Burdens. Discouragement. Uncertainty. Fears. Hurts. Anger. Anxiety.
Carrying these things is so exhausting. They can weigh us down, or hold us back. It’s honestly overwhelming at times. To the point we feel stuck and can’t seem to move or know what to do next.
There are many things in this life that can bring them into our lives. The truth is, it is hard to avoid them.
And once they get in, it can be easy to let them become what we focus on, which makes them even bigger and more difficult. We begin to see them and focus on them and think about them more, which only accentuates them. When we begin to feel burdened, or discouraged, or hurt, or angry, the danger is to let those come to the forefront of our minds, and that only leads to more of the same as we struggle with them.
Burdens weigh us down, that’s what they do. But when we focus too much on the burdens, they begin to weigh even more. Life has a lot of uncertainty, but when that’s our main focus, that uncertainty becomes so big that we can become afraid to try anything new or believe that hope still exists. When we are angry and allow that anger to grow, it only leads to more anger and even bitterness.
I often battle to not let discouragement or hurts or fears or uncertainty take over and be what my focus is on. I have to work to “take captive every thought” and not allow my mind to make those things my focus.
There are some people in my life who I can share these things with, and they listen and encourage me, and even point me back to focusing on God and striving to keep going or remain faithful. Which is so helpful, and so important too. We all need to have someone…if not more than one someone…we can share things with and talk through things with. So I am so thankful for those friends of mine that I can be totally real and honest with.
However, I also know that I can’t just rely on people. The truth is, people will eventually fail at some point. Someone won’t be there to listen when I need…or they may respond differently than I need or would like in that moment. This doesn’t mean I should never share with others. I absolutely should. We all should.
BUT…I must first be willing to give these things over to God. To open up to him, share with him, and ask him for strength. He will never fail. He always listens. And he always knows exactly what I need at that moment.
God places people in our lives who will help us and be there for us, and that is great! Praise God for people like that! However, they are not to take the place of God. He must still come first.
Today, a good friend of mine shared a song with me that really spoke to my heart. I listened to it over and over on my drive home…and continued to listen at home. As I did, I was reminded of some different verses in scripture and the truth of them.
1 Peter 5:7 – casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Psalm 34:17-18 – When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
These verses remind us that God cares about us and what is causing anxiety, weighing on us, and breaking our heart. And when we are struggling, that’s a great truth to be reminded of!
But today, I saw another truth in all of those verses that I can easily forget. That all of them call us to action. “Casting all your anxieties on him…”, “Come to me…”, “When the righteous cry for help…”. God definitely cares about us and what we are struggling with, but do we actually take those things to him? Or do we sit in them, letting them overwhelm us, and then get upset with God when he doesn’t take them away from us?
Moment of real honesty here: There have been times when I’ve sat there, feeling overwhelmingly discouraged, and just getting more and more upset with God because he wasn’t stepping in and removing what was discouraging me or fixing the situation at that moment. I’d begin to ask him where he is, does he even see or care, has he forgotten or abandoned me? And all the while, slipping more into discouragement as I got more upset with him.
It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t lead to anything better.
However, those times when I have felt overwhelmed, and I took them to God in prayer and gave them to him…I remember having more peace in those moments. No, he didn’t change the situation, and yes I was still struggling with whatever was overwhelming me in that moment. BUT, I also had peace, and I knew God was walking with me through that time…even giving me strength that was beyond myself.
Philippians 4:6-7 – do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
May I remember these truths. Remember to take my struggles to him, rather than sitting in them and letting them overtake me.
You know, it’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to admit that we have burdens, hurts, fears, anxieties…they are a part of living in a fallen and broken world. We just have to make sure we don’t let those things become our world. We need to take them to God, be honest with him about them, and work at giving them to him rather than holding onto them.
It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to admit you are struggling and overwhelmed. It’s ok to have uncertainty. Just don’t let that define you. Don’t let those things become your focus, keep your focus on God. And take those things to him. Even when you’re angry with him. Let him know you are angry, be honest with him about all that you are struggling with…he is big enough to listen, and big enough to love you through all of it.
As we continue to walk the journey of Simply Following Jesus through this broken world, may we continue to fight to keep our eyes on him. May he be our focus, rather than all that we may be struggling with. May we realize it’s ok to admit when we are hurting, or scared, or discouraged…may we not think we have to have it all together.
May we learn to be real and honest about what we are struggling with. And may we learn to give all of it over to God. One day at a time.
Song my friend shared with me…