Take It or Leave It

Matthew 11:28-30: “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” (NIV).

When you worry about something, how does it make you feel?  Are you light and happy and carefree or is your neck strained, do you grind your teeth, and do you feel heavy, like you are carrying a load that is too much for you to hold?  I’m the latter.  I get depressed, tense, irritable, and my whole posture slumps as though I’m carrying a heavy backpack trying to walk up a mountainside.

One of my former pastors, Pastor Griffin, gave an analogy that speaks so perfectly to these feelings.  The gist of the message was this:  He had us imagine hiking up the side of a mountain with a backpack full of rocks.  Each rock represented a different worry:  Finances, cancer, adultery, unemployment, relationship issues, and divorce – fill in your own worries.  Feel the weight of the backpack with all those rocks on your shoulders as you begin to hike.  Imagine the strain of trying to walk upright up the steep cliff while carrying the heavy, awkward weight on your back.

Once you get to a high peak on the mountain, take your backpack off, and open it up.  Picture yourself taking each rock out of the backpack one by one and name each worry.  As you pray and give that worry to God, throw the rock off the cliff as far as you can.  You’re not finished until your backpack is empty.  Try taking your worries (rocks) back.  They were thrown randomly off the mountain, so to find your worries again is impossible.  Picture how you feel climbing now.  Are you lighter, do you experience more freedom, and do you feel better physically and emotionally?

That’s how God wants us to handle our worries all the time.  He wants us to give them to Him when fear first tries to gain a foothold.  Before we can pack the worries into our backpack, He wants us to fling them as far and wide as possible, letting Him handle whatever has us afraid.

Now, sometimes I imagine the above scenario, but when I’m feeling particularly vulnerable and afraid, I instead picture myself standing in front of Jesus and placing the rocks at His feet, naming each and every worry that I carry and asking Him to take them from me.

I would love to say I’ve mastered giving them to God and not taking them back, but I haven’t.  I’m getting better at giving God my worries, but I still try and take them back.  I tried to answer the question of why I keep taking them back, and I don’t completely know.  I know His ways are better and He can handle the solution far better than I could.  I guess I feel like I need to be part of the action.  To lay my fears at His feet and then walk away doesn’t seem like I’m doing my part; but that’s exactly what God wants me to do.  He can’t work when I’m in the way messing things up.  The only responsibility I have is to keep walking in faith, completing the job that God assigned to me, and then I’m to stand back and watch Him work.  I’ve had God allow me to get meningitis to help me break out of a destructive relationship, He has balanced our checkbook all year despite pay cuts for both my husband and I, our children are dressed well through the generosity of others, and one of my favorites (not my favorite but a close second) was when I got hired eight hours, with a better job, after being let go from a different company.  If that doesn’t scream, “God’s got my back,” I don’t know what does.

Now, just because I give God my worries doesn’t mean He’s a genie in the bottle and I get every request answered with a yes.  There are many things in my life that I’m still waiting on God’s timing for – my husband’s health, better finances, etc. However, by not worrying, I’m not trying to take over God’s job but instead leaving the agenda in His hands, where it belongs.  No, when I choose not to worry and instead give my fears to God, I’m saying that I trust He has the best agenda.  My job is simply to obey, trust, and wait to see how He’s going to work.  Even if I don’t understand the answer I receive, He sees the bigger picture and the answer is always the best one.

So, my question for you today is this:  Are you ready to leave your rocks with God and allow Him to create a more carefree spirit within you, or are you going to keep them or keep taking them back from Him because you simply don’t trust Him enough with your problems?  Only you can answer that one.  Just remember, God isn’t looking for perfection.  He just wants you to keep coming to Him with a willing spirit and a heart that wants His will.  He’s waiting to “wow” you too.

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