Whenever we drive somewhere (which is very frequently with all the school drop-offs and pick-ups), my kids want to take a toy in the car. And by "a toy" I mean an armload of toys. They choose what they want to bring (for Nora it's typically her soft blanket, her baby turtle, and at least one other random toy). Then they stare at the closed car door and look up at me blankly as they clutch their treasures. I bark orders to get in and get buckled so we can make it to destination X in time.
The problem is that their arms are so full of what they thought they would certainly need for the five-minute journey that they can't open the car door, can't climb in their seats, and definitely can't buckle their seat belts. I have to intervene in order to get the job done to stay on schedule. And we do the same dance in reverse when we return home and I'm standing with the door open waiting for them to unbuckle and come in the house.
It's a daily (make that multiple times per day) frustration.
And yet here I am. I stand before God, looking up at him blankly, unable to move in any direction with the burden I'm carrying. I indignantly declare that my load is obviously too much for me to carry. Sure, I wanted most of it. But he should have seen that the total weight would be too much for me.
For as long as I can remember, my favorite Bible verse has been Matthew 11:28. "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Somehow, at this moment in my life, even my go-to verse isn't pushing me to a change of heart and attitude.
So God brought me a new passage. Several times. From several sources.
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10I'm still figuring out how to apply what God's saying to me. How do I stop carrying my burden when I still have to carry out its implications?
God had already whispered to me about "My grace is sufficient for you." I was still trying to figure out how to let that be true for me. And then when I read these verses again this morning in my daily devotions, I was more impacted by verse 10. It's describing me.
I feel incredibly weak. My emotions and mental resources are tapped out. I am tired down to my bones, as if my emotional exhaustion gave birth to physical exhaustion. I most certainly feel weak in my ability to carry out my given roles: friend, daughter, sister, Sunday school teacher, and most especially...mother.
I feel the sting of insults, both real and perceived. The judgment I feel toward myself has become a filter through which everyone else's comments and expressions pass. Some have made overt comments that left me feeling insulted. And some made an ambiguous face or a harmless comment that I internalized as criticism.
Hardships and difficulties are great descriptors of what I'm feeling right now. Yes, in my lucid moments, I realize that other people are going through much more difficult times than I am. I know that I should be thankful for what I have and stop thinking that I'm the only person navigating through difficulties and hardships.
But these verses say that I should delight in these things because they give God room to show his strength. I understand that if I could carry my load easily by myself, I wouldn't need God's help. If my life was easy, I wouldn't recognize my deep need for my relationship with Him. It's just that sometimes my self-pity talks louder than my faith.
So maybe I need to hand over my load, climb in, and get buckled. I need to obey what he's telling me to do and trust that he'll bring along whatever I truly need for the journey. It's funny to me that I think not carrying my burdens is harder than carrying them.
I'm still working on this. I made the bold choice to write about it even though I can't wrap it up nicely and finish by sharing how wise I am and how I let God change me. But at least I haven't given up the battle.
I think he's given me the tools I need, and I just have to choose if I'd rather stand stagnant grasping my load or hand it over and see where God wants to take me.
|Free printable from A Step In the Journey|