- Out of Phase #1 – Being a Servant
- Out of Phase #2 – Boundaries
- Out of Phase #3 – Responsibilities
- Out of Phase #4 – Rules
- Out of Phase #5 – Emotions
- Out of Phase #6 – Work
- Out of Phase #7 – Christian Quips
- Out of Phase #8 – Reasons & Responsibilities
- Out of Phase #9 – Religion
- Out of Phase #10 – Enough
- Out of Phase #11 – Retreat
- Out of Phase #12 – Healthy Relationships
- Out of Phase #13 – Words
- Out of Phase #14 – Depth and Breadth – Impact
This morning a friend was sharing with me about a struggle he has been having following the death of his wife. He has handled this devastating loss with such faith and grace, but nonetheless he is heartbroken.
He shared with me this morning about a thought that was discussed among some fellow believers that caused him to dig deeper into the phrase, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” I call such phrases “Christian Quips.”
Christian Quips, in my estimation, are those sayings that have been coined to pacify our ache, explain away the unexplainable, and sometimes motivate or silence those to whom the phrase is directed.
These words are most often spoken, I believe, out of a heart that wants to bring comfort. But I have realized in most cases the heart we truly seek to comfort is our own. We feel a responsibility to bear our friends’ burdens, soothe their ache, or speak clarity into confusion. But in the end phrases such as “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle,” “Everything happens for a reason,” or “The Lord helps those who helps themselves” will likely bring more confusion than clarity and ultimately knock our understanding of the purposes and character of God out of phase.
In many ways it seems these phrases have been canonized and I would imagine many believe they are indeed part of the canon (Bible). However, they are not and ultimately they can leave us frustrated, confused, and discouraged, feeling as though we are less than adequate in our faith.
The truth, I have realized, is this; life is often more than we can handle. It is this struggle that drives many to substance abuse, workaholism, or despair and fuels chronic guilt and shame. However, these very things which are too much for us to bear are not designed to drive us away from God as we try and fail to bear them alone, but to press into God because it is only through His grace we are able to hold up under their weight.
I don’t mean to come across as smug or condescending-quite the opposite. I have been just as guilty uttering these same anecdotes. But I have come to realize more and more that to bring comfort to our grieving friends, to truly bear their burdens requires more silence than anything else: sitting in the awkwardness as they talk or cry or shout or stare off into nothing, knowing we can’t say anything that will fix their loss. Working in silence as we mow their yards or cook their meals because they simply don’t have the energy to do the needed household chores.
I am striving to recognize and eliminate these and other such phrases from my vocabulary as I continue to realize they ultimately shift our focus from the Only One who can provide true comfort.
Can you think of any other such phrases? Feel free to leave them in the comments below.