Life is NOW!

Thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow tend to consume our current headspace. The case of woulda, coulda, shoulda, is the story of many of our lives. On the flipside the case of when I, when this happens, when that happens completes that story.

It’s amazing how much time we spend living in our minds and in our thoughts. I know many of us do because that’s the only place where yesterday and tomorrow exist, but what about today? What about now? What about the time and space you are in at this very moment? The space you are living and breathing in now? What can you appreciate about that time and space? I know it’s not always easy to think this way because our minds are programmed to always think about what has gone wrong and what will go wrong.

According to studies, 90% of our thoughts are negative and repetitive. We tend to replay the same bad things over and over again throughout the day. Personally speaking there have been days that I was in my warm bed, not needing food, or shelter, just lying there thinking about how terrible the day is going to be. I wasn’t even able to appreciate the fact that I woke up, I was in a nice comfy bed, I could go and have some breakfast if I wanted and etc. I was creating an image in my mind of a bad day that hadn’t even happened yet and maybe wouldn’t even happen!

How many of us have anticipated bad days, conversations, experiences and the like because that’s where our minds took us? I can admit I have, and it’s a miserable place to be. Now that I’m aware of it I made the decision to become present in the NOW! Life is now, and now and now. So many times we live in the place when we were skinny for example and how we’re going to look when we get back to a size 2, but in the present moment NOW, I’m not taking the time just to appreciate life, appreciate who I am and just feel fulfilled in the present moment while working on the change I want to see. We can never experience fulfillment if we’re always having these compulsive thoughts because we’ll never be at peace in the moment which leaves us rolling around on a hamster wheel that gets us nowhere.

We let distractions, the future and the past to dictate how we feel right now. We can create scenarios in our own mind that can sabotage the current happiness we have. Once again I lived like this for a long time and becoming aware is what helped me. I just had to realize that I couldn’t control what happened before and I can’t control what will happen. All I have is now and now and now. I didn’t want to continue to base my happiness on what might or might not happen. I wanted to rid myself of the feelings of exhaustion and discouragement because I was becoming what I was thinking.

How did I do this?

By shifting my focus from my mind and becoming present in the moment I am currently living and deciding my happiness doesn’t require the completion of a story that I made up in my head. Whatever I need at the moment I can have and I can stop and do that without letting my mind make me feel like I’m failing at a future that is already made up!

No I’m not where I hope to be in life and in no way am I saying never to go back and evaluate what happened and don’t be prepared for the future. I am a huge advocate of preparation, planning, goals, vision and everything of the sort but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate this day, this moment and what it holds, I don’t have to be held captive by my past or the future and if the story I have written doesn’t materialize then I still have NOW, and NOW and NOW to keep living and keep moving and I have to believe that it didn’t work out the way I thought it would for a reason, evaluate that reason, hold to the vision, and change something NOW! Life is real, it is not a mental projection of my past or my future it is now and I really think we will experience fulfillment when we just allow ourselves to be.

It’s hard to control compulsive thoughts and emotions but you can. It really takes an awareness of yourself and the desire to just live in the moment. Meditation, breathing, walking, just existing with a clear, uncluttered mind can help you appreciate just being you, how beautiful you are as God’s creation, and how beautiful God’s creation is in general. You will begin to see that He knows what is best for you, even if you think you do and you will be present in the moment HE has given you NOW! Yes we all have a past and hopefully a future but the present is a gift so enjoy it. Don’t be so focused on what your mind contrived. What are you doing with your NOW to get there? If it is laying in the bed worrying about things you can’t control then you are wasting your NOW on negativity that will get you nowhere.

Jesus said it best in the Gospel of Matthew 6:

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

There’s so much to be concerned about but not a lot we can control. What we can control is what we do NOW, what we think NOW, and how we react NOW and everything else about NOW. Take your thoughts captive and allow yourself to be present. Presence, vision, and faith will have you where you need to be at the right time.

