Ultimately I think our charge is to love well — the best we can. I can tell you are already doing that. 🙂

  • This definitely struck a cord with me AND it was PHENOMENAL! I felt like I was reading an entry from my diary! THANK YOU for this amazing message!

    • Tracy, I am so glad you enjoyed it! I loved your use of the word ‘phenomenal.’ 🙂 Wegirls need to stick together! Thank you for encouraging me with your kind words.

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