I would be lying if I said I never felt like I was in over my head. It would be untrue for me to say I have it all worked out and everything just flows perfectly. Who can? I mean really. It would not be accurate to report that I balance my family and the church perfectly, or that all my relationships are 100 % healthy all the time, or even that I have the ideal schedule figured out. But it is absolutly the truth, and a necessary one to speak, that there are just days when I feel like I am in over my head.
You may relate to such a day. You know? The day where nothing seems to go right . . . when you are late to everything . . . when your shirt is stained with something that you don’t even remember eating, touching, or coming near . . . when your kids seem to do nothing but whine and cry over nothing all day . . . when your patience disingrates by the minute . . . and when at 9am you are cruelly taunted by the idea of sitting on the couch with a glass of wine, watching a non-cartoon tv show, because this means the kids are in bed, your meetings are finished, and you get to try all over again tomorrow (hint hint: to do things better).
In over your head. I feel that it might be safe to say we have all been there (and we will be there again).
Nehemiah was there. He was a cup bearer to the King. He prayed for God that the king would show him favor in allowing him to return to Judah to rebuild the city. Scripture says, “the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on [Nehemiah].” (2:8b) So he went to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall.
He was totally in over his head, rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem as his enemies surrounded him and were “scheming to harm him” (Nehemiah 6:2b). As if the external threats were not enough, Nehemiah was confronted with internal problems as people grew weary, tired, and discouraged. But the wall had to be rebuilt to fully restore Israel, as they needed protection from such enemies. God had placed this on Nehemiah’s plate. It was his mission.
And he was in over his head.
They were all trying to frighten [them], thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”
But [he] prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
When Nehemiah’s hands were weak he prayed for God to strengthen them. He needed his hands strengthened to finish the wall, and God did so, to complete the mission of God. He was in over his head, but thankfully not in over God’s. And guess what?
When all [their] enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of [their] God.
Nehemiah was in over his head. But he was not their alone. He was there with God, because God called him in over his head . . . securely in His hands.
God then provided the strength needed to build the wall, the protection necessary to keep him and his people safe from their enemies, and the endurance to finish the mission.
Being in over my head can be a good thing. It can be a bad thing too. If I am cramming my schedule so full and trying to do too much, if I am overwhelmed because I am busying up my schedule, taking on things to make myself feel important, etc. . . . then I am in over my head because I have put myself there. This is bad.
But if I am in over my head because God has called me to to trust him, and intends to bring glory to His Name through it, then it is a beautiful thing. It means I am in over my head, beautifully in the hands of God.
We call this walking on water or trusting God. It means standing out in the waves of the ocean trusting that God has called us right to that place and will then provide for our safety while completing His mission through us.
So to be clear: I am not talking about taking on so many things that I feel overwhelmed, or like I am drowning in water over my head. But instead, I am talking about that one thing that places us amidst the dangerous waves, in the middle of the ocean, all while positioning us in the protective hands of God. This position brings attention to God, not me. It places me in His hands.
But it means I am in over my head.
So go for it, dive in over your head . . . beautifully in over your head! Step out in trust, but only if you are stepping out because God has asked you to do so.
Get in over your head, and right in to the hands of God.
Check out this youtube video. It is a song called “in over my head” by Jenn Johnson (Bethel).