The Weight of Burden

“The heaviest burdens we carry are the thoughts in our head.” – Puja Mandal

“None knows the weight of another’s burden.” – George Herbert

“Light burdens carried far become heavy.” – German Proverb

Some things in life are meant to be carried – honorable duty, meaningful responsibilities, heart-felt obligations, and even small children with outstretched arms and helpless looks in their eyes…at least in my book anyway 🙂

But some things in life are never meant to be carried.  Our shoulders aren’t designed to bear the weight of certain burdens, our hearts not meant to be encumbered with a heaviness that is hard to articulate, and our minds overloaded with worry, doubt, and despair.

Yet often without conscious thought or purposeful consideration, we lug them around with us – carrying loads too heavy for any human to handle.

We grip and sink our fingernails into personal hurts and offenses – never wanting to let them go.  We hold on to the pain of rejection, the suffering associated with loss, and the anxiety connected to an uncertain future.

We tightly embrace unforgiveness as if it is some valued commodity.  After all, if we let it go, how can anyone ever be accountable for their injustice or insensitivity?   If we drop it, doesn’t the offender seem to simply walk away unscathed and unharmed?  By holding on to the hurts imposed on us by others, we can become both the judge and the jury – forever condemning the person who has hurt us by giving them a life sentence in the prison of our own minds.

The same can be said of personal mistakes – acts we committed in our past, poor decisions we made that are irreversible, and words we spoke that cannot be taken back.  We sentence ourselves to a life of never letting them go – as if we perform some act of penance by replaying them in our mind and heart over and over again.

Worry is such a heavy burden – the “What ifs?” of life have a weightiness to them all their own.  What if my future plans fall through?  What if my health fails?  What if my spouse finds someone they love more than me?  What if I fail at being a good parent?  What if I have no money to make my dreams a reality?

The Bible tells us to “cast our cares” (Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7), but I have found in my own life that some hurts are deeply embedded inside my heart – not easily plucked out and tossed aside.  Some thoughts have replayed over and over again in my mind – making me feel as if I am programed or brainwashed in an irreversible way.  Some circumstances of life have made the heaviness of worry seem inescapable – as if uncertainty and ambiguity are just a part of my destiny.  The weight of burden can be such an intrinsic part of us that we can’t imagine how we can ever be free of it.

Some people say, “You just need to think more positive!” or “Just forget what happened!” or “You need to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and make things happen!”   Can I say respectfully that people who say this haven’t experienced the weight of burden I’m talking about – a heaviness so permeating that it weakens the soul to the point of collapse.  I have been there along with many, many others and there isn’t enough personal actions or changes of thought patterns that can release or ease the burden.  It’s too much for one person to carry.

Sometimes I think there is an intended design behind the weight of burden.  It’s as if God wants us to realize we can’t possibly do it on our own – that we were never intended to or created to carry certain burdens by ourselves.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 NLT

I have found great comfort in surrender – to simply lay down all that seems humanly impossible to forget, to solve, or to undo.  I’ve realized that certain weights, certain burdens can only be handled by the Divine – and an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God is certainly willing and able to carry them for us.

This can seem a little strange to you, but I imagine laying them down at the foot of the cross.  Often we associate the cross with sanctification, forgiveness, and sacrifice.  But an aspect, an outcome of the Cross that we often forget is about one of mastering, defeating, overpowering, and overcoming.

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 NLT

If you are feeling the heavy, heavy weight of burden today, realize that sometimes it just can’t be humanly carried, reasoned with or solved.  Surrender it to God.  Lay your burden at the foot of the cross.  Release the issue or problem or concern to Him as well as the outcome.  Rest with assurance that He has it all under control my friend 🙂

God bless!

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