life, My Faith

Stop lifting heavy

I was reading the other day in a study I was doing and they tend to use versions of the Bible I don’t frequent. I read the above verse and I jotted it down because it didn’t sit with me well. Not the verse itself; it’s one I love. But the notion that God only gives light burdens?

I wasn’t so sure. I mean my burdens then (and now) feel heavy, really really heavy. I’m not even sure I’m physically capable of picking them up anymore…heavy.

So I didn’t do anything with it. I just wrote it down and I’ve been periodically mulling it over in my overworked brain (mostly overworked cuz I overworked it). But today, I had some thoughts about it that I could articulate and in true my blog fashion, I only stop radio silence when I feel like I have something legitimate to say.

This blog was started for me and continues largely for me. Sometimes when the Facebook memories bring back a link from over the years, I preach to myself from the past. Today in fact, I wonder at what I thought I was called to do 3 years ago and I wonder if I still am as I’m sure I probably didn’t do it. But also past me was real vague and present me doesn’t know what the thing was. But there’s even hope in that place, the place where I felt called to something, the place where I wasn’t too broken to be used.

Anyway…that was a rabbit trail. Back to the verse. What I’ve come up with today, sitting on a towel on the bank of the river before it gets unnecessarily hot later is the meat of that verse. It’s talking about getting yoked up with God. The cool thing about a yoke and physics and all the things I’m not smart enough to talk about is that it shares the load. A load too heavy for one person (or beast) can be split between two and the work becomes doable.

It’s not, I think, that my burdens are light. They aren’t. It’s that God is asking me to let him carry part of the load. He asks me to yoke up because he’s stronger than I am.

He will, however, let me unyoke and give it a try alone. I imagine he probably stands there and sadly shakes his head as I don’t get far, knowing I’ll probably be back, and wondering how long he’s gonna have to wait for me this time. Maybe he’s an ox and I’m a mule. He’s always going to be stronger than me, but my stubbornness is always gonna send me out kicking in futility toward something stupid until I either calm down or tire out.

“I only give you light burdens” because he knows what I can handle. I’m the one that gets confused and tries to show strength I don’t have and prove I can pick up the heavy things, which I can’t, and I either go nowhere, drop them or get hurt in the process. And I imagine he just shakes his head and waits for me to surrender yet again.

I do that in real life too. I grew up in a house with boys and I always wanted to prove that just because I was a girl didn’t make me less than them. So all my life I’ve tried to prove I was better, stronger, kinder, all the things. Even today, not being around them much, I will still pick up something I know is too heavy for me, just to prove I can. (For example, I moved a refrigerator by myself the other day at work. There were people who could help. But I just did it. People looked at me weird. Cuz what girl in a dress picks up a small refrigerator. Well, this one. And she needed Tylenol afterward.)

So maybe the point is when the burdens I’m carrying feel to heavy, it’s because they are. It’s a sign that they aren’t mine to try to carry, at least not alone. There’s no award for lifting heavy in life, except pain. So my mule heart needs to get back in the yoke and quit trying to prove that I can do everything alone, when my track record suggests otherwise.

The heavy burdens, those aren’t the ones he’s asking me to carry. Those are the ones he’s asking me to surrender and let him take. He’s stronger than I am. Especially now, when I’ve lost physical and metaphorical muscle in the last battle and I need to train to get both back. If I try to pick it up and it feels too heavy, it’s a sign I need to get back in the yoke because that one isn’t for me to carry.

I was reminded this week that I need to just concentrate on what I do well and leave the rest alone. I need to learn to trust God to handle it, but it’s something I don’t know how to do yet. So as I sit here trying to release everything and everyone to him, I know that I’ll still try to life heavy. It’s in my nature to prove I’m a tough girl, but I also pray that he reminds me when it’s too much, to put it back down and give it to him. It’s ok to lift light. I don’t have to prove anything.

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