I’ve grown used to my arms aching in airports.
Before technology caught up with my insatiable reading habits, as a young girl, I’d pack at least seven books for a week long vacation. I carried them on because I wanted to read them and because well, they added more weight to the suitcase I checked which was almost always on the verge, if not over the 50 pound maximum, much to my parent’s chagrin and consternation.
My arms still ache in airports, my back too.
I carry on at least one real book with my iPad (and Kindle App), my camera, my computer, possibly a second lens, my various chargers, my meds (if I can fit them), and other things I don’t trust to put in my carry on. All this goes into a tote. A backpack would be easier on my body but the tote can double as an extremely large purse or beach bag for wherever I am going. So it all makes sense. Really, it does. Cross my heart.
Someone recently asked me to type up this letter of God’s promises to us as a favor. If I told you how many times I’ve learned this lesson (over and over again, like a dog that keeps going through the electric fence), the number may be as high as the number of emails in my inbox. Instead, I am trying to show myself grace, and the same gentleness I felt from God as he very kindly reminded me how little my spirit and soul should ache from the weight he puts on my shoulder (aka they should not ache at all).
Can it really be that easy? Can I know such lightness?
The truth is as He says. His burden is light, his yoke easy.
So what am I doing, what am I morphing it into to make it so dang heavy?
Well, you know. There’s that guilt thing. Oh, I don’t want to do that because I don’t want to upset her. Or, I have to do this because it will upset him if I don’t. There’s that shame thing. And that embarrassment thing. There are things born out of faux duty and with the appearance of intensity. There’s that perfectionist thing. There’s that trying to be someone I am not issue too. I could go on. But one thing I know is that none of these things are from God.
They make the burden on my shoulders quite heavy and I already have issues with chronic pain so something has got to give. Something always has to give. Thus, God teaching me this lesson approximately 3,500 times:
Look, Nina, this is not from me or of me. Because my burden? Oh Baby, that burden is light. And my yoke? Oh Baby, it’s easy. Look I’ve promised You and I keep my promises.
So though I am not her greatest fan, I must look to Taylor Swift and her sage advice. When I feel the heaviness and the weight, I must shake it off. It’s not the easiest thing to do. You see, I have the type of personality that just loves adding weight to the burden and difficulty to that yoke. It requires gut checks from me on the regular. Sometimes I go so long carrying all the non-God given stuff that I am so used to the weight and the pain of it.
How uncool is that?
But the wonderful, marvelous thing is the truth: I can lay down every burden not from him and shake off all the extra yokes I seem to have put on myself. I can hand these things over to him. Because he wants me to do so. Because he wants his burden to be easy and his yoke to be light and because those are the only things I should be carrying or wearing.
Right now, a lot of my guilt (and therefore, burden) comes from my health. I often times feel like I am letting people down because I can’t fully participate in all things. Either I feel guilty for this or I feel awful and pressured when I push my body past its current limits. It’s frustrating. Instead of letting that frustration go and redirecting my energy towards getting better (which is going very well…perhaps that is part of the reason I have little patience for my body’s issues lately…I’ve seen improvement and I just want to be all the way there while I do have a long way to go), it just becomes this weight I can sometimes actually feel on my back. This guilt and pressure is a yoke I can be led by and it is self inflicted.
Well, here we are again–learning the same lesson all over again and all the better for it.
Have you ever felt like this? What are you learning right now?