We finally made time for coffee. I stood in line next to my friend, smiling because it had been months since we had some time together, smiling because I had a break, smiling because it was a cold winter day and a cookie was in my very near future. It felt great. She asked what we always ask, “How are you?” and I replied, “Good.” And I was . . . if good meant the world wasn’t falling down. And I wondered, When did that become my standard?
We got our coffee and sat, catching up on life and fielding the random text here or there. And she probed deeper, “How are things with your brother?”
I thought of my teenage brother, a beautiful fifteen-year-old with a bright smile. I only wished I saw it more. I pulled a thread I didn’t know I was pulling when I told her about the recent court date. And that tiny pull kept unraveling as I explained why, and that it was from a few years ago, and that it was all okay. Or as okay as it gets. Mental illness is messy in ways you never imagine.
Stories of the past few years tumbled out, some of which I was sure I had told her before. There were no tears or dramatic pauses. It was just the pieces of life laid out between coffee mugs. She looked across the table and the messy stories and said, “That must feel really hard.” I inhaled slow, my shoulders rising. “Yeah, it does,” I exhaled.
That was the first time I’d stopped to say it was hard.
Sometimes we get so busy trying to survive, doing the next thing, keeping our head above water, that we don’t realize how tired we truly are. We don’t even realize we’re carrying anything. I didn’t realize the weight of what I had been carrying until I named it, until I spoke it out loud as being heavy and recognized I was, in fact, weary.
Perseverance is good, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Sometimes we face things that don’t seem that hard at first. Maybe it’s one small challenge or burden, one extra thing that needs to get done or one more night of running around. Maybe it’s a delay we didn’t expect or a closed door we thought for sure would be open. A small thing that we can get through. So, we carry it, and we carry on.
And then there’s another small thing, a tiny weight. Nothing too hard, really. And we add that on and keep going. And going. And going.
All along the way picking up these seemingly mild inconveniences. What we don’t realize is that as we keep going and keep carrying, the weight adds up. And not in the 1+1=2 way. This weight is different. There is another factor, something we rarely account for — time.
I looked at my friend and told her I felt like that story of the professor who asks her class how heavy a glass of water is. She explains that the absolute weight doesn’t actually matter. What matters is how long she holds the glass. If she holds it for a few minutes, it’s fine. Increase that to an hour, and her arm is sore. Keep going for a day, and she feels incapable of even moving.
The heaviness of our burdens matters less than how long we carry them.
And sometimes, especially as women, we think we should keep carrying things, keep going, forge ahead, all in the name of getting it done, of persevering.
But what if persevering is not a carrying but a laying down?
There are things we will all need to carry. There are hard things we have to do and challenges we must walk through. When we carry them on our own, we will become worn out, tired, and eventually unable to go on.
But when we bring those things to God — even the ones that seem small — we no longer need to carry them on our own.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you.
Psalm 55:22 (CSB)
We can press on, steadfast with Him. We can cast our cares on Him and keep pressing on toward Him as He carries the weight. He promises to help us.
For I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, who says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13 (CSB)
Things with my brother may not change right now. They may never change. No matter what hard thing I face, I don’t need to carry the weight of them on my own and neither do you.
What weight can you ask God to help you carry today?
When we bring our burdens to God — even the ones that seem small — we no longer need to carry them on our own. -@myinkdance: Click To Tweet