Bearing the Burden Together

Do you ever feel like the load of life’s burdens are too much to carry alone, yet feel guilty about sharing the weight of the troubles with others?

“Be completely humble and gentle;
be patient,
bearing with one another in love.”
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

I should be the last person to write on this topic.  This is an area of life that I am absolutely horrible in.  While I yearn to help others carry their burdens, encouraging them to share with me the strain of their circumstances, I am the worst at actually following my own advice.

I am horrible, absolutely horrible, at sharing what is really going on in my own life.  I have this knotted ball of thoughts in my mind about revealing my current reality with others.  I pull at it and tug at it, but I generally just make more of a mess, which I hide and keep to myself.

I rationalize that everyone else is going through so much, I certainly would not want to burden them with one more negative thought.  My troubles could always be so, so, so, much worse.  I should be deeply grateful for the stresses I have been given.

I compare, I worry, and I fret about what a possible reaction could be if I did share.  In my mind the estimated reactions are usually intensely negative.

My past experiences in attempting to share what was really going on haunt me.  There have been times I found myself horrifically misunderstood, forcefully judged, and powerfully rebuked, before I could get a breath in to clarify.  Along with the times I went unheard and quickly overlooked.

I also have this acquired quirk that if I made the mess, or if it was my decisions that led to the consequence, then I am fully and directly responsible for the clean up without a word of complaint or any help in the matter.

Then there is that people pleasing plague I carry with me.  I want to be loved and respected and honored and cherished.  I want to share joy with people.  The sharing of burdens seems like the last way to spread a bit of joy.  A joy filled Julie, now that’s someone who you want to have around in your life.  Julie’s junk…not so much.

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“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in my God and my Savior”  Habakkuk 3:17-18

Isn’t it the strangest thing to want to love others in their brokenness, to want to be loved in my brokenness, but not want to let anyone know that I am broken?

My dear reader, as you walk through this today, can you relate to any of this?

A big part of my heart hopes you don’t share in the neurotic knot of nonsense with me.  I have been going back to this piece of writing again, and again, and again.  Wanting to avoid a subject I am so sensitive about.  But, I also feel overly convicted to share because there is an intense hope in me that someone else needs these words.

My fears, failures, and anxieties are not truth.  THEY ARE WRONG!  They are rubbish.  In no way are they pure and noble and true and worth dwelling on.

Do you know what finally pushed me over the edge to actually put this post out there?  A book called Dirt by Denise Gosliner Orenstein.  It is is a book that I am reading with my daughter.  Yesterday, I read aloud this line, “Sometimes, the weight of a friend who needs you can lessen your load.”  

I had to place the book marker right in that spot and take a break.  It was like something hit my heart in such a way that it just cracked open revealing a well spring of living water that freely flowed.

Does the burden of my circumstances feel lighter when I am helping another carry theirs…YES!  So why am I preventing others from that same benefit, by allowing them to help me lessen my load?

If I had to sum it up in two words I would say it is my Foolish Pride.  I am too prideful to share.  In hiding my brokenness I rob both myself and others of sharing in the good that comes from bearing with one another.

We are not capable of carrying these burdens alone.  We were not designed for individual self sufficiency.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love,
we will grow to become in every respect
the mature body of him who is the head,
that is Christ.
From him the whole body,
joined and held together by every supporting ligament,
grows and builds itself up in love,
as each part does its work.”
Ephesians 4:15-16 (NIV)

We are each a single part of the body as a whole.  Joined, held together, and supported by those in community around us.  We have each been blessed with gifts, with grace, with talents, and with resources, but not so we can carry the weight of the world upon our own shoulders.

All these things are given to us so we are equipped to share the support within the body of Christ, whose power is at work within us.  It is because of Jesus, and generous amounts of His love flowing through us that enable us to bear the burdens of life together.

It is the cooperative spirit of Christ followers converging together that conquers the battles and carries the burdens of life’s circumstances.

My dear reader, I do no know if you struggle to share the weight of your burdens like I do.  I do not know if your past experiences, fears, anxieties, and quirks make you hesitant to disclose the details of your afflictions.

I do not know if you struggle to please people and do not wish to drain them with your despair.  I do not know if you wish to be fully loved in your brokenness, but fear exposing the extent of your faults and fractures.

Jesus himself said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”  John 15:12-13 (NIV).

We are loved by Jesus, richly and lavishly loved.  We are called to love each other in the same way.  The greatest love we can show to each other is to bear our burdens together.  Perhaps one of the hardest parts of bearing together is to lay down the details of our life, exposing the faults and fractures in their fullness to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Christ can give us the courage to share, the Holy Spirit can counsel us to speak, and God the Father can create the opportunity for a community to participate in.  May we have the faith bear our burdens together.

Beloved Lord,

Thank You so much for Your rich and lavish love.  Thank You for the gift of Jesus who bore the ultimate burden out of His love for us.  Thank You for His example and for his continued provision of strength that we can humbly, gently, and patiently bear with one another the burdens we face in our lives. 

Lord, help us to generously share the gifts and grace we have been given.  May our commitment to community show Your love flowing through us. 

In the Greatest Name of Love, Jesus Christ our Lord, amen. 

 

 

 

 

 

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