Years ago, I attended a youth group meeting with my sister and my nephews. The youth pastor was talking to the teens about the challenges they were dealing with as emerging adults: peer pressure, difficulties at home, dating drama, academics, self-esteem issues, long-term goals, etc.
I sat there thinking, I'm so glad I'm not a teenager anymore. The teen years are full of disappointments and angst.
But, then the pastor referenced Matthew 11:30, which reads, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." He went on to say that the world is full of trouble; Jesus told us we'd have trouble. He also said He has overcome the world.
The pastor reiterated Matthew 11:30 in his own words. "God's burden is light. That means...if your burden is heavy, it's not from God."
I spent a long time thinking about this. I didn't have teenage burdens, but I certainly had adult burdens. My husband and I were still in the throes of raising three children and hoping to get it right; we were always pinching pennies; the Air Force moved us every few years; and we rarely lived close to family. Not life-threatening stuff, but things about which I was always praying. The truth is, life often feels burdensome.
This young pastor changed my perspective. His words made me realize if I was feeling burdened, I had not given God my backpack of concerns. I needed to let the thing slide off my shoulders. I needed to - literally - lighten up. Light is from God; heavy is not.
Our shoulders and hearts are not designed to carry heavy; we're stick people with short-term brains and breakable hearts. God's shoulders are made of granite; His heart and mind cannot be moved, nor broken. He alone can lift up the burdens of this world.
Once I processed this, I had a sense of liberation. God did not create me to be worried and burdened. He created me to rejoice in His strength and willingly give Him the backpack. That's my job.
Just give Him the backpack.
Once it begins to feel heavy, hand it over.
Over the years, I've remembered this at times and forgotten it at others. We cling to our backpacks because we forget that God is trustworthy. We simply forget. Because, we're stick people with distractable brains and fickle hearts.
Luckily, God loves us anyway and keeps reaching for the crippling backpacks. "Let it go," He whispers. Sometimes we wrestle Him over it, which is really silly. Granite vs. sticks. Solid vs. inconsistent. Strong vs. weak.
We're so human. And He's so not.
And, isn't that great?
p.s. what's in your backpack today? What's keeping you from handing it over?