It took me by surprise when she asked me, “Well – You’ve never been given more than you can handle, right?”
She was a well-meaning friend and we were talking about Covid and the stresses of unwanted homeschooling. But, I stammered a bit at her question. Because – well, there have been times in my life where it certainly felt like I’ve been given more than I could handle.
But, in the moment, I mustered a, “Well, no. I guess not.”
If I’m being honest though, I could feel myself getting upset. I felt uncomfortable and like she had just diminished all of my feelings over the years when I did feel like I was given more than I could handle. I quickly changed the subject and we moved on to other things.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that question though.
Not only have I stumbled through a terrible past year that challenged me in so many ways, but we are in the midst of a pandemic, people. Of course He’s giving me more than I can handle.
In the last year or so she didn’t know that I struggled with depression like I had never experienced before. Every time I mentioned my anxiety, she wanted me to change my verbiage. I kept saying things like, “I’m a stressed out person.” because I didn’t want to ruin the moment with the heaviness of reality – I have an anxiety disorder and it’s a daily battle for me to deal with that.
And it DOES feel like more than I can handle some days.
Instead she kept encouraging me to not place those labels on myself. Because I am a child of God. And my anxiety doesn’t define me.
So much of the conversation left me unsettled. And it’s not the first time I’ve experienced similar situations.
She meant well. People usually do. She was trying her think positively! approach that many people who talk about hard things like anxiety and depression hear often.
And, to be honest – I could use a little encouragement in that department. So, I don’t get offended anymore. I’m not the most positive person in the world, and I do struggle with being a look on the bright side kind of girl.
But, does God give me more than I can handle? I wondered for days about that.
Because on the one hand – no. I’m still alive. I mean, I didn’t DIE. So, I guess I’m handling it.
However, on the other hand, some days it sure felt like it. Some days it still does.
When I had no joy when I looked at my family and no motivation to get out of bed, it sure did feel like more than I could handle.
When my marriage was suffering, it felt like more than I could handle.
When my kids needed me to step up just as I was catching my breath after a terrible year of home remodeling, lawsuits, and car accidents and homeschool them? It seemed like more than I could handle.
When I battle with my brain every day to fight negative thoughts and overwhelming feelings, it definitely feels like more than I can handle.
So, yes – I believe He does give us more than we can handle sometimes.
But, did you die?
Ha. No, I didn’t die. I’m still standing through all those things I couldn’t handle.
But, it’s because of things like medication that helped me tackle the debilitating depression that I believe would have overpowered me if I hadn’t taken control by going to the doctor.
I believe it’s because of family and friends who have buoyed me up and given me the strength that I didn’t know I had.
I believe it’s because of going to a therapist to work on the really hard stuff, and because of prayer.
I think lots of things help me handle it. God, does too. I’m not trying to diminish His power in my life.
But, I also think that yes – He does give me more than I can handle sometimes. He gives all of us more than we can handle. Maybe we don’t die, so it’s easy to assume we handled it, right?
But, sometimes that handling of it (whatever “it” may be for you) looks like barely hanging on. Sometimes it looks like just mere survival.
Why does He do that to us though? Why does He give us more than we can handle?
I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve thought about this question a lot, too.
We could easily blame Him or think we’ve been given a raw deal. Especially when it comes to those of us who have mental illness. Sometimes I feel exhausted just having to keep battling this illness that tries to play games with my mind every day.
But, we all have our battles. We all have things that feel impossible to handle.
The thing that gives me hope is know that I am still here I guess. Not always “handling it” gracefully, but still standing.
We do make it through – even if it’s messy and usually that means one thing – We have gotten stronger.
Do we always love the growth in the moments when He gives us more than we can handle? No. I don’t. In fact, sometimes I get a little angry about it.
But, do I see the changes? Do I feel stronger?
Absolutely. And, I guess that’s the point of all this “handling it.”
God gives us things we can’t handle all the time. We can’t handle them without Him. The point is that they draw us nearer to him. Sometimes He simply holds us and listens. Sometimes he takes the weight off our shoulders. A lot of the time, he gives us ideas and things to do so we can exercise our faith & be empowered. Then we can turn and serve and share another who is struggling too.
Thank you for sharing your experiences! I’m sorry that you felt belittled. Your feelings are real and valid. There is also hope.
Thanks Lexi! What a sweet comment and I totally agree.
I think you need to reconsider why you maintain your relationship with the friend you mention. She does not seem supportive or understanding. If that is what you are looking for (which is valid) you might want to keep your interactions with her more casual or surface level. Or, just stop hanging out with her. A true friend is one who likes you and wants you to feel successful and supported. Everyone else is an acquaintance.
Yes to all of this 🙌
I’ve been in this boat as well this year and struggled so so much with the positive psychology/faith approach. As I get healthier I am able to start catching my negative self talk and practice self-compassion. But this was the hardest mental health season I’ve had since I was first diagnosed as a teenager (20 years ago)! And it was absolutely more than I could handle! Did God provide the support I needed? 100%. I found a medication that works (after a couple tries), a therapist I connect with and a couple good friends who would check in every so often. My workplace and partner were also supportive. This is all privilege and I’m grateful. However would I say I wouldn’t go back and change this season because of the gift and growth or whatever? Absolutely not – it’s been hell. God definitely gave me more than I could handle but also grace as I fumbled my way through it.
Thanks for sharing your experience and for giving voice to something that’s challenging for so many navigating mental health crises within a faith tradition.