“Don’t worry. God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
Ever heard this? Did it really offer any comfort in your struggles? Was it more likely to make you want to scream?
Here’s the deal: IT’S A CHRISTIAN LIE. It’s a myth that somehow started in Christian circles to give people assurance that they could handle anything. The problem is that it gives us false hope in ourselves, which many times leads to an even deeper feeling of failure. It inadvertently makes us think we can handle it without the help of God.
Now, for anyone who wants to say, “But it’s in the Bible,” you might want to back that train back up into the Matthew Henry station for a sec there. You are referring to 1 Corinthians 10:13, and with just a little study, you will find that God is referring to temptations not being more than you can handle. That is quite a bit different than just circumstances in life.
The reality is that many times in life you will be in a season where there is just too much going on that you simply can’t handle. You might be a single parent trying to work jobs and raise kids. Maybe you are a CEO trying to deal with a major business idea. Maybe you’re a pastor that is crazy in love with his church and wants to make it the best he can. You can insert anything here, and all the feelings will be the same. You will feel like everything is out of control, and you are that guy trying to keep all the plates spinning. I am there right now, and I will get through it. But I know one day I’ll be there again. It’s part of life.
So, how do you handle it? When we have more than we can handle, how can we cope? Here are a few things that help me:
- Breathe. Sounds dumb right? Science shows that the simple act of stopping and taking some very intentional deep breaths floods the body with much needed oxygen. Plus, for a control freak like me, this is one thing I can ALWAYS control.
- Pray. You might be thinking, “I knew it. Here goes the pastor with the spiritual stuff.” But remember: You can’t handle it all. So, why not talk to the one who can, will, and already has the plan? Sometimes my prayer is me just sitting alone and listening. But start with prayer. Don’t exhaust all other options and have prayer as your bailout plan.
- Get it out. I am a whiteboard junkie. Big time. When I am overwhelmed, I start writing down everything that is on my plate. Getting it all out there is the first part of formulating a plan. Use a legal pad, iPad, or anything that will allow you to capture what is heavy on your heart.
- Do what you can and leave the rest for God. The truth is that you can only do what you can do. There are some things that are out of your control, and you’ve got to let God handle those. Be patient. Work the plan.
Yes, God is going to allow you to have more than you can handle, but never more than He and you can handle… together.
Dr. Ben Liles serves as the lead pastor of Baypointe Church in Panama City Beach, Florida. He earned his Doctorate of Ministry (with a dual emphasis in Organizational Leadership and Family Clinical Counseling) from Southwestern Seminary. He also holds the rank of Ordained Bishop with the Church of God (Cleveland, TN.)
Image courtesy Thinkstock.com.
Originally published on ChurchPastor.com, March 25, 2016.