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Burden Bearing

A man prepares for a hike.  Typically, he packs along the basic necessities for the day, such as water and food, in an amount that is easy to carry.  His backpack isn’t a hindrance as its weight is just right for his build and strength.

Then something happens.  He must also carry the load of another.  The extra weight seems manageable at first but soon causes his steps to slow and his back to ache.  What starts out as a doable hike with an appropriate backpack now becomes a burden as he struggles under the demands of the extra load.

How we bear the burdens of the day impacts our lives immensely.  I recently came across a quote from George MacDonald on this matter that really impacted me:

“It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day.  It’s when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear.  Never load yourselves so, my friends.  If you find yourselves so loaded, at least remember this:  it is your own doing, not God’s.  He begs you to leave the future to Him and to mind the present.”

We all have our days when our burdens seem insurmountable.  I have had quite a few recently.  It is easy to blame our difficulties on outside sources.  Some people even blame God – asking Him why He is giving us so much at once.

This quote really speaks to those thoughts.  My days of feeling overwhelmed or overloaded are nobody’s fault but my own.  God gives me strength for each day.  If I can only trust Him to do that, all is much better.  What do I do?  I add to today’s load with all my concerns over my tomorrows.  That’s when the load becomes detrimental to my health and well-being.

I am definitely a person who likes to plan ahead.  That’s not necessarily a bad trait.  Where it becomes an issue is when my mind races with multiple scenarios that MIGHT take place.  In my determination to be prepared, my brain tries to process all the possibilities and my spirit becomes stressed.  That’s now how God wants us to be.

Of course, there are times in life when decisions must be made and various options need to be considered.  That’s not the same as borrowing tomorrow’s burdens.  Adding more to our “backpack” we are carrying is when we worry that we might get some disease or that a child might be in trouble or…

For example, I am often in a state of worry about my blood sugar.  My father died from complications of diabetes and my only sibling has had major struggles with this disease as well.  I am in a constant state of stress as I worry if what I am eating will affect my health in an adverse manner.  Every dessert makes me second guess my choices and the worry monster roars.

While I am not advocating going out an eating any sweet treat that comes my way, I should not be borrowing trouble.  Yes, what I eat today may implicate my health tomorrow and I need to make wise choices.  What is wrong in my thinking is the worry over what has YET to happen.  It is a huge balancing act – to be sensible today and yet not take on tomorrow’s burdens.  This fine line between being prepared and carrying tomorrow’s concerns is a challenging one.

Today’s load is enough to carry and manage.  I hope that you will consider only taking on what is needful and leaving tomorrow’s concerns to God.  It is a reminder we need to give to each other on a regular basis.  God has tomorrow in hand.  Hold onto that fact and enjoy the precious today He has given you!

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