Out of the Comfort Zone
”Just remember, God will never give you more than you can handle.” I know she meant well, but no one wants to hear that in the midst of suffering.
I smiled and nodded. But what I really meant to say was, Sorry, ma’am, but I for sure cannot handle what God is allowing in my life right now.
I was a little angry with her, but to be honest, I was very angry at God.
I wanted to say to Him (in fact I think I did), Look, you’ve picked the wrong girl. I know, I know. You’re the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, You know beginning to the end, the only thing you cannot do is fail. But, I am not strong enough for this.
Fact of the matter is, I wasn’t strong enough then, and still, even on the other side of suffering, I am not strong enough.
He knows that.
A year and a half ago, my mom felt a tug on her heart to go speak to our pastor about getting involved in the women’s ministry. She had planned to go in, chat about volunteering, throw some ideas around, and leave. She walked into the meeting with little expectation, and left as the new head of the women’s ministry. My mom was so overwhelmed, but she stepped up to fill the need even though it was way out of her comfort zone. That’s just the kind of woman she is.
A few months of planning, prepping, and hosting a few events passed, and my mom was overwhelmed. We were sitting out on our porch swing, having one of our many coffee chats, when she said to me, “I don’t know why God has me in this position. I can think of so many other women that could do this way better than me. It‘s stretching me in ways I’ve never been stretched before. This is so out of my comfort zone. I don’t know what God is doing.”
My mom felt that God picked the wrong girl to head the women’s ministry. She didn’t feel equipped to handle such a huge responsibly.
He knew that.
God will always give you more than you can handle. Always. If you could handle it, you wouldn’t need Him.
If you feel like He picked the wrong girl, know that he specifically chose you.
Not because you were equipped.
Not because you were qualified.
Not because He knew you could handle it, but because He knows He can.
He has specifically chosen to show His faithfulness, strength and goodness through you.
If our burdens, trials, and tribulations were easy, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow through them.
About a week after my mom had expressed to me how she didn’t think she was qualified to lead, a friend of hers whom she hadn’t talked to in a while, called her. “Carol, you have been on my heart. I feel like I need to tell you this. Remember at bible study, 15 years ago? You came in with one blue shoe and one black shoe. You laughed it off and proceeded to teach. You taught me that you don’t have to be perfect to teach the Gospel. It’s not about us.”
She was right, you don’t need to be perfect, equipped, or qualified, to share the love of Christ. God can use anyone for His kingdom. You just have to let him.
My most recent season of suffering was not short, and felt like it would never end. But again, if it is easy, we can’t grow through it.
Last summer, as I reflected on the last year of the absolute worst year of my life, I wrote this caption on a picture that I had posted.
07.01.19 Sitting here in my window sill, unfiltered, bare faced, un-brushed hair, watching the rain. I remember sitting here a year ago, I didn’t realize at the time that this window sill would become a place of refuge in the following season. This would be the place I would get to know God on a whole new level, where I would process the pain, take a break from reality, and gather up enough strength through scripture to face the world and keep on going.
This is not where I pictured myself to be a year ago.
But here I am. Same spot. Same girl. Same unchanged circumstance.
But this year she’s stronger. She’s braver. She’s bolder. She’s more forgiving, more trusting, more full of faith and more full of hope. She’s embracing the excitement of the unknown, instead of being bound by fear.
She’s persevered through enough pain and heartache to know that she can get through anything with God. She has been broken down just enough to have extreme compassion for those who are broken too.
This season isn’t quite over for me yet. But I’ve learned that things don’t have to be fixed or tied neatly into a bow to see the goodness of God in every day.
He is near, always.
Even when I don’t see the good, I am choosing to declare “I don’t get this, but you know better than I do. Here I am, your will be done.”
He hasn’t failed me yet, and I refuse to believe that he would stop now. Hebrews 10:23
I’m thankful God gives me more than I can handle because it forces me to give it to Him.
It takes the burden off of me, and onto Him - the One who can, and wants to handle it.
I don’t have to be qualified, equipped, or strong enough, because he already is.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
“Cast your cares upon Me, for I care for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
To wrap up, I’ve got good news and bad news.
Bad news: He will always give you more than you can handle.
Good news: You don’t have to handle it alone.
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