Feel Like You Can't Take It Anymore? You're Right.
If you have fallen victim to the Christian old adage, “You will not be given more than you can bear…,” listen closely. You will be given more than you can bear, but you don’t have to take it. Well meaning Christians often misquote, misinterpret, and miss the mark on 1 Corinthians 10:13 which states,“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
God will not give you more than you can bear. He says “My yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:30).” If anything, He will give you less than you can bare while exercising your ability to “be faithful in the small things then He will give you more (Matthew 25:23).” While God will not give you more than you can bear, others will.
A boss can and will ask you to take on more hours at work. Your loving spouse may need his/her shirts starched, packages mailed, and lunch packed. Your children might need their homework checked, their team uniform cleaned, and a homemade goodie for tomorrow’s bake sale. Your best friend wants to hang out, your church needs a greeter, and the PTO is calling for your input on next month’s fundraiser. But do you know what? You can say no, before your head starts spinning around on your shoulders like a scene from the exorcist. When you have more than you can bear, it’s not their fault, it’s yours.
The next time you feel like you’ve lost control, remember, you didn’t lose control, you gave it away. The power is yours to say no, to know your own boundaries, and to stick to them. It is so easy to blame the people around us who “make us” feel pressured to do the things we don’t want to do. But we must own our part in the unhappy place where we have found ourselves. Other people can’t “make” you feel pressured (try as they might). If you feel pressured it is because you allowed yourself to feel this way. You pressured yourself for fear of disappointing the person or persons around you. You took responsibility for the other person’s feelings and sacrificed your own. Bottom line, you enabled them to take advantage of you. Their happiness is not your responsibility, but yours is.
If you are feeling like you have ‘more than you can bear,’ evaluate which things you do and don’t want to be doing. Then begin to slice away at the activities, duties, and responsibilities that you don’t want (or need) to be doing. Prioritize by deciding which things are the most important to you. Then ask God which things are most important to Him. When you have a clear outline of what you are doing and why, you won’t waste your time on tasks that will drain your time and energy. Your day and your life will have greater purpose, and you will lose that nagging feeling of guilt (coupled with resentment) that left you tired, angry, and overwhelmed.