Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Turning Can’t into Can

Written by: on September 11, 2022

I admit that I love to read. I love to read what I want to read, when I want to read, how I want the read. Even with that being said, I refuse to say the words “I CAN’T”. As a therapist my job is to motivate the client to believe that they can make changes, they can change their own minds and live a better life. The confidence that they have in their abilities is what will determine their success. So when asked about my own abilities in any situation, how in the world could I tell someone “I CAN’T”.

When taking a self assessment of my reading abilities I would say that my skills are fair. I am able to phonically get through the material and my comprehension skills are at graduate level. My ability to scan a book and/or article is also fair. I am more likely to read more material than is need to get an understanding of what the author is trying to get across to the reader. Speed on the other hand is not one of my strong points. It may take my some time to finish a reading and meet deadlines, if given.

I would say that I am a pro at writing notes. I have written notes in several different forms on a professional and personal level. My initial assessment would only be true in certain settings though. Putting pen to paper has never been an issue for me but along came technology. The ability to navigate those tools would be my challenge. Even if I were a pro though, I believe that every skill could use fine tuning in every person.

Essay writing is equivalent to a chore for me. I could write a book, if grammar, punctuation, and word count were not involved. Of course since I selected to be a scholar, there is a great level of importance in all of those things. I find it hard to meet people where they are in my daily work and maintain grammatically correct conversation. Some of my fault in writing essays is that I write the way that I speak. I am not giving any credit to ignorance, I will credit it more to my ministry. When you are doing community or “street” ministry it’s less likely to require you to dot i’s and cross t’s. I think that I am a little rusty also because I graduated with my masters when a few of my classmates were still in middle school. I don’t know the last time I wrote an essay before starting this program.

There is a plan though, a plan turn Can’t into Can. Every week I will engage. When I am lost, I will not be afraid to admit so and ask questions. I will continue to read and sharpen my skills. I will take the extra step to learn the new stuff. I won’t let age or culture determine my success. I can and I will.

About the Author

Shonell Dillon

2 responses to “Turning Can’t into Can”

  1. Jenny Steinbrenner Hale says:

    Shonell, I so appreciated your blog! I can relate to many of the things you wrote. I, too, cannot remember the last time I had to write essays. I know if was more than 28 years ago! It’s been hard for me.

    Also, I really enjoy writing in the same style that I speak. Like you said, it is so important for ministry contexts and many professional contexts, mine included. I’m struggling a bit with feeling pushed to be something that I am not, re my writing style. I’m still processing that. Is changing my style for certain contexts growth?

    Looking forward to processing alongside you and learning together. So thankful to be in the same peer group with you. Blessings.

  2. Kristy Newport says:

    Hello Shonell,
    We are missing you in Africa!
    I can relate to not being fast in my work, navigating technology can be a struggle, and essay writing can be a challenge for me as well. I, along with you, commit to doing the work and believe that our skills will grow as we are stretched to use them.
    Here are some notes that I took during the session we had on the coursework and how to get it done:
    1) Take the blogs seriously (you learn a lot from these) Lean into the blogs
    2) There isn’t any other community like the cohort you are blogging with. Blogging can be rich.
    3) How have you navigated this journey with your spouse?
    4) Create boundaries to have time for work. Block scheduling to do the work
    5) It is not about perfect but it is about getting it done
    6) Ask yourself- “What have you learned about God?”
    7) Jehovah Jireh- God will provide
    8) Discipline is Destiny and Transitions (book rec)
    9) Give up something/sacrifice something for the future. Something transformative happens.

    These were some of the key points that were shared on how to blog and what our focus should be. I hope one or two things might be helpful.
    I know that your small group will share stories with you upon their return from Africa. I look forward to seeing you in Oxford next year!
    Kristy Newport

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