The Burdens We Carry
Are you exhausted?
Life feels burdened, not just in our culture or country, but in our world. Recently I realized that I have been waking up most mornings with heaviness in my heart. There was a dread and anxiety that followed me into the day. At times that heaviness lifted, but other times it pressed upon me until I could hardly function.
I was worried about many things, most were real concerns, but fear had taken over where trust had once resided. I became aware of the increasing lack of margin in my life, and anxiety pressed in on all sides.
The Simple Definition of Anxiety
: fear or nervousness about what might happen
Because I felt like my circumstances were so outside of my control, I started to regulate and manipulate my surroundings. I felt as if I could get all my ducks in a row, I would be able to control the nagging anxiety that burdened me. This flawed thinking led me to rely on what I call circumstantial peace. When everything lined up the way I wanted it to, I could experience the peace I desired.
Well, you know where this is going. First of all, it is extremely rare for everything to line up the way I want it to all the time. So, I was constantly setting myself up for disappointment and more anxiety. I looked up some synonyms of anxiety. I found myself in many of these descriptive words.
Afraid, Agitated, Edgy, Fearful, Nervous, Uptight, Choked, Dreading, Unquiet,
As I looked at those words, and a fight rose up in my heart. I would never have wanted those words to define me.
Because I am such a visual person, I began to picture the pressures I felt as burdens or rocks of different sizes. God had given me a certain number of rocks and the capacity to carry them, but as I walked along, I began picking up other rocks, burdens He never designed me to carry.
I picked up rocks of the people-pleasing nature. Maybe I gathered them because I wanted significance or friendship, or maybe just out of the desire to be helpful.
Loading up on rocks of expectation. Sometimes my expectations of who I thought I should be, or because of the expectations of others. Maybe my expectations of how my loved ones should live or over the choices they made.
Then I piled on the albatross of things that I should let go of, but had emotional ties to and didn't want to go through the painful mental process of letting them go.
I threw in rocks of perceived security. Thinking that if I could acquire a big chunk of money to pay all the debt and bills, maybe then I could sock away something for retirement and would feel safe. I was weary and craving rest, but I kept stumbling along, carrying the burdens I wasn't meant to bear.
How did I get here after God had victoriously picked me up and carried me through the darkest, hardest days of my life? How did I get to this place?
Are you feeling the same way? Are the burdens of life driving you to the point of exhaustion?
The amplified version of the bible says it this way in Isaiah 55:22
"Cast your burden on the Lord [release it], and He will sustain and uphold you"
I love the added words. Release it.
I decided to look up the antonyms/opposite of anxiety.
Bold, Brave, Calm, Confident, Courageous, Happy, Unafraid, Unfearful, Content, Peaceful, Tranquil
Aren't those beautiful words? Allow them to become more than words, soaking into your very soul.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
This sound mind is not something we conjure up on our own power. This is not some rose-colored glasses theology. God gives us power, love, and a sound mind - even amid a troubled world.
I do not deny that there are stressful situations. There are sick children, bills to pay, loss, and grief. There is a real pandemic, culture crisis, and division in our country. We don't just simply wish that away or fix it in our own strength.
However, can let the weary load of burdens consume us, which weighs us down further and renders us useless; Or we can choose to RELEASE those burdens to God.
I am so thankful that God is so patient with me. He doesn't throw his hands up in the air and say - Haven't I already taught you this stuff? Why don't you ever retain anything?! He gently teaches me by giving me reminders of how he wants me to live. He wants me to live free.
So, we must first ask ourselves the question? "Is this mine to do?" Believe it or not, we are not called to carry or fix everything. There are specific responsibilities God has asked us to carry, but even those He gives us the strength to bear. Not only that, He carries us.
"Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, our savior!. For each day He carries us in His arms."
What is the thing that is weighing you down and causing you to be weary? Sweet friend, it's time to release those burdens you were not designed to bear. Allow God to carry you in His arms.