Step by Step

You Can’t Handle This

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“Just remember, God won’t ever give you anything you can’t handle.”

Those words make me want to shake my head, groan, glare, and sigh. It’s one of the go-to statements of friends of the hurting and often pops up in Bible studies about suffering. And the words sound good. They really do. When I’m struggling and wrestling with something hard, it would be nice to believe that it’s all okay and God wouldn’t let it happen if I couldn’t handle it.

The problem, though, is that it’s just wrong. Of course God will give us things we can’t handle! In fact, that’s basically His plan for your whole life.

We were not created to be self-sufficient and able to do all things by our own power no matter the pain. Also, God does not take a look at us before sending something hard in order to evaluate how He thinks we’ll hold up.

God puts us through things we can’t handle on purpose because the benefits are light-years greater than the pain. When we are in the middle of something devastating is the time when we have to look to God to step in and deliver us. They are the times when our faith is stretched farther than we thought it could go and our Lord proves Himself once again.

If you think back over your life, aren’t the really difficult times the ones that made the biggest impact on who you are today? I couldn’t handle my little sister being taken away by my own strength, but my faith has grown. And aren’t they generally the times that are followed by God’s great provision?

We are made to need support, something that today’s culture is trying to erase from our minds. Feminism tells women that they are strong and independent and don’t need men to help them. Movies and books tell kids that they’re better off without their parents or teachers, who lack the intelligence to present themselves respectably.

The Bible tells us the exact opposite. It contains countless examples of community and fellowship. Paul traveled with lots of different people and mentioned how they helped him in his ministry and persecution in his epistles. Adam was given Eve as a companion and helpmeet. Even Jesus brought His disciples with Him.

More important than human community is community with God. As I read 1 Corinthians a few days ago, a verse really stuck out to me. Paul is talking about how there shouldn’t be any divisions in the church between people who want to follow him or Apollos or anyone else. We should all be following God. So he is explaining how the church is built and grows by God’s work through us.

For we are God’s fellow workers. – 1 Corinthians 3:9a

Very short, but very powerful. We are not called to brave this life on our own, fighting every villain and slaying every dragon. Our God is there for us and we are called to work alongside Him. How humbling is that?

God will give you things you can’t handle – you can be sure of that. But when He does, He’ll also help you through, which is infinitely more encouraging.

Kira

How did you grow or learn when God gave you something you couldn’t get through by yourself? How did it lead to where you are now?

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Change Your Life

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Have you ever looked at your life and wanted to change things? Maybe you want to read more books, eat healthier, or memorize some verses. Antyhing, really.

Those things often seem crazily out of reach at first glance, but they’re usually not. All it takes is some commitment and care.

Decide what to change.

The first thing you must do is decide what you want to change, of course. For our example, let’s take memorizing verses. You decide that you want to know more of the Bible by heart. You know the benefits and you are determined that it will make a serious difference in your life long term to know God’s Word.

Set a goal.

Once you know the broad area that you want to change, it’s time to narrow your focus a bit. When setting a goal, a lot of people like to follow the SMART acronym. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound. In my experience, that pretty much covers all the bases you need to get started.

A goal needs to be something tangible – you should be able to picture yourself meeting it. In memorizing verses, maybe that looks like picking a New Testament epistle to memorize.

Your goal should not be impossible to reach, but it should look a bit hard. It’s going to be hard – that’s why you want to change.

Make a plan.

Making a plan to achieve your goal can be as simple or as complicated as you like. I have noticed that simple plans that don’t take a lot of time end up making the biggest difference in my life. Something that takes an hour a day isn’t as likely to happen right off the bat. You can work up to it, though, by starting with a few minutes a day and increasing over time.

In memorizing a book of the Bible, that could mean one verse a day.

Make sure your plan is focused on reaching the goal and that it is something you can measure. If your plan is to eat less junkfood, you need to have a way to measure that so you can tell if you are actually doing it or not.

Get started!

Nothing’s going to change until you get going. The first verse you memorize might not be easy, but I bet the twentieth won’t be as hard. Through repitition and forming the habit of doing something, you retrain your brain and body to make them easier. A year into waking up at 5:30 it feels natural, as opposed to the first week. Or month.

So pick something out and get started. Figure out what kind of goal and plan works for you and make those changes. Take it slow, and the results will astound you. A book is made up of thousands of single words. A house is built of single bricks. A dress is made of single stitches. Tiny steps make a big difference.

Kira

What’s something you want to change? What is one little thing you will do to make that happen?