You know the feeling, but call it different things:
The weight of the world on your shoulders
Sometimes even described as depressed
I’ve learned that every time this happens, it is a good idea to face it, name it, and kick it out, if need be. But then I heard another whisper.
“Sometimes the weight is a good thing.”
“What? How can that be? It feels so .... heavy!” I said back. Then I started considering all the types of weight. Here is my list:
1. Baggage. We carry around baggage from our past. Our negativity. Our untamed thoughts. Our not-yet-like-Jesus stuff. You know the STUFF. What is the answer to this? Exchange it for Jesus’ set of luggage. Give Him yours, and He will give you back freedom: Matthew 11:28-30 says “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
2. Fruit. I saw this in my garden. It had been raining for days so I was unable to inspect my plants. On the first good day, I went out only to see my tomato plants lying over on the ground. I was dismayed until I looked closer. They were loaded with green tomatoes!! I’m sure they felt heavy in that moment. So what do we do when we have been working hard and we feel heavy? It could be we are heavy with unripe fruit. We must wait. John 15:16: “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives to you.” James 5:7-8 says: “Meanwhile, friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.”
3. Sin. Sometimes our own sin weighs us down. Sometimes we feel far from God. What do we do? Consider the last instruction He gave you, do that, and then you will be amazed how quickly and easily you’re suddenly back in His presence. Doing things our own stubborn ways causes us to leave Him. We miss the target. That’s sin. “I’ve lost twenty pounds in two months because of your accusation. My bones are brittle as dry sticks because of my sin. I’m swamped by my bad behavior, collapsed under gunnysacks of guilt.”
4. His Presence. Sometimes being in His presence feels weighty and the only reaction we can have is to fall at His feet. “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” Revelation 1:17 NIV
5. Carrying too much. Sometimes we just carry worries that we shouldn’t carry. They could be from watching the news, or hearing about the health issue of a friend, or being concerned about the life trajectory of a family member. What do we do? The Bible tells us in Lamentations: “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.”
Lamentations 3:28-30 MSG 6. Another’s Burden. Sometimes we feel heavy because God is telling us to help another with their burden. Sometimes we are simply to provide our presence, comfort and strength when another person is carrying a load.
7. Discipline. I was reminded of one final “weighty” matter when I picked up some dumbbells to do some light weight lifting. Sometimes discipline is hard. We sometimes have to follow a course of training that we’d rather not do. That’s the time we must pick up the “weight” and just do it. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 NIV
The next time you feel heavy, or burdened or simply feeling blah, consider the feeling. Identify it. Examine it. Define it. I’ve found if I understand the weight, I know what to do with it. It becomes easier to carry or to let go, as the case may be. Try it!
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