Have you ever been weighed down by worry?
Some days we may not notice the extra rocks in our pack. Other days we can barely move.
I remember the first time grief crushed me. I was in the living room, sitting on the beige recliner. The one we found at a garage sale. The house was quiet because what was there to say? We had just come home from the funeral and burial of a dear friend. He was 29. And now the week of goodbyes was over and nothing made sense.
In that moment, my grief was physical, almost as if I was being pinned down. I remember feeling like my legs were stuck in cement. The heaviness was that tangible.
Things like fear, anxiety, and grief are heavy. And they have collateral damage, tending to spill over into other areas of our lives.
Knowing the burden is too heavy for us to bear, God deeply desires to lighten our load. Here are a few things I try to remember when life feels heavy.
Remember God Cares
I have a friend who has experienced a great deal of suffering in his life and I asked him once if he was mad at God. His response? “God is not cruel.” How we view God matters. God is moved by our pain. He cares about our fears and doubts. He draws near to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18). Sometimes I find it helpful to visualize God physically carrying me, not unlike a parent and a child.
Remember God’s Promises
When fear and anxiety threaten to overtake me, God’s Word is nothing short of a shield. I have found that focusing on a Bible verse, committing it to memory and bringing it to mind again and again, brings deep peace and comfort. Sometimes I even sing it. A verse that has helped me recently is 2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
Remember God’s Generosity
This is not easy nor is it natural. In fact, my gratitude practices are often the first thing to go when I’m stressed or anxious. But especially now, choosing to look around and name those mercies, of which there are many, is critical. And so I will give thanks for fresh bread, a phone call from my sister, and the laughter of children.
Remember the Birds
Have the birds in your neighborhood been extra chatty lately? The ones by me sure have been. And there is a lightness and joy they bring, reminding me of the freedom that is found when we give our worries to our Creator. If the birds aren’t singing yet by you, check out Ellie Holcomb’s song Do Not Worry to be inspired.
I'm praying for each of you as you navigate the heaviness of life. May the words of Matthew 11:28-30 bring comfort: “Come to me, all you 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 easy and my burden is light.”