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Not My Burden

Photo by Rajdeep Mitra on Unsplash

I was nervous. Scared maybe? What would this do to them? They are all either going to be angry with me or they are going to be more sad and hurt than I can take. 

“I’m no better than anyone else.” – my thoughts took jabs at me. 

This is going to hurt them all so much. Will they even be able to forgive me? Worse yet, will they condemn me and tell me all the ways I’m wrong? 

I’ve put so much time and energy into this – so much thought and study and prayer and conversations with people wiser than me. By this point, I was more broken and despairing than I could have imagined possible. 

I had planned what I would say. 

What was it I was going to say again? My mind couldn’t focus. 

This wasn’t anxiety (I don’t think), but it was stress sure enough. I was willing to be told I was wrong, but then what do I do with everything I’ve learned and discovered the past few weeks? Am I going crazy? My mind raced with the “what if’s”, trying to figure out all the possible, only terrible ways this conversation could go. 

“I am such a terrible person”, I repeated only to myself because the shame I felt kept the sound tight inside. 

I mean who did I think I was leading any Bible study groups? I shouldn’t have ever tried to counsel, or comfort, or guide, or teach, or even pray for anyone – especially not my own siblings. 

“What a stupid, prideful, terrible person I’d been”, that inner voice repeated again. One thing I knew for sure: I deserved whatever rejection or lecture was about to come.

If only I could figure out how to keep everyone happy and also fix this whole situation. I mean, this is insane! Especially for me! I am a “good Christian”. 

Father, God, I don’t deserve grace or mercy. I have judged people in my own mind – you’ve seen it. And now here I am, no better. I only deserve to be rejected. But I don’t want people to be sad because of me. If I say these things, if I think about this path, I am going to make so many people so sad and angry and hurt, not the least of which are ones I hold most dear. How do I save everyone from all this hurt… and still address the truth of what I’m struggling with? I asked for counseling – but was told “You don’t need that.” 

I was feeling the weight of these past many years of trying, and being tirelessly “good”. I’d recently been told, through tears, that I had made it harder on someone else to live up to being “good” because someone else was comparing them to me. Ouch! 

No matter what I do, I can’t make anyone happy. I can’t save anyone. It’s not getting better and I’m not helping. And this sadness is so very heavy, I can’t escape it’s iron grip. I’ve been carrying this for so long, maybe if I tell them, they can at least help me, or tell me how to get better. I just wish it wasn’t going to make them sad or (even worse) disappointed with me. How can I do this to them? I can’t do this! Maybe they won’t call and I can just buck up again, a little more, one more time. I’m supposed to be tough. I surround myself with strong women and I am not one to give up. That’s what this will look like to them – giving up. This isn’t protecting them. This will disappoint and hurt them, and it will all be my fault.

I felt the gentle touch of the Father’s hand on my shoulder. I didn’t even have to see to know who it was. His gentle hand has the same tenderness as His voice I knew so well.

 “Why do you think you can make people happy, dear one? You don’t have that kind of power. This is why you have been struggling. This weight is not yours to carry. 

I have not rejected you. 

Trust me to deliver you and them, and to bring joy and peace. You are my precious daughter, whom I delight in. This is not what defines you. Your sin is a weight, yes, but carrying it or avoiding it is not what makes you lovely or loveable. I have made you both. 

I do love you. 

Remember, I knew all of this before you understood how to speak, and I still gave my Son to be the perfect sacrifice for you so that you would know: 

You are not the One who judges peoples’ righteousness, not even your own. 

You are not the One who saves people from trouble, not even yourself. 

When the world has many trials, there is One who overcomes all those troubles and carries you (and those you love) through them. 

I have created all these people you care about, just as I have created you. I will care for you (and them) through it all. 

There will be times when things will be hard, but I AM here. 

There will be times that you will have tears and questions, but I AM the answer, and I AM the One who will wipe away your tears. 

There will be times you will feel weak, but no longer will you be oppressed because I AM your Strength and Salvation. 

And this time, right now, 

I AM the words you need, 

the strength you lack, 

the wisdom you seek, 

and I AM with you. 

Do not put these burdens on yourself my dear child. Give them to me, little one. I have a much easier thing for you to carry. The burden of saving others from grief, this is not yours to carry. I AM able to carry all of this, and you. Climb into my arms, they are strong enough for you and all this weight. You don’t need to put this on yourself any longer, truly you never needed to, and now that you are aware of these things, you can simply give them to me. I AM going to help you remember to keep putting the boulders of people-pleasing actions into my hands. All you need to do is be the incredible daughter I created, and rest. 

Breathe out and let the weight go. Breathe in the life that I have created in you, and rest dear one.”