Years ago, my dad helped Carson, my twelve-year-old brother, prepare for an overnight camping trip. “Son, now that your backpack is full, try it on and make sure you can manage the weight. It’s really heavy. You don’t need all these campfire pots and cans of food.”
“Oh, I can handle it, Dad. No problem. I’ve been swimming all summer, and I’m really strong. Will you put it on my back now?”
“Okay, but remember you’ll have to hike through the woods to the campsite.”
Carson slipped his arms through the straps. We watched as he rocked onto his toes and leaned forward, hoping to maintain his balance. Although his lanky arms boasted budding muscles, his slender frame was no match for the backpack’s weight.
I’m sorry to report this older sister laughed when the weight of the load pulled him backward and down. He wasn’t injured, but he landed on the kitchen tile and resembled a turtle who had the misfortune to land on his shell.
“You were right, Dad. I guess it’s a little too heavy. Maybe I should take out some of the pots and canned food. Will you help me repack?”
Sometimes as adults we carry around more weight than necessary and allow burdens to rob us of joy. We might insist we know best and struggle for a while leaning forward with determination to keep our balance. We often fail to take the next step—lightening our load.
Our heavenly Father offers wisdom in a passage about submission to Him.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride] …casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].”
1 Peter 5:6-7 Amplified
Ready for step one? The passage tells us humility is the first step toward a lighter load. When we recognize our inability and God’s strength, a humble heart positions us to seek and receive His help.
When we recognize our inability and God’s strength, a humble heart positions us to seek and receive His help. Click To Tweet
The second step involves “casting all your cares” on God. The word casting in verse seven means letting go of something and pitching it to another person or location. Humbling comes first, and casting follows.
Like my brother, when we realize our load is too heavy for our limited strength, we abandon pride and humble ourselves before one who can help us.
God designed us to depend on His strength, not our own. He planned to bear our burdens before we knew they existed.
God designed us to depend on His strength, not our own. He planned to bear our burdens before we knew they existed. Click To Tweet
Jesus bore the sins of the world on His shoulders. He’s certainly capable of carrying the heavy weights of our hearts.
Does the gravity of your burdens encumber a joyful walk with Christ? I hope the following idea will help you when your backpack weighs you down.
Draw a line down the center of a page in a notebook or journal. In the left-hand column, use a pencil to list burdens that distract you or weigh you down. In the right-hand column, list some of God’s promises. Consider these and others:
- He promises to forgive us when we confess (I John 1:9).
- He provides for our needs (Philippians 4:19, Matthew 7:11).
- He offers peace (John 14:27) and wisdom (Proverbs 2:6).
Now imagine holding each burden in your hands. Read 1 Peter 5:7 and follow God’s instructions. One by one as you pray, erase your burdens and list them on His side of the paper beside a promise.
All your heartache and circumstances won’t disappear when you pray, but the burden of them, the weight that’s too heavy, will rest on His shoulders. Your heavenly Father is bearing them with you and for you.
Take a deep breath, my friend. Thank God for His hug of relief. Smile. Yes, smile even when burdens feel heavy because you won’t bear them alone.
With our Burden-Bearer beside us, let’s settle into our campsite for the day and rest in His promises. “He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].”
How does remembering God’s strength and 1 Peter 5:7 help you release burdens? I look forward to your comments.
A related post: https://www.jeanniewaters.com/blog/the-answer-to-anxiety-is-on-the-table/