500-Pound Burdens

Welcome! As I write, a steady rain pelts my house. Water streams down my windows.

I hate steel skies and rain. I hate the gloom and unrelenting nature of it all. And I hate that I can’t control it one bit.

I’ve struggled all my life with the need to control people and circumstances. It’s always been hard, sometimes impossible, to accept the flaws in myself, others and the imperfect world around me.

I can always see how it could be better: Green’s not her color. She’d look better in a brown shirt. He’d look great with shorter hair and a beard.

My church family would be happier if more young families attended.

The public school system would be perfect if Christian prayer were again permitted and welcomed.

But let’s get real. I can’t make any of these things happen, any more than I can mop up the clouds and expose the sun.

I can’t control anyone else. I can only control myself. I can control my actions and reactions to circumstances and people. I can control how I spend my time, what I say, and what I eat and drink. I can control where I go. That’s about it.

You and I both know God is ultimately in control of my life. But I do have choices. God gave humans free will. He wants us to make good, wholesome choices. He wants us to choose to love and obey him. He wants me to give him my concerns and to trust in him. Assuming responsibility only for myself and my choices is freeing.

But this is the searing truth -- giving God control over everything in my life is a daily challenge. If I could really let go, it’d be liberating, as if I’ve dropped a 500-pound weight at the cross and walked away.

What is your 500-pound burden? An illness, perhaps. Maybe it’s the death of a loved one or the loss of a beloved pet. Maybe someone you trusted abused you or a loved one betrayed you. Maybe the wounds your childhood bully inflicted on you still haven’t healed. Perhaps you’re struggling financially or you’re out of work; you dread looking at your bank account and going to your mailbox. Maybe it’s the loss of your deepest human love that plagues you. Or you can’t forgive yourself for a mistake you made. You know you sin but can’t stop yourself, and guilt assaults you. Maybe you worry. Maybe you doubt God will really take care of you.

If you’re like me, you can list these personal flaws. Then you go to the boxing ring and swing right and left hooks at yourself until your face is swollen. Then you aim for your gut and punch until you’re gasping for breath and you’re so sore that you collapse. You’ve knocked yourself out.

You ache. Then you do it all over again the next day. But there is an alternative.

Shove your 500 pound burdens, regrets, and pain into a strongbox and carry it to the cross. Drop it there and turn your back on it. Take a firm, long step away from it and don’t look back. Free yourself.

Have a wonderful week. Blessings!