You’ll never get back those NOWs you let go from living in your mind but you can capture your next NOW and every one after it. Life is happening NOW and you need to be a part of it. It’s not a desitination it’s a journey.

 

Truly Living My Best Life NOW

SJM

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You Are Enough! #3 (Always Be Single!)

Part of knowing that you are enough is knowing that you should always be single! Don’t get scared if you want to be married. Always being single doesn’t mean that you should never get married in your entire life. Always being single means whether you are married or unmarried you should always strive to be single/whole.

The word single was lost in translation in many ancient texts including some Biblical translations. A single person is very different than an unmarried person. Single people are whole people, not unmarried people. One can can be unmarried and still never be single because they have never been whole, complete, fulfilled individuals.

Unmarried is the state you are in, singleness is a disposition. It’s an assessment of who you are as a person. And we have our state confused with our disposition. Most married people have never truly been single and we wonder why it’s not working. Many of us are so concerned with changing our state, we do not take the necessary time and sacrifices to work on our disposition and who we truly are. We think that changing our state will solve the problems that we face, the voids we have, the insecurities we are holding on to, the loneliness we feel, and the way people see us. The reality is changing your state will not solve your problems, it will only put more pressure and light on the thing that was never really dealt with.

That’s why we see so many depressed millionaires, so many unhappy marriages, so many unfulfilled employees, anxious unmarried people, and others of the sort. We’re tricked into thinking that the next state will make our lives fulfilled and that’s not true. The only true fulfillment will come from living out the God given purpose for your life and you can only do that if you are content. Always being worried about what you want to do next can cause you to miss the purpose for the state you’re in, what you’re supposed to learn, and what you’re supposed to do.

It takes a certain level of maturity to say God leave me here until I get the lesson. As free will individuals and Christians we sometimes tend to think the hard parts of life, the places we don’t want to be and the trials we go through are attacks and evil brought before us. While this can be true I believe the majority of the time the hard parts of life, the places we don’t want to be and the trials we go through are what will produce the type of character in us a single person should always have. A character that will demonstrate the faith we say we have in God, knowing that He knows what is best for us and a character that will carry us through the plans and purposes He has for our lives.

Single life is something that we have to deliberately strive to have all the days of our lives. It not only produces a character that God wants us to have it also allow us to be alone with God and give Him full introspection into our lives, full permission to change us and full contentment in every season we find ourselves in.

Many marriages are failing because two single/whole people are not at the foundation of them. This by no means is two perfect people because we know there is no such thing as perfect people. I’m really talking about people who have taken the time to hear from God about what they need to accomplish while in different seasons and what God wants them to be aware of and change so that it doesn’t become a monster in the next phase. The things that many married people tried to escape from through marriage become a more visible monster because there is someone there who will hold them accountable whether they like it or not.

If I’m bad with money while I’m unmarried and I never ask God to help me make the necessary adjustments to be a good steward, marrying someone even someone with a lot of money will not make a difference! All I have done is brought someone into my mess and they now have the right to shine the light on me, and people sometimes are not as graceful as God is, mainly because they know they have issues too. But to get back to my original point about singleness, my money problems are not limited to marriage trouble but these things I do not crucify and change can affect the purpose and the destiny God has for my life. Even if I never get married I need to learn to handle money properly because this is part of the instruction God has given for my life!

So if you were honest with yourself, what does God need to show you in this season? Many of the issues we experience as unmarried people and even married are because we moved into a state of our lives without working out the things that God put before us in that season. We look for people, places and things to take the place and cover up the hard parts that God is trying to deal with. Be careful of people who are not single, whether it is a spouse, friend, family member, or co-worker; people who are not single will always look to you to complete them. They will literally suck the life out of you because they need to search for and find a feeling of being whole that they think a boo, or a new house, an new car, new shoes, a vacation or anything else but God can give them.

