“Mrs. Goerz, I just can’t do it. This is too hard for me.”
I hear these words in my classroom from time to time and they concern me.
While I challenge my students to do better and move ahead, I do not give them work that they are incapable of doing. I choose lessons and activities that meet the needs of my students, right where they are at. I provide support throughout the learning process and encouragement to complete the task.
So where does the “it’s too hard” language come from? For many students it is simply not listening to instructions properly and they don’t know what to do. However, for some children, they earnestly believe they are not capable. Their inner talk spreads the rumour that they can’t possibly succeed in schoolwork. Before they even attempt the work, they have the mindset that they are not good enough to do it.
Sarah, in the Old Testament, demonstrates feelings of being incapable. She recognizes that God has promised her husband Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, yet her womb is barren. She sheds many tears as others around her hold their precious newborns and ensure their family legacies. It is challenging to believe God’s promises as she ages past the point of childbearing.
She actually laughs when God’s messengers arrive at their camp and indicate that she will bear a child. But they remind her – “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14 NIV) The child she bears becomes the leader of a nation – a witness to the promises God makes and keeps with His people.
I am sure God wanted to shake Sarah at times and remind her that she has no reason for concern – that He has everything under control.
Just like I get perturbed with students whose instant reaction to coursework is “I can’t do it. It’s too hard,” I’m sure God has His moments with me when I, like Sarah, present the same kind of language to Him.
Many times, in recent weeks I have been crying out to God with similar words. As I think about it, I realize I have complained big time about my current job being too hard for me. This list goes on with everything from my long commute, to all the new procedures and paperwork, to the extra hours I need to spend to stay afloat with a multi grade classroom.
Reading God’s Word with its reminder that nothing is too hard for God reminds me that I am not set adrift to journey alone. The God who places me on this path and who points me in a particular direction, also walks along with me and gives me the tools I need to accomplish what He has set before me.
My students get little schoolwork accomplished when they have a self-defeatist attitude, and I cannot move forward very well if I continually look at all the things I believe I can’t do.
If we put parameters on what God can do in our lives, we limit the blessings we receive with challenges overcome. As I tell my students often, we learn most from our mistakes and our struggles. The same is true for me. My faith deepens as I dig in and trust that God will provide me with the means to follow the direction where He leads me.
Will I still have my moments when I ask God why something in my life has to be so hard? Yes, I am sure those feelings will arise from time to time. It’s what I do with those moments that makes all the difference though. Do I choose to get mired in the muck of “poor me, how can I possibly manage”? Or do I choose to believe in my Heavenly Father, who can do anything?
I do have a very challenging class, a long drive to work, and lots of new things to learn at a new school. While I can lament any of these, it is much better if I leave them with God and trust that He will help me maneuver through it all. He didn’t give me this job to be unkind to me. He has given me a job that I CAN do through His strength.
My mindset is better when I don’t start out with an “I can’t” attitude. If I earnestly look for God to a solution, He will provide the answer. I trust that He will not give me more than I can bear. I may not always be happy about the challenges in my life but true joy comes from my relationship with my Lord and Saviour, and not anything else.
Turn your “it’s too hard” moments into ones where God can work His wondrous ways in your life. Open the door to what only He can do to help you lead a fulfilling, purpose filled life.
Nothing is too hard for our gracious God.
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