What’s In Our Backpack?
Some days you can literally feel the weight of them as you hit the ground in the morning. They are those pebbles, rocks, and even boulders that we put in our backpacks. We carry them to the grocery store, to school, to work, to bed, and everywhere we go. You are probably thinking, “I don’t carry a backpack.” I imagine we all carry our own unique backpack. It just doesn’t look like one. Our invisible backpacks tend to carry the weight of our unknowns, the future, fears, worries, and past mistakes. Or the health, safety, choices, success, and failures of those we so dearly love. It may be financial worries, relational hurts, unexpected illness, or gaining approval from others. We try to get them out of our head and not allow them to consume our thoughts and burden our heart. However, they seem to linger and ultimately drain us, overwhelm us, and exhaust us because they are just so heavy.
Why do we even pick these things up in the first place and put them in our backpack? It is likely because if we carry them, it gives us the false belief we have some control over them and their outcome. The truth is that when we choose to pick up these heavy burdens, we only get weighted down and can’t invest fully in the things God actually created us for. He did not create us to carry the loads we carry.
Good news! There is an alternative. It is no surprise to God that we try to do it all. Matthew 11:28-29 says “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.”Easier said than done, right? Absolutely!!
So what can we practically do to evaluate what we need to let go of and trust God to carry? We can identify what is in our control versus what is out of our control, and we can choose to rest in our God that can carry it all. God does not only WANT to carry our burdens, but He is ABLE to. *So what is in our control? Our priorities, what we give our energy to, what we watch, what we listen to, our words, our responses, our behaviors, how we take care of ourselves, what and who we worship, and our daily choice to surrender control over to our God who is faithful and capable.*What is out of our control? The actions of others, the weather, what others think of you, other people’s beliefs, other’s feelings, other’s health, and other people’s choices..(I know this is a hard one to swallow).
The reality is that when we make a habit of emptying our backpacks into the hands of God, there is freedom. Yes, it can be scary. However, the freedom of acknowledging that we are not strong enough to carry it all and fix it all is life-changing. This is a moment-by-moment choice we have to make. It does not mean we do not care, it means we care so much that we give it to our God who is faithful and able to do what we can’t. I encourage us all to empty the rocks out of our backpacks so that we can be more present and rest in the One who wants to carry our burdens for us. 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Written by Malisa Funderburk MA