Becoming whole is not easy because it take a deep, honest, look into ourselves and that can be scary sometimes. As perfect as I thought I was at one point God humbled me and showed me how single/whole He wants me to be and I was a long way off from where I even thought I was. It was disappointing but hopeful at the same time. I was no longer deceiving myself and was allowing God to work on my life, and my heart. The work is not for a marriage partner, if that is a benefit then we shall see but I just want the work to be for me to be the person God wants me to be in every state and season in my life.

Next time we will go through the process of becoming whole, and if you’re like me and realize just how much you need God’s help to change some things in your life don’t be discouraged, be encouraged that He loves you enough to keep you from deceiving yourself and that He is still invested in you being the best single person you can be.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

Love SJM

You Are Enough #2 (Not Because of You)

Last week we began to talk about how you are enough. Enough was meant to be a determiner and the definition that we ran with was “sufficient for the purpose”. What is the purpose though? That’s something that we have to figure out, each one of us becasue God has a destiny for each and every person born into this earth.

One of my favorite Pastors Dr. Myles Munroe used to say that if you want to know the purpose of a thing you have to consult the manual included by the manufacturer or the maker. A manufacturer always has a purpose in mind when designing a product. They have already mapped out what it will do, where it will go, who will use it, and how long it will last. He built in everything necessary in order for it to function how it is supposed to and He also made provision in case something goes wrong with the product.

The same is true of our manufacturer.  God who doesn’t live or work in time or space has formed each of us before the foundation of the world and believe it or not He had a purpose and a plan in mind when designing you, what you will do, where you will go, who you will impact, and how long you would be there. And there is also a manual not only for how to make provision if things go wrong, but how to work in every life situation good or bad.

Every living thing God created was created for a purpose and that purpose gives the thing it’s greatest value. When a bird is flying, when a fish is swimming when a tree is creating seeds that fall to the ground it is performing it’s God given purpose and it brings value to it’s surroundings. The same is true of you. When you are walking in your purpose, chasing after God and your destiny, being fruitful and impacting others you bring great value to your surroundings.

Whatever God created you to become is not outside of you. It is already inside of you. That is why you are enough! Birds don’t take flying lessons, it’s built in them, fish don’t take swimming lessons it’s built in them, seeds don’t have to look outside of themselves to become trees and you don’t have to wait on a husband, wife, friend, family member or anyone else to discover what God has already built you to do.

Yes you are enough with all your issues, quirks, and differences. You are enough whether you have the highest degree of education or you never even graduated eighth grade. You are enough even if you don’t have a dime in your pocket, a car or a house. You are enough even if you can’t walk, see hear or some other part of you needs healing.

Look in your manual, the word of God. Those who are documented in the word, had all types of impediments, issues, problems and deficiencies. No one was perfect, no one had it all together, no one could say what they accomplished came from anything that they did and the same goes for us. I’m not enough becasue of where I went to school, where I work, who I know, what church I go to, who my parents are, how much money I have, where I live, who I am married to or anything of the sort. I am enough because whatever God has caused me to do, He has equipped me with the means to do it. The means is my potential.

Potential is dormant ability. But ability is useless until it is given responsibility. When God created Adam, He planted in him the potential to subdue, rule over and care for the earth and everything in it. His potential was predetermined by this purpose. Adam had inside of him all the potential necessary to fulfill the assignment. But he was not aware of his potential, even as you may not be aware of what you can do or why you can do it.

Some of the most genuine people I know who walk in their purpose never really had any formal training in the area they work in. I have heard some of the most powerful sermons preached by those who never went to school for theology, some of the best musicians, painters, speakers and writers are self taught. Some people have taken what God has given them and run with it. Some have silenced the voice that points them toward what is already in them and drives them to look to people, places and things to help find what God has been trying to tell them the whole time.

I can never make myself enough because I am not God. I can only walk in the enoughness He has provided me before the foundation of the world. At the same time no one else can make me enough or take anything away from me that God placed inside of me. As we go on in the series we’ll explore how our lives can be thrown off track by letting others, the enemy, and even the world we live in determine how much we are worth.

