I’M EXPECTED TO DO SOMETHING I CAN’T!
When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Genesis 30:1-2
Jacob is in a tough spot. He has been tricked by Laban, the father of Rachel and Leah, his wives. The one he loves more is barren while the other has borne him three sons in order to win his favor. There is no part of this story that is working well for anyone. (Except for Laban who benefitted monetarily from Jacob’s work.)
Rachel is pleading with him to do something about her barrenness. “Give me children, or I shall die!” Is there anything more tormenting than to be expected to provide something when you have no control over it? People look to others to give what is only supernaturally possible. The one who feels the pressure to play God is the one who can feel the most helpless.
I’ve been put in the place of God more times than I can count. The one who demanded a solution was probably not aware that they were doing that. They were expressing their distress to someone who loved them but I carried their pain and wrung my hands over their plight.
Are you between a rock and hard place today? For many years, I was unaware that I had the freedom to say ‘no’ to what was asked of me. As a performer, I agreed to do all that was expected. Most of it was asked with no regard of what was appropriate for the maturation level of a teenager or young adult. My self-talk sounded like this. “I have to do this ~ but I can’t! But I have to do this ~ but I can’t!” The torment escalated as performance time approached. When my name was announced, I flipped a switch, went out, and just did it. In my 30’s, I assessed the damage. If I had it to do over again, I would have revealed my limits.
Are others looking to you to do what is humanly impossible? This is the perfect opportunity to make your relationship with them about prayer. There’s nothing more freeing than to say, “I can’t do what you’re asking but God can. Let’s stop and pray about it.” This does two things. 1.) It gives you a chance to say out loud that you’re human. And, 2.) It points them to the One who is the source. It trains them to look up and to pray for themselves. Your freedom from another’s demands requires your willingness to abdicate playing the part of God.
Praying with others, Lord, has given me my freedom but also the joy of bringing them to you for their miracle. And how You’ve loved them! Amen
Journal Question: Your freedom can begin today. What solution to someone’s problem are you feeling the pressure for? Make a plan to meet with them today, even by phone, to direct them to God. Write out your prayer ahead of time so you don’t lose your courage.