Burdens are too much to bear alone

Sometimes the burdens in life are just too much, you know what I mean? Life can be exhausting, discouraging, and just plain awful at times. And it seems to love getting your hopes up only to stand back and watch your plans turn to dust. How do you cope when life throws you curve balls like that?

Well, the Bible has a lot of answers for how to survive (and even thrive) in the midst of life’s dirty little tricks, but the one that first comes to mind for me is that Christ-followers are supposed to help carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). God doesn’t expect us to struggle through life on our own. He put us on this planet surrounded by other people so we wouldn’t be alone, especially when our lives turn upside down.

Share the load

Instagram Burdens are too muchEveryone has burdens. Maybe you don’t think you do, but you do. We’re born with them. Some of us are born with more than others, and as we grow older, we accumulate more and more with every passing day. Health problems. Family issues. Job trouble. Impossible deadlines. Crushed dreams. Crazy kids. Insane in-laws. Lazy spouse. Nagging wife. Whiny kids. Name the thing that’s causing all your gray hair today, and I can almost guarantee it’s something that would fit in the burden category of your life.

Not all our burdens look alike, but we all have them. And the simple truth about our burdens is that we were never meant to carry their weight alone. The weight of our worries and troubles and fears is too much for us to bear without help.

So why are you trying? Why do you feel guilty when you ask for help? Why do you feel shame when you realize you can’t do it by yourself? You shouldn’t. God didn’t make you a pack horse for emotional trauma. It’s not your job to haul all that hurt and fear around on your own strength. So knock it off. Ask for help. And don’t be afraid of accepting it either.

But accepting help—and even offering help—is one part of the process.

Hand it over together

But what do you do when your fellow Christ-followers are worn out and beaten down with their own cares? If that’s the case, my wonderful supportive friends, I have to tell you that you’re doing it wrong. And believe me, I’m talking to myself here too.

I’m a fixer. I like to give people answers and help them understand how and why things happen. I want to do something to help, and usually that starts with me trying to solve their problem for them. I take their problems on my own shoulders. I feel their anxiety and despair and fear. And somewhere in my frazzled brain, I tell myself I’m helping, because at least they don’t have to suffer alone.

But I’m only making it worse. By taking their problems on my own shoulders, I blind myself to my own purpose. I’m not there to help them carry their burden; I’m there to help them carry it to God.

Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the LordGod didn’t make us to spend our days worrying and fretting over everything that’s wrong or everything that will go wrong. That’s not the way He wants us to live. And even though we’re supposed to help each other carry our burdens, we’re still not supposed to carry them in our own strength (Psalm 55:22).

God has promised to give us strength, to uphold us and sustain us. His power is right at our fingertips, free for the asking, yet we still convince ourselves that our troubles and worries are our own problems. And that’s not true.

God cares

He knows what you’re going through and how scared, uncertain, insecure you are. He understands that you feel like you’ll never measure up. And He gets that you’re afraid to ask for help because you don’t want to seem weak. But if you care for someone, it doesn’t matter what they need or how many times they need it.

God cares about you (1 Peter 5:7), and He is standing ready to help you carry all those things that are weighing you down.

Give your burdens to the Lord, and you Christians who are helping your brothers and sisters carry their burdens, remember that you’re supposed to be carrying them to God—not shouldering the load yourself.

Waterfalls at Glen Eyrie

Carrying your own weight

Why do people feel like they have to carry their troubles around by themselves? Maybe I shouldn’t say people. Maybe I should only refer to myself because that’s one of my tendencies.

I know my issues, and I know what I struggle with, and I don’t want to weigh anyone else down. So I don’t share, and I keep all the weight on my own shoulders. Some of the time, I’ll share it with God, but I don’t think that’s what God has in mind.

Waterfalls at Glen Eyrie

Waterfalls at Glen Eyrie - Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verse is Psalm 55:22.

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

As always, I’m very thankful for other translations to be able to compare other perspectives on what this verse is saying. I usually consult the Message if I want a broad overview of the concept, but when I want a detailed look at the word meanings and connotations, I use the Amplified Version. And the Amplified Version for this verse is a little different:

Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail).

When I give my burdens to someone, I plan on taking them back. That’s just me. I don’t expect other people to carry my weight. Even as a young kid, if I packed too much I refused to let anyone help me carry it because it was my responsibility. And if I ever did need help, it was only temporary. That’s what giving my burdens means to me. It’s more like sharing my burdens, accepting help to get me through a rough patch and then taking them back when I’m strong enough to go it alone again.

But that isn’t the concept or the meaning of this verse. God doesn’t want to share the load; He wants to take all of it. God doesn’t want to help me carry my problems, He wants me to let go of them completely and trust that He’s strong enough to take care of them.

See that parenthetical expression?Releasing the weight of it. To release the weight of something, you have to let go of it. You have to take your hands off it.

That’s hard for me. Not initially. I don’t have a problem trusting God with something for a few hours. Maybe a day, tops. But after a day passes? My first inclination is to take it back. Can I do anything? No. Can I change anything? No. Can I speed up the process? No. But I’m a control freak, and I can worry about it. Is that healthy? No. But I do it anyway.

I don’t mind sharing the load with God, as long as He lets me carry my own weight.

Isn’t that silly? I mean, think about that. Yes, I’m an independent person, but thinking that I can handle life on my own is foolish. And proud. Because if I let someone else handle my problems, that only demonstrates that I’m weak, that I can’t manage on my own, that I’m a failure. Anyone else ever feel like that?

Well, the news is that none of us can handle life on our own. Some of us are just better at convincing ourselves that we can.

God wants to take the whole weight of our issues. He’s strong enough to handle them and to keep us on our feet at the same time. Carrying our own weight is fine. If we want to try it, God will let us. He isn’t going to force us to accept His offer. And, yes, there are times when we do need to carry certain responsibilities to grow. But most of the anxieties that weigh us down are things that we can’t change. So why drag them around when they’re dragging us down? Why struggle under the weight when Someone with unlimited strength has offered to set us free?