For now please remember that no matter how good you are or how many challenges you have you are enough because of what God did even before this world was formed. He knows your end even from the beginning and He saw what you would be, (the good and the bad) and He still chose you for a specific purpose. Nothing you could have done on your own made you enough. It’s just who you are and who you’ll always be. Whether or not you put that enoughness to use is up to you. I’m praying you choose yes!

Dear God,

I thank you for equipping me to be enough for the purpose you have called me to. No I am not perfect but you don’t call the perfect, you perfect the called. I pray that everyone thinking they are not good enough to fulfill the life you have for them will come to know that the voids and emptiness they are trying to fulfill only come from you and living the life you chose before the foundation of the world. Help us to stay focused on what is important so we may hear you say “well done”.

Amen

Love SJM

 

You Are Enough!!! satis sum #1

Hi All! I decided to make my first conference speech a written blog becasue there’s so much more to say! This series is called You Are Enough! (satis sum in Latin) It is not just for ladies, but for anyone who does not feel like they are enough for whatever reason. The main reasons that people feel deficient will be explored throughout this series (being “single”, looking at others, lack of purpose, discontentment etc…..) It’s never too late to fulfill your purpose and your life doesn’t have to feel empty becasue you are “alone”. Follow along as we destroy, myths, misconceptions, and other fallacies that may have ever caused you to feel like you’re not enough. Continue reading

Me Minded Means You Miss Out

Forgive me. I’ve been gone a long time, about 6 months to be exact. Why? There are no excuses. I have to confess that I’ve become “Me Minded”. It’s funny because the last post I wrote was called God Misses You, and that’s exactly why I’m here now in this moment to let you know that was for me as much as it was for you.

It has been a challenging year for me and i think I’ve expressed this before but it’s such a clever trick of the enemy to make you run from God when you need Him the most. When is that? All the time! It’s a trick question. There is no time in my life where my need for God should become less. I need Him  more and more everyday, but when I don’t acknowledge that I become what’s called me minded.

Me mindedness is just what it says. My mind is on me. Has there been a time in your life when you have been me minded? Well it’s been subtle in my life. My me mindedness has been rooted in depression, worry, rejection, inadequacy, and sometimes anxiety.

How can this be me minded you ask? When you think of me mindedness you may think more about narcissism, pride, greed, etc. Well I say my issues are me minded because they take the focus off of God and put it on me. I have experienced this me mindedness on and off throughout my life in Christ over the last 9 years or so, because of certain things that have happened in life, but the issue now is that there is no time for me mindedness! Time is running out in this wicked world.

Now some may say these are natural things we go through in life emotions, ups and downs. I believe this to a certain extent but the Lord has  been telling me throughout all of this that it’s bigger than me. When I slip into being me minded I focus on me plain and simple. I become saturated in what I want, what I need, what my life should look like, my goals, my dreams, my income…..my, my, my. The list could go on and on and on.

What does He mean by it’s bigger than me? It means that those times I fell into me mindedness and I acknowledged it and let it go I could trade it in. Beauty for ashes, joy for my pain. It’s like I could literally hand this challenge to God and he could give me peace in the form of a new boy or girl to mentor, a new blog to write, a new prayer to pray, a new step forward into my purpose. something that didn’t have to do with me! It was so peaceful and it produced the contentment God desires for me at all times with or without what I want. But you know what happened when I didn’t trade it in? I internalized it and I began to take away from what I was supposed to be doing for you. I was under the covers, feeling sad, sick and hopeless. I was being selfish, holding on to the things that were not even mine because sometimes it’s easier to lay down than to get up and fight.

Forgive me, because i’m supposed to be fighting for you. I’m supposed to be praying for you, encouraging you, helping you see who you are and who, making you aware of what’s coming, sowing into your life and being content in the state that I’m in. Why should I be doing this? It’s not because I’m perfect (I’m far from it), not because I’m strong, smart, or super deep. I should be doing this because it’s bigger than me.My life doesn’t revolve around my comfortable place, my dark place, my pitiful place.  If I’m under a cover crying because my feelings have been hurt or I don’t think I measure up to what others think, or I don’t have this or that what are you going to do?

