I’ll warn you up front that my title is a trick question. The obvious thing for me to write about when it comes to burden carrying is the way Christ will carry our burdens for us, if we’ll just ask Him. So, I’m not going to talk about the obvious. Let’s get real about burdens and how most of us unenlightened creatures cope with the day-to-day ones.
It’s more likely that we go down on our knees and offer up to God the things that knock us off our feet–death, major illness, total disasters–but what do you do with the burdens that you face every day, the burdens that we carry like a backpack every moment, from making sure food is on the table to helping out a neighbor in need?
We’re being honest here, so we have to honestly say what happens with the things we carry. Some of us swallow our burdens, trying to do everything on our list without asking for or even knowing when we actually need help. We fail often, and we subconsciously hate ourselves for failing. But we continue to stuff our backpacks to overflowing with our to-do lists and “shoulds” and guilt burdens.
Or maybe you’re of the variety who likes to share your burdens, not in a healthy, “we’re all in this together” kind of way, but in a defeatist or entitled posture that posits that you are either incapable of managing your own life or else the world at large somehow owes you homage. Your backpack is heavy with the manipulations and self-delusions that enable you to put yourself above others by getting them to do things for you that you really are capable of doing for yourself.
Because you are human and must work at living a life that bears fruit, you are bound to stumble. So, your burdens include all the emotions that go with being human–anger, lust, jealousy, judgment–all roiling around in your backpack like a pot perilously close to boiling over. Whenever your backpack becomes too heavy, if you aren’t doing your Spirit work, you’ll unzip your closure just enough to expel some of those roiling emotions, weighing down the backs of those closest to you with your excess. Or perhaps you’ll just dump it on an unsuspecting stranger.
Christ said that His yoke was light because when you grasp the concept that every morning is new with Him, you throw off the weight of legalism and look straight into your heart. Taking on the burden of the fruit of the Spirit means a lighter backpack. Love, joy, peace, faithfulness–these qualities are much lighter than the pain and crazy that we carry when we don’t let Jesus’ hand hold up our burdens.
So, how do we lighten the loads that we carry? Through prayer. Through knowing what the Bible says. Through observing our daily existence. When we feel the things we carry weighing us down, we have to practice taking them to the One who can truly carry them for us. Only through communication with Christ and His word do we really realize the fruitful existence we can enjoy with fellow believers.
No matter the things you carry, you can lighten the load starting today. Instead of barking at your spouse or kids, pray for patience. And if you must scream, scream at Jesus. He has the broad shoulders to carry your doubt and worry and fear. If you doubt it, read your Psalms for examples of other believers that brought everything to God, and were better for it.