What It Means To Be Burdened

We carry a lot more emotional weight and burdens in our hearts than we realize. We carry it for so long that we become numb to it. Traumatic events from our childhoods, scars left from relationships, stress of everyday living, it all builds up if we don’t do something about it. You may find yourself tensing your shoulders without realizing, losing sleep over something you can’t control, or running out of patience for other people far faster than usual.

You may think, “Well, that’s just life. There’s nothing I can do about it, I just have to deal with it.” But for Christians, that’s not true. Our relationship with Jesus unlocks a greater freedom we can walk in every day. We just have to retrain our brain to process stressors and painful experiences in a different way than the world.

What Jesus Wants For You

Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross opened up so much more for us than just the ability to make it to heaven. His selfless act also gave us the ability to walk in everything He walked in on the earth – including seamless peace in the midst of every circumstance. Matthew 11:28-30 says,

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Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is comfortable, and My burden is light.

Now, this verse can be interpreted in several different ways. Some could attribute this verse as meaning that Christians are supposed to have an easy life, but that isn’t the case. Christians aren’t guaranteed a problem-free life. In fact, many find that they experience more challenges after becoming saved.

Not Intended As a Burden

I want to emphasize the usage of the word “yoke” in this verse. For the unfamiliar, a yoke is the portion of a harness used to affix a beast of burden to a plow, enabling it to till the ground as it walks.

We all have a yoke in this life, whether or not we believe in Jesus. That’s just part of living in a fallen world. What Jesus promises to give to us is a different yoke than the world. The reason His yoke is lighter than the world’s is because we don’t have to pull it alone. In fact, when it comes to the burdens of the world, we don’t have to pull them at all. 1 Peter 5:6-7 says,

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Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, having cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you.

Jesus asks us to trust Him with our cares. That bill you’re trying to not think about because you don’t have the money for it? He wants it. That health issue your doctor can’t seem to identify? He wants it. Those new responsibilities at your job that you’re not sure you can handle? He wants them. Give them all to Him and watch Him show His faithfulness to you.

“But I can’t just not think about it,” you might be saying, “If I don’t handle it, it won’t get taken care of!” This is the wrong mentality to have (and something I said myself for years until God taught me differently!). Of course, Jesus is not going to clock in at your work for you and handle those reports. But He can and will give you the ability to not only get them done, but do them excellently. 

What Jesus wants us to surrender is the mental burden, the stress, the aching feeling in your heart that’s stuck with you, maybe even for years. What we have to do is take our hands off of the wheel and let Him drive.

Trust and Pride

It all begins with the realization that you truly cannot do it on your own. This is not meant to inspire despair, but rather relief. Yes, we cannot do it on our own, but Jesus isn’t asking us to! In fact, He’s saying, “Tap Me in! Let Me fight on your behalf.” Philippians 4:6-7 says,

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

We don’t realize how exhausting carrying these burdens is until we set them down at His feet. As we see in Philippians, Jesus doesn’t want us to worry about anything, not our finances, not our families, not our jobs, not our health, nor anything else. Not a single thing.

When we truly let go and give the burden to Jesus, He blesses us with His supernatural peace. You’ll feel free to experience joy, even in the midst of your challenge. You’ll sleep more soundly and you’ll find more patience for those around you.

Retraining Your Brain

Now, letting go of the mental burden will come easier to some more than others. Our society is traveling down the road of individualism and independence. “We shouldn’t need help from anyone – we should be able to do it on our own.” This is not the path Jesus calls us to walk down. We weren’t created to be able to live life without Him. Relying on Him is not weakness, it’s strength – strength to trust that He will come through for us. Don’t let petty pride rob you of your victory through Jesus. John 16:33 says,

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‘These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.’

This is Jesus Himself telling us not to worry, He’s already won! There’s no need to push through and struggle on our own, because our Savior wants to help. This may take some humbling on your part. Let’s go back to 1 Peter 5:6-7:

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Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, having cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you.

You may not like feeling like you need help, but the truth is, we all face challenges that we simply can’t overcome on our own. Why wait until you know you can’t do it before asking for help? Make a habit of trusting even small, daily things to Him and see how He never lets you down. He will reward your faithful surrender by always meeting your needs and ensuring your life is blessed.

Practicing Self-Care – Why You Should Avoid It

Now, to approach this topic, I will be including some excerpts from our spiritual development resource, Powerful Peace:

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Self-care, as a bait [used by satan], is our attempt to depend on our OWN strength, our OWN logic and problem-solving skills, or our OWN abilities to solve a problem. It is birthed out of our pride that tells us, ‘I’ve got this! I don’t need any help from God.’

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There are two types of ‘self-care’ in our lives today. The good type of ‘self-care’ is a form of self-love and expresses itself by taking care of our physical bodies by eating well, exercising, brushing our teeth, and all the necessary activities to become and stay healthy. We are instructed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:20 to ‘glorify God in Your body.’ This isn’t the form of ‘self-care’ we are discussing….

When we worry about ourselves and our circumstances, we aren’t trusting Jesus. As I described earlier, we must offload those mental burdens into His arms and let ourselves be refreshed in His presence. Isaiah 41:10 says,

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‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will also help you,
I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Worry is just fear under another name. With Jesus by our side, we don’t have to live life in fear any longer. He will strengthen and uphold us, paving the way through the challenge and out the other side into victory.

Building Good Habits

Letting Jesus carry your burdens is something you can start today. Like any good habit, it takes repetition to reprogram your brain to do that first, and even then you might find yourself slipping from time to time. A good red flag to watch out for is your emotions. Do you feel tense or stressed? It’s time to take a moment and surrender that burden to Jesus.

Find verses to meditate on to remind yourself of His character and faithfulness. Psalm 138:7-8 says,

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Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will reach out with Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your faithfulness, Lord, is everlasting;
Do not abandon the works of Your hands.

Let words like these be your life preserver in the midst of the storm. You know His words are true, so they are true for you too. He will be faithful and you can trust Him. All you have to do is lay your burdens at His feet and He will work through you and in you to bring you victory.

Give Jesus Room To Work On Your Burden

I encourage you to also lay your expectations down at His feet. We all have our ideas of what a solution to our problem looks like, but we need to give Him room to work in a way we may not see coming. You may even be tempted to get angry at Him for not “coming through” as soon as, or in the manner in which, you wanted Him to. However, this is pride creeping in again, telling us that we know better than God. Psalm 19:7-10 is a good reminder when we are tempted to react this way:

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The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much pure gold;
Sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Jesus knows what you need and He will come through for you at the perfect time. Just let Him work and enjoy the peace He brings you in the meantime.

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