Who’s going to pray for that child that may get caught in gang violence tonight? Who’s going to encourage that single mother who feels like her life is a failure? Who’s going to show young black women that came where I came from that there are options outside of what you see everyday? Who’s going to tell you to seek God for your destiny and not to give up? Who’s going help you? Who’s going to intercede for a failing system that is collapsing before our eyes? All so you can someday do the same.

It has to be me, and again not because I’ve reached some super level of sainthood in my life. I don’t always make the best decisions, I’m not always obedient, I don’t always do things the right way, I haven’t arrived. So why is it me? I’m still trying to figure that out myself and that’s what faith and trust in God is about.Why did God use a man that stutters and had anger issues to deliver a nation out of bondage? Why did He use an adulterous murderer to reign as king?  We sometimes have a vision of our life and it’s not necessarily God given, it’s more me minded than anything because we want what we want by nature,  We want to feel comfortable, we want to have it easy, we want to be me minded because it feels so good!

God chose my life way before I did and I just have to follow the path he laid out for me. Those times I become me minded and want to wallow in my excuses,my inadequacies, and my past failures are the times I am taking away from you and what you need. The times I am thinking about how my life should look, I’m taking away from you.

I guess the most dangerous thing about me mindedness is what is lost in the process. I lose a piece of my purpose and you lose a piece of yours.

Remember I write this things for me as much as I write them for you, so you can see when me mindedness comes into play no one gets to benefit. I’m not going to be perfect but my strive is going to get better and I pray you will continue to bear with me because I refuse to give up!

Love Always,

SJM

God Misses You

I know you’ve got it all together now. You don’t need God anymore or at least as much as you used to need Him. Things are going good and you’re comfortable. You say thank you God out of ritual, tradition and emotion, but you don’t have the heart like you used to. There is no passion behind it anymore, there is no thought behind it anymore, and you take it for granted that you were able to open your eyes and take a breath this morning. You get up everyday and go based off of how you feel. You don’t talk to God anymore, yeah you pray, you go to church, you participate in the activities, but you think you’ve arrived, and you think its pie in the sky now, you think someone owes you something.

These people draw near Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me. Uselessly do they worship Me, for they teach as doctrines the commands of men. Matthew 15:8-9

God misses you; He wants the old you back. Remember before you got that good job? How you trusted God to see you through each and every day; your daily bread? You didn’t know what you were going to eat sometimes, but you thanked God for whatever He gave you, even if it was a can of soup, or a hot dog. You didn’t turn your nose up, you didn’t waste it, you shared it, and you appreciated it. Now you have to go to the fanciest restaurants, you spend the money God blessed you with on entertainment and folly. You’ve been blessed, but you’re giving less; less of your time, less of your resources, less of your heart. You’ve become selfish. God misses that desperation, that appreciation, that humility, and that drive that you had to make things work out no matter how bad it looks.

23 His master said to him, Well done, you upright (honorable, [d]admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the [e]blessedness) which your master enjoys. Matthew 25:23

You’ve become selfish. You don’t remember when you were out on the streets, cold, hungry, homeless and begging. You don’t remember when you needed shelter, food and clothing. All you know is God’s been good to you and you alone. God misses the humility you had back then. When you understood the value of things and you were appreciative of the help he sent. He misses when you prayed and fasted and let patience have its perfect work in you, when you let him prepare you for what you have now. Now you walk past those who were like you, with heartlessness, no compassion, and pride. You spend your time entertaining and enjoying yourself when you know God is calling you to help those out of the very same thing he helped you out of. You’re distracted by the cares of this world, entertainment, eating, drinking, and even work. Even what you call working for Him, yes you’re distracted by “ministry”. You spend more time on Facebook and Instagram taking selfies, and telling people what you’re doing, where you are and who you’re with. You want accolades, and a pat on the back for the things you’re supposed to be doing without a second thought.

