Many years ago, as I’ve shared here before, I was in the middle of a crisis that lasted four hundred and forty-one days. It was a big deal, it was the hardest thing I had ever gone through up to that point, I had no idea when it was going to end, and one of the potential endings was absolutely, life-changing-ly horrible.
I was seeing a counselor at the time who told me something that altered how I looked at living through pain from that moment on. She told me that our bodies were not designed to handle long bouts of stress, only short bursts. In other words, she was basically saying, this thing is super hard, and it’s okay if you’re freaking out. She gave me permission to freak out.
And I was. I was freaking out. I was going to Jesus every morning and baring my soul and begging him to help me throughout the day every day for four hundred and forty-one days, but I was still totally freaking out.
And I remember not feeling God’s promised peace, and being so upset about that. Upset with him that why did he have to go and promise it if he weren’t going to supply it (turns out his peace doesn’t always look like we think it should). And upset with myself because I clearly must not have been giving it over and laying it all down enough if I were still freaking out.
But as I’ve gotten older and as I’ve logged more hard times under my belt, I have come to realize something pretty important. There is a myth – I’d go so far as to say a lie – circulating throughout Christendom that goes like this: “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”
Bull! I know where they are getting this…it’s from I Corinthians 10:13 where God tells us we won’t be tempted beyond what we can bear. But nowhere in his Word does it say he won’t give us a burden too heavy for us to carry.
Of course he will, otherwise we would never, ever need him. He gives us a ton of things that are more than what we, as his fragile children, can sustain on our own.
I texted this to a friend recently who is going through a really big thing:
I believe that your anxiety is simply the natural, human emotional response to your body admitting it’s too much to handle (which it is). Your anxiety is not doubt in God and it is definitely not you not being Christian enough or mature enough. Baby, there is plenty of room in our faith – under God’s wing – for some falling apart. And I believe he not only understands, but expects it from us. Just walk through this as you, not striving to handle it “better”.Everyone freaks out. Jesus sweated blood before he went to the Cross, for goodness’ sakes!
Maybe when Paul talks about God’s grace being sufficient for us, maybe it doesn’t always mean that in every situation we’re going to feel supernatural strength to get through something. We may still have to drag our sorry selves through the thing; but maybe it means that there’s grace for us even when we’re kicking and screaming and crying and scared.
So today, if you’re freaking out about something, know that you’re in good company. Know that God can handle your emotions going all over the place. Know that his grace will seep into those rough places. Know that you will get through this – whatever this is – okay. It might not be the okay that you’re hoping for, but with Jesus, we will be okay.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. II Corinthians 12:9