Long and stressful. That’s what my to-do list was like right when Pilgrim House was about to open, and I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious and weary.
While praying one morning, I felt the Lord giving me an image:
He had a blanket, and he invited me to drop my anxieties into it - all of my tasks, concerns, and personal prayer requests for family and friends. Anything that was a worry, I dumped in there. Afterward, he wrapped up the blanket like a bundle, tied it to a stick, rested the stick on his shoulder, and together we started walking. All the burdens were in this bundle, and it didn't sag or weigh him down at all. He was strong enough to carry it - and he was actually cheerful as we walked, him with all my burdens and me with none.
Sometimes when Nate and I travel, Nate carries some things for me. I often feel bad for him, that my things make his load heavier. He always says the same thing: "It's fine! Don't worry about it."
That's how God is, but without limit - my worries will always be fine for him, and they will always feel light to him. He’s The Strong One. He’s strong enough to carry our anxieties and cares, and he's powerful enough to actually do something about them.
You might be like me with a never-ending to-do list and constant pressing concerns. So often we careen from anxiety to anxiety and let our agitation drive our reactions, decisions, and even conversations. In our worst moments, we end up vomiting anxiety about everything all over everyone around us.
Instead, God is teaching me to go to him first, give him my burdens, and then turn around and face whatever I need to from a place of peace and rest. He wants me to actually operate, always, from a place of stillness and rest.
It's an important lesson to remember. I can rest, not because what I’m going through isn't a big deal, but because he's strong enough to carry it.
We all still have to deal with stuff: hard conversations, details and paperwork, doctor appointments, and problem solving. The list could go on and on. However, we can do all that we have in front of us from a place of peace, not from a place of high anxiety.
A friend brought to mind Psalm 138:3 recently: "When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted."
It fit perfectly. What would it be like for each of us to go through life boldly, without fear or anxiety because we knew The Strong One was always with us? I hope the more we all go through this life, the more we can all find out.