42 For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink,43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me [l]with help and ministering care. Matthew 25:42-43

Remember when you had that cancer? Maybe not cancer, but remember when you were going though in your body? Remember the relationship you developed with God? You even thanked Him through the pain, through the suffering, and you trusted Him to bring you through. You understood that a reward came through suffering, through enduring and through trusting God. You knew that you were still created in His image and your greatest reward was what He was making you into. Now that you’ve been delivered, you have your own image of yourself. You’ve altered your body and your image into what’s popular; you try to impress people with what you have but God misses who you were. You can’t sow into the Gospel anymore because you’re doing “you” now. You have to keep up the image with the fancy, clothes, the cars, the jewelry and the other things that are important to you now. You can’t endure anymore. You’re up and down, in and out of emotions, and sometimes when things don’t go your way you are an enemy of God.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:6-7

God misses you. Remember when you first started preaching and teaching the word? Remember how you went to God in prayer and fasting for hours, even days and got the word for the people from Him? No matter how hard it was, how unpopular it was, or how sobering it was you delivered it with accuracy and with power. You were interested in the growth of the people. No they weren’t shouting and dancing around, but you did what God told you to do and how He told you to do it. Somewhere along the line you got tired of that. You don’t sacrifice your time anymore to go before God to receive a word and revelation; you get before the people and always give them good news and edify their flesh. You now live for the emotions and theatrics of church the screaming, shouting, dancing, organ playing, and excitement. You preach and teach by your wit and intellect and not by the spirit of God.

18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped[d] from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 2 Peter 2:18-19

What happened to the old you? Who or what changed you? When did it become all about you? When will it stop being all about you? We have a way of saying woe unto sinners who are blatantly sinning, when our outer image is clean and acceptable to people, but they cannot see out hearts which is what God looks upon. Maybe someone who falls into sin and has a truly repentant heart is closer to God than you are at this point. God misses when you had that heart; now that you’ve got it all together you think God needs you. This may be true, but please remember God is not limited to you. There’s always someone being groomed to replace you.

Go back to those times when you were on fire for God and the things of the Kingdom! Go back to that place of desperation while you have the chance because it was producing the character God wanted you to have. It was producing something way bigger than you could ever imagine, and if you don’t understand what God was trying to do then He may just have to take you back to that place and this time you may stay longer and have to give up more than you ever expected.

God misses you. Do you miss Him or do you love your life more than you love Him? Ask Him humbly what you can lay down to please Him and to prepare you. Don’t be missed……

33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. Luke 17:33

He WIll Give You More Than You Can Bear

Most people believe that God won’t give you more than you can handle. It’s become a cliché saying that’s been going around for a while, but I realized sometimes these sayings have us confessing things that we don’t even really think about. It’s church lingo, things that have been passed down from generation to generation that are easily accepted, but never questioned.

I have had a few overwhelming experiences in my short lifetime that made me feel like my world was falling apart. To be honest, if someone had come alongside me at that point and tried to reassure me by saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” I may have punched them right in the face. It gets just that serious in the midst of frustration. When you’re in the position where you seriously on your last stand hearing this can sound more like teasing than comfort. When you are down and out and feeling like you’ve done all you can, gone as far as you can go, and you’re discouraged hearing those words can make you feel like you’re not measuring up. I used to ask myself, “If I’m supposed to handle this, then why can’t I handle it?”

Consider hardships and struggles that go beyond sin. Obviously, there are going to be trials and tribulations that do not directly involve our sin or the sin of others. Are we still left in a position that says, “He will never give me more than I can handle”? I ask this question because this statement is often used to bring comfort. I ask this question because this statement is not found in scripture. I ask this question because I dare to say that maybe God will give you more than you can handle.

Why?

  1. As a reminder

If there were never circumstances that brought us to our knees in absolute dependence on Him, then why would we need God? He is our provider, healer, comfort, and strength. This all true, however, He is also God of all things, ruler over us, master in charge of us, and superior in every way. He is a jealous God that does not like being put on the back burner. Let’s be honest with ourselves about this. The back burner is exactly where God ends up when we are able to “handle” everything. Our nature is to want to control and handle everything. When things are good we have a tendency to rely on ourselves and not Him. So, wouldn’t it make sense that God would allow things to happen to cause us of trust in Him?

The apostle Paul knew what it was like to face hardship. He knew what it was like to be brought to a breaking point. The man endured so many physical, spiritual, and mental attacks and struggle. However, in 2 Cor 1:8-9 he says “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” Paul understood that even those struggles were a reminder of who God was in His life.

Now some people see this as strange. They ask the question, “Why would God allow me to suffer”. So often this causes people to begin to doubt their faith in a loving God. However, knowing our human nature, I believe that these hardships are Gods love in action.

If there were not constant reminders of how weak and helpless we are, we might stop trusting in Him. If we stop trusting in Him, we begin to jeopardize soul with pride. I see it as a blessing, at times, that God allows to me to have more than I can handle. It keeps me on my knees and humble.

  1. Growth

For those that have gone through hardships, and yet remained faithful, you know what a growth experience pain can become. During the turmoil it was hard to understand why it was happening and sometimes it doesn’t seem like it’s worth it. However, on the other side of the struggle, you understood what God was doing. One of the amazing aspects of our God is how He takes the worst circumstances and brings meaning and beauty. It’s something that I still cannot fully wrap my mind around. I have seen Him do it over and over again and still cannot comprehend His grace in this manner. It brings a hope and a peace into every situation. Maybe, just maybe, these hardships are God preparing us for something greater than we know.

I hope that you understand one thing. Understand that God will give you more than YOU can handle. However, He will never give you more than HE can handle. Neither one of those statements are found in Scripture, but I think you’ll have an easier time defending the latter. I don’t think that any of the great Men and Women of God would be willing to embrace the former. I don’t think that Jesus, as He was being beaten, tortured, and murdered was thinking, “Its ok, God won’t give me more than I can handle. I can handle this myself”. Jesus the man had to be at the point of breaking. In fact, Jesus cried out to God the Father to change His mind. In John 22:42 he said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me”. However, he understood that dying was necessary and later declared, “Not my will but yours be done”. Then in John 22:43 it says, “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthen him.” Jesus was not left alone and it was not more than God the Father could handle. However, it had to be endured because there was something greater in store.

My motivation behind challenging this “more than you can handle” is two sided. One, I want us to always be able to see God working even in the toughest of challenges. If He is faithful in good times, He will be faithful in the bad times. Two, I see this “more than you can handle” idea producing a dangerous doctrine. It’s a doctrine that causes us to see every hardship as either an attack of the enemy or as punishment from God.

We live in a fallen and sinful world. There are going to be hardships that come, not because we are attacked or punished, but because it’s part of where we live. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to help us discern the reasons behind our struggles. If it’s a spiritual attack, He will expose the enemy. If it’s related to sin, He will bring conviction and restoration. If it’s just part of life, then I will look for what my God is teaching me.

So, let’s not take comfort in believing that God will not give me more than I can handle. When it’s more than I can handle, I’m forced to trust Him. Instead let’s take comfort and believe that God will not give me more than He can handle. He is in control over everything!

The truth is sometimes we can’t make it on our own. We can’t even make it with the best people around us. Sometimes God is all we have, and he wants us to realize that at different points in our lives. It’s not God’s method to pacify us or let us think we have it all together and we can handle everything.

We are not self-sufficient. If we never suffered, we would be worse, not better. Why? Our pride would destroy us. We would never feel as if we had a need to pray, to trust God, to seek him. We would have everything figured out, and our sinful rebellion would destroy us.

Maybe we need to start seeing the trials and difficulties as a blessing, not a burden. He does not want us to rely on our own strength, but his, and he uses the trials to teach us that. We can find joy amidst the trial by receiving the strength he provides in the trial. And he will. He is faithful again and again.