God doesn’t give you more than you can handle…or does He?

I’m grateful to my friend and blogger Ashley L. Jones of BigSisterKnows.com for sharing this encouraging post. Her biblical, honest approach to this topic of “too much to handle” was a blessing to me, and I hope it will be to you as well.

“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” I’ve heard this saying all my life, always from well-meaning Christians.

But there have been plenty of times when I just couldn’t “handle.” After my grandmother passed away, I couldn’t handle the grief, and depression set in for two years. Later on, my body couldn’t handle what I was eating and the stress I was under, and I suffered with physical pain for several years. During those periods, hearing that God hadn’t actually given me more than I could handle felt disingenuous. What’s more, it added to my frustration and self-condemnation.

So let me give it to you straight: yes, God may give you more than you can handle.

You are human, after all, and human beings are fallible creatures. You will make mistakes. You may suffer from illness or grief. You may be called into a family role or ministry that is far more than you can do on your own. At some point, you’ll feel like you’re drowning.

But that doesn’t mean your “failing” at being a Christian.  In fact, that over-your-head feeling is all part of God’s plan to make you understand and accept your reliance on Him…

  • Like the Jews had to do in the wilderness
  • Like Noah had to do when he built a boat unlike any other
  • Like Jonah when he was sent somewhere he didn’t want to go
  • Like Paul when he shared the Gospel to the Gentiles for the first time.

The good news—no, the great news—is that you don’t walk through life alone. As a follower of Jesus, you have His ultimate protection over your life, and the Holy Spirit as your inner guide. Whenever you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed, remember that God is in control. The journey may not be comfortable, and you may not end up where you wanted to go, but God is with you, and He has good plans for you. (See Jeremiah 29:11.)

I’m speaking from experience here. During my times of grief and illness, I relied on God completely. He was my Comforter, Protector, and Guide. And in the end, it was He who healed me and made me whole.

When you’re going through a rough patch, don’t rely on platitudes. Instead, claim powerful verses like these as your own, reading them out loud to encourage your spirit:

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jesus speaking, Matthew 11:29 NAS).

 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NAS).

 “We would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 NAS).

 “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NAS)

 “‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him'” (Lamentations 3:24 NAS).

Platitudes may sound nice, but the Word of God is powerful. Let His Truth give you comfort and guidance in every season of life.

Have you ever needed a word of truth, only to receive an empty platitude? How did it make you feel? Does that experience encourage you to speak truth into the lives of your loved ones?

~ By Ashley L. Jones of BigSisterKnows.com

Tweetable

Platitudes may sound nice, but the Word of God is powerful. @BigSisterTweets and @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

2017 Keyword: Simplicity

micah-6-8Looking ahead holds such hope and excitement, but before we talk about the New Year, we should take a moment to look back and be thankful for all God has done.

My word for 2016 was convergence, and the idea was to move toward a central goal or purpose. As I think back over all that God has done, I see how He guided, not as I expected, but oh so much better.

Gratitude for 2016

Most unexpectedly, He opened a new job teaching online for an outstanding private Christian school. He’s surrounded me with godly leadership, a lead teacher I admire and count as a good friend, and co-teachers who have incredible talents and senses of humor. He’s given me students who desire to learn and treat me with such respect and appreciation that my heart wants to burst at times.

Beyond that, He answered my prayer for a publishing house to contract me for a book, but not just one book: three. I’m honored and excited to work with Write Integrity Press, my editor Marji, and a team of other writers who treat each other like family. My first book in a new trilogy releases in June (more on that in a future post).

Finally, after months of searching, God has also opened the opportunity for me to purchase my very first home.

Yes, I still have many unanswered prayer requests for some of my dear friends and for myself, but by looking back over what God has done, I know He will answer them in the best time and way possible, or reveal His wisdom in leaving some of them unanswered.

Convergence may have been the word I chose, but I can’t take credit for the work God did. The year 2016 reminds me that His plans are so much higher and greater than mine.

What has God done for you in 2016? In what ways did He surprise you?

Anticipation for 2017

So for 2017, I more meekly pick the word simplicity.

After all, I think of the Lord’s commands. They’re simple.

  • “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved …” (Acts 16:31 NKJV)
  • “… Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I said simple, not always easy. Striving for simplicity may not be easy either.

However, simplicity lets us focus on what matters most while minimizing distractions. It implies we might have to cut back in some areas to focus more on others. It means *gasp* we might have to say no to good things to give our time to better things.

One way I’m simplifying is to move all my posts to this website: kristenhogrefe.com. I love the journey ThinkTrueThoughts.com has taken, and in 2017, it’s merging with my main website.

The challenges, giveaways, and goodies you found at ThinkTrueThoughts.com aren’t going away! They’re just moving here. If you’ve subscribed, you will still receive the email newsletter; it will just have a different name.

Something Karen Ehman said in her book Listen, Love, Repeat ties beautifully into the idea of simplicity. In her chapter that focuses on the home (and yes, I’m taking notes!), she talks about “living a life of welcome.”

I want this to be true in all areas of my life, including: relationships, writing, ministry, and hospitality.

Karen uses the example of homemaking to highlight the difference between impressing and refreshing.

Entertaining puts the emphasis on you and your home and seeks to impress others. In contrast, hospitality puts the emphasis on your guest and seeks to help them to feel refreshed, not impressed, when they leave your home.

I don’t want to impress people. I want to bless them. Impressive people intimidate. Welcoming people refresh.

Irresistible Simplicity

Yes, I think there’s something irresistibly refreshing about simplicity.

When we focus on what matters most, everything else should fall into place. This keyword for 2017 has nothing to do with perfection; it has everything to do with God’s perfecting work in our lives.

I am so thankful for you, my friends! Wishing you all a blessed and simplified New Year!

What is your word for the year, or would you join me in embracing simplicity? I’m looking forward to more adventures together.

~ Kristen

 

Tweetables

2017 Keyword: Simplicity – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Embracing Simplicity in the New Year – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)