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the burdens

(just have to give a shoutout to my boy Manning for winning the Super Bowl again last night.  When he retires I think I’m going to cry.  Just saying ;) )

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I remember a time in my life when I thirsted for God like a man in the desert thirsts for water.  I devoured my Bible like it was the only thing that mattered, and church was something that I looked forward to every week…no matter how boring the sermons were.  But as the months and years rolled by I lost that spark and sunk into the apathy that the majority of the world lives their lives submerged in.

I stopped dreaming; I stopped looking for the silver linings.  Parts of me that I once treasured so dearly were forgotten and shoved into a box because hope deferred makes the heart sick (proverbs 13:12), and I couldn’t handle the disappointment anymore.  I settled.  I settled for an apathetic existence where I paid lip service to the things that mattered and turned a blind eye to the causes that once stirred my heart to action.  I wouldn’t allow myself to feel, because if I did that I wasn’t sure I would survive it, and if I’m being honest, I still ask myself that very question.

There are so many hurts and wounds and pains from so many different experiences in my life, and very few of them, if any, have actually been dealt with.  What if, when I open the door to that closet that I have shoved all of my hopes and fears into, they all crash out at once and I can’t handle the downpour?  What if I do something stupid because I am just so overwhelmed?

All of these what ifs? run through my mind, and the truth of the matter is, if I do this on my own I will be overwhelmed.  I will fall apart at the seams because I can not carry these burdens on my own.  can not handle the pain and heartache on my own.  I can not deal with the crushing disappointment I feel as I look at all of the hopes and dreams that have gone unfulfilled.  I was not made to handle these burdens, but there is one who can carry our load.  One who can pick us up off of the ground and brush our shoulders off.  And his name is Jesus Christ.

When life threatens to drag us under, he’s there to pull us up.  When we don’t know which direction to take, he’s there leading the way.  He will never leave us nor forsake us (deuteronomy 31:6), and with him, all things are possible (matthew 19:26).  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (galatians 2:20).  We were not created to hold these burdens, yet we continue to shoulder them ourselves because we refuse to hand them off to the one who can actually carry them.

Our stubborn pride and human nature say we can do this ourself, we don’t need any help and we refuse to be vulnerable.  We refuse to say that we can’t do it on our own.  When the fact of the matter is, we can’t hack it on our own.  Without him, we will fail.  We will continue to shuffle through life with our noses to the grindstones and we will never be free of the crushing burdens we carry.  Forever following us will be the heaps of trash and emotional baggage we’ve acquired throughout this life we have lived, and is that a life worth living?

Is a life of constant, meaningless struggles a life worth living?

When I ask myself that question, my soul screams out a resounding No.  Yet I continue to hold fast to all of the garbage and pain surrounding me.  Fear and pride hold me captive.  My body and very being are tired, bone-crushingly tired of this fight I’ve fought my whole life, yet I can’t let go of the very things holding me back.  I refuse to drop my rags to grab onto the clean, white robe held out to me, even while my soul screams out to take it, to let go of the things of this world.

But I hear this voice now.  I hear the screaming of my soul to Let go and take the hand and robe that are being held out to me, and for so long, I didn’t hear this cry.  Each day I grow closer to crawling out from under the pile of garbage I have lugged around with me, and every day I lose another piece of the filth surrounding me.  And maybe, one day I will be free of the baggage, of the pain, of the disappointment.  Maybe one day, I will feel again.

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