“You’ve got to pull yourself up by your bootstraps” is not in the Bible. Neither is “God helps those who help themselves”, “God will never give you any more than you can handle”, “ignore your pain and it will go away”, or “think positive and you’ll be happier”. So, why is this human-created nonsense weighing so heavily on me? You know what IS in the Bible? “Jesus wept”(John 11:35). “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). “My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18). “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened” (Matthew 11:28). It doesn’t say that we have to hold ourselves together to approach God. He wants to be the One to hold us together, but we have to get rid of these damaging self-sufficient mindsets in order to let Him.
I’m so overwhelmed by this burden right now. My dreams are full of stress and my waking is worse. I feel lost as to how to deal with it so I wrote myself a letter in my journal. I wasn’t sure I would share it but I have nothing else to write about and maybe it will help someone else.
I feel the massive burden on your shoulders. It’s oppressively weighing you down. I’ve watched your shoulders hunch until they can’t possibly get any lower. You were never meant to carry such a heavy load. God says His burden is light, but yours is so heavy that it’s crushing and consuming you. What happened?
You care far too much what other people think and how they are living their lives compared to how you are living yours. Comparison is such an evil tool of Satan. Just because those around you are sucking it up and living their lives does not mean you are weak because you can’t do the same. Just because you grew up thinking you were supposed to forsake yourself in every way does not make it right or healthy. You know what hiding your pain does to you. We’ve been over this time and time again. I thought we were past this. We agreed that the only way to be free from emotional pain rotting into physical pain is to be honest about it, to speak it out loud instead of ignoring or avoiding it. I know it’s hard when you see other people happier than you because they’re ignoring their pain. You wish you could go back to doing that. But you know they are not healthier than you. Their resistance to the truth and denial of reality will eventually destroy their life. And I know you want to fix that for them because the thought of that breaks your heart but, just as they have no control over you, you have no control over them.
But it feels like they have control over you, over your emotions. However, that’s only because you let it get to you. You feel so unbelievably guilty that you can’t live a life/lie like they can. You’re done with that kind of life, remember? It destroyed your body, wrecked your mind, and broke your heart. You don’t want to go back there. Satan thrives in lies so he hates when you’re honest about how you feel. It seems to me that you should keep doing what he hates.
Why is it so hard? Because we’re back to caring what other people think. Why are other people so important to you? You feel the God-given nudges to honesty in your heart