Monday 5 May 2014

I can't do all things...

There is a Bible verse that has been appearing in my Facebook newsfeed quite a bit lately:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

There are also dozens of quotes about being a 'Supermum' and 'having it all'.

Many of the people who talk about the above verse say that as long as our faith is strong enough we can do anything and everything... many have different points as well, but the general feeling that comes across is that we can do EVERYTHING.

Doing it all is a pretty hard thing to live up to.

In September last year, my then nine year old came down with glandular fever. He was very, very sick for a week and didn't bounce back the way the doctors assured us he would, and he is still struggling. The result of this was that many of the balls I was juggling were dropped.

I had to take an extended break from work, writing was pushed aside, I stopped contributing to this blog, and a number of other things had to take second, third or even last place to the priority of looking after a very sick nine year old.

One of the biggest lessons is that I CAN'T do all things - both as a Mum and as a writer - at least, not all at the same time. There are times when writing and editing need to be put aside for other things, and there are times when those other things are put aside in favour of writing and editing.

The other lesson I've learned is to trust in Christ and lean on his strength. This is a lesson I keep on learning.

To me, the verse above isn't about doing everything or having it all, it's more about relying on the strength of Christ to do the things that need to be done.

There are other lessons I've learned during this time too, but these are two of the big ones.

Melissa Gijsbers lives in Melbourne and writes in between working as a bookkeeper and being the mother of two active boys. In August 2013, she had 3 fractured fairy tales published in Teapot Tales: a unique collection of fairy tales. She has also had Christmas stories published in Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World, and Tales by the Tree: An anthology of Christmas Flash Fiction. Follow her writing journey at


  1. Hi Melissa - Thanks for that post. I can relate to that feeling of juggling too many balls at once and not being able to keep them all in the air. It can be frustrating when one or more of the balls has to be put down. I really appreciate your insights about recognising we can't do it all and have to reply on Christ. It's a lesson I too have to keep learning. A few years ago, I enrolled in a Graduate Diploma of Creative Writing which I loved. After completing only two of the eight subjects, God told me to take a year off. Taking a year off wasn't in the plan. I wanted to keep going, but I very reluctantly laid it down. Of course God knew best because not long after that, some extra work came my way and I wouldn't have had time to do both. My father also had a stroke and I needed to help my parents out more. (He made a wonderful recovery thankfully). If I'd ploughed ahead because I wanted to keep the balls in the air, it would have been awful. I've now finished that Grad Dip, so it all worked out in God's timing. Thanks for sharing and I hope your son continues to improve.

  2. Thanks, Melissa, for your insights on this verse, which I'm sure means doing everything God has for us to do at a particular time and not everything we think we should be doing. Also, I found I used to compare myself to others, who seemed to manage to fit a lot more into their lives than I could. But we're all different, so I'm glad you were able to put some things aside for a time and say no to them. God bless--and may your son soon be feeling much better too.

  3. Thanks Melissa - Philippians 4:13 is one of my favourite verses of scripture. It's one that I am constantly reminded of especially when being pressured to do something that will only overload an already busy schedule. As strong as we may think we are, we need to find time to rest and refresh ourselves - a lesson I need to remember after seeing a couple of friends crash and burn out bit time. God gives us the strength even to lay aside certain things to allow us to prioritise the things that need to be taken care of at a particular time and isn't it wonderful that He also provides us the strength and time to complete the other tasks in His time.

  4. Hi Melissa,
    I completely agree. We have to prioritise and I'm sure your heart told you that you chose wisely. We are all different and personally, I find that what constitutes an easy-moderate load for some becomes a heavy one for me. There are so many balls we can juggle, and if we look as if we can handle them all, people will keep offering us more :)

  5. Great post Melissa. We do need to be careful not to take verses out of context. I laid aside a long held dream in which I had worked hard and long to complete my ThD and continue as a lecturer because my son needed me to be home at that time. I don't regret making that decision for my child though I did grieve deeply the loss & also, once I stopped pressing forward, felt all the fallout of burnt out as well as other stuff happening. It stretched my faith in God to the limit. Yet he didn't give up on me and rekindled another, older dream - of writing. I like your insight that we can't have it all - or at least not all at the same time. There are times and seasons. And God is wiser and can see further ahead & deeper into our hearts than we can.

  6. Thanks Melissa for that very enlightening post. I have to agree with you. We can't do it all. Not always. Not ever. (Perhaps very very occasionally!) :) I love how you shared with us that sometimes all the balls we juggle drop and we have to scramble around picking them up.

    I think the thrust of that verse is that we need God to help us do anything - even those things we think we can do on our own strength. Praise God that His strength is always available to us when we call.

  7. Aah, lovely honest, down to earth, real life post, Melissa. I find it's so easy to fall into the trap of feeling guilty if you can't "do it all."
    It's good to know God has our lives planned and I just have to learn to wait on Him.
    I do hope your young fellow regains his health soon, Melissa.
    A big cyber hug!

  8. Great post Melissa. Good to be reminded that I can do all things - including letting go of the things I cannot do - through Christ who gives me strength. This was brought home to me recently as I sorted and discarded a whole heap of study notes, completed assignments and assorted paperwork from my past Christian ministry studies. When that door closed, I couldn't understand God's plan, couldn't understand how I had 'got the direction so wrong' and I was filled with grief. The healing has been a slow, but (praise God) steady process - sorting that paperwork was a necessary step but it brought the disappointments flooding back. I was reluctant to throw away the things that represented so much time and effort. But once the paper-filled wheelie bin had been emptied, I began to feel a lightness of spirit and increased strength for the tasks at hand today. What you have shared is very true and very liberating.