How God and Jillian Michaels are alike, kinda.

How God and Jillian Michaels are alike, kinda.

Have you ever thought about how incredibly weak, ignorant, and wimpy we would be if we were never pushed beyond our limits? Muscle building 101 teaches that it’s actually through the breaking of our muscle fibers that they grow back thicker and stronger. I have a few students who, after every new music piece say, “Wow, this one is so hard.” Well, yeah, that’s the point! If you only learned songs that you easily master you would never learn any songs! The first day at most new jobs is incredibly overwhelming, simply because everything is new. But with each passing day you gain more knowledge until you have created routines and processes that make your job manageable if not easy.

Bump, Set, Spike:

I remember being so mad at my volleyball coach in High school, here’s why. I had moved to upstate NY from Michigan when I was in 10th grade. At that point I had been playing team volleyball for 4 years on relatively competitive teams and had developed some skill, I wasn’t amazing, but I played varsity as a 9th grader so I wasn’t horrible either. When I moved to NY the school I attended had a volleyball team, but it was just getting started up. Most of my fellow teammates hadn’t played before so I was one of the more skilled players. During one of the practices we were doing “dig drills” which is when the coach spikes the ball down directly in front of you. Your job is to get down as low as necessary and pop the ball back up in the air (subsequently keeping it off the ground). We all lined up and the girls in front of me got balls hit softly down around their knees, but when I got up, the coach hit the ball hard and straight down, causing me to have to dive in order to pop it back up. I’m not a fan of diving, never have been, never will be. There’s just something about plunging my body onto a cement surface that goes against my better judgement. The first one I missed, and the coach smirked a bit. The second time through I barely made it. By the third time through I was mad. In my frustration I exclaimed, “Why are you picking on me! You barely tap the ball at the other girls but you making me mop the floor trying to get all of these balls!” He looked right at me, smiled and said, “You’re getting harder hits because you can handle them. If you don’t get challenged you will get lazy and you will never get any better than you are, in fact, you’ll probably get worse. I’m not going to let that happen.” I was still mad, but I got the point.

So why, when all of life is created to push us beyond our limits, do we complain to God when we’re pushed beyond our spiritual limits? Why do we assume that God’s goal is our comfort?

This might be contrary to what you’ve heard or believe, but here it is. God’s goal is not our comfort, it is not our happiness, it is not our ease. God’s goal is our being transformed into the image and likeness of His Son, Jesus. For the vast majority of us that doesn’t happen when everything in our life is perfect. When people are loving towards us, there is no place to practice unconditional love. When people treat us well there is no opportunity to practice mercy. When people owe us nothing there is no room for grace. When we have all we want there is no need for patience. When we are healthy there is no need for a Healer. When we have all we need we care little for the Provider. When there is no attack a Protector is unnecessary.

When we are comfortable, we think there is no need for God.

But adversity and problems are both a natural occurring part of life (many times due to our own poor choices or sins) as well as a tool that God uses to make us more like Himself. In my opinion, one of the most misunderstood and as such ignored verses in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Many people who have endured hardship in their life see this verse and say that God has failed them. They feel they have gone through far more than they could bear. But as I read this verse I don’t see a promise that God will only allow situations we are comfortable with. I see a promise that what we go through is similar to the things all of humanity struggles with. I see a loving God who desires our growth and knows our strength even better than we know it ourselves.

I like watching “The Biggest Loser”. As some point, every single contestant gets to the point where they say, “I can’t go on! I can’t do anymore.” And every single time, the trainer says, “Yes you can. Do it!” And every time, they do. A month or two into the show the contestants stop questioning their trainers, they’ve learned to trust that the person telling them they can do something is right.

The vast majority of us have no idea of the strength we posses, and we never will until we are pushed beyond what we think we can do. We wimp out far too early and in doing so miss the joy and accomplishment of being pushed beyond anything we ever imagined. The beauty is that He offers us far more than a “runner’s high” or pride over a well dug volleyball. He offers us the power and strength to be “more than a conqueror” in this life and be one with Himself in the next.

So stop telling God what you can’t do and trust Him when He tells you what you can do.



  1. Loved this!! :-)

  2. AMEN

  3. I second Jane's amen. Great post! I have seen the truth of what you have written in both my life and the lives of those close to me.

  4. Thanks Ladies!