I’ve got a bit of a confession. For the past few days, I’ve been kinda feeling a little down. Nothing major. Just working hard and tired of stuff breaking.
It all started when I walked into the kitchen the other day to find water all over the floor. Apparently, the ice maker broke, but water kept pouring into (and then out of) the ice cube making place. Then I discovered that the dryer vent wasn’t hooked up properly and ended up having to take the entire laundry room apart. Then, unexpectedly, we had to plop down $750 to fix my husband’s car.
This stuff is fairly minor compared to other junk we’ve dealt with. Just to be able to say our ice maker doesn’t work kind of makes me feel like a spoiled brat. Like, I mean, I had to go out and buy ice trays and “make” ice — that’s so last century. Seriously, not a big problem. The $750 out-of-the-blue expense was a hard pill to swallow, there’s no denying that.
These occurrences, plus a couple of other things, got me thinking about some of those clichés (mostly referring to “Christian” phrases, though a couple may come from other sources) that people say all the time that I hate. Stuff like:
God will never give you more than you can handle.
Where did this one come from? I think this stems from the verse about no temptation being too great, God will provide a way out. But there are a few other verses that clearly point to us not being able to handle situations on our own. Such as, “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.” 2 Cor 1:8. Hellooo, this is Paul talking—major New Testament guy. If something was far beyond his ability to endure, why would life, at times, be different for us?
Don’t you give your kids (or other people), at least from time to time, more than they can handle? to push them along? to challenge them? to teach them? so they can learn to ask for help? to show them that they can overcome even as you have to step in and help? to show them that they can, period? If you don’t, you are doing them a great disservice and you need to push them out of the cocoon every once in a while.
God helps those who help themselves.
Just so you know, this is not a Bible verse. Apparently its origin is in some kind of ancient Greek thing. I get the point about how you can’t laze about and expect the world to hand you everything—in that regard, not a bad message. I think it annoys me because 1) it is quoted as Scripture and 2) I tend to believe that God helps those who can’t help themselves and who ask for His help. I also believe that in His mercy, He helps sometimes when people don’t know how to ask, don’t know what to ask or can’t ask for some reason.
If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.
This cringe-worthy saying is just so offensive to me, I can’t even comment on it.
If you find your calling/purpose in life, you’ll be happy, content, fulfilled, everything will be a-ok…
Or something like that. It does help to know what you should be doing and not flailing around wondering. The focus alone should bring peace within and provide much-needed direction. Being on the path that God has set for you can certainly bring contentment and fulfillment, but it can also bring great anguish. Ever read the book of Jeremiah? “Weeping Prophet” isn’t a moniker that brings to mind peace, contentment and fulfillment. Remember the Garden of Gethsemane and that thing about Jesus being nailed to the cross? Happy times? I think not, but perfectly in God’s will and purpose.
You’ve just got to praise Jesus (and then you’ll be happy, content, fulfilled, everything will be a-ok…)
No doubt there are verses to back up the action of this one, i.e. “Give thanks in all circumstances.” However, Jesus is not a magic pill. Say one praise as necessary and everything will be awesome. I remember a lady who said the “just praise God” thing to me after a particularly gut-wrenching experience in my life. She then proceeded to tell me, in a correcting tone, how she praised God while she held her dead baby in her arms. What I heard, in a less than compassionate manner, was “if I could praise Him during that, certainly you can do it now.” So I can’t cry over my loss because you could praise God during such a horrible moment in your life? Glad it worked for you, lady, but I am certain that your heart still broke.
We all fall into the cliché trap from time to time. I think it usually comes from a place of wanting to somehow comfort others and we simply don’t know what to do or say. The words also tend keep our own hurt and questions at bay. We need to learn to not be afraid to let each other feel pain and to grieve—we need to not blunt the process by coming up with wonder-sayings. I’m no expert in this area. I’d rather do something, anything, to erase somebody’s pain if I could. But I can’t. So for now, I am trying to learn to keep my mouth shut even more and my ears, heart and arms open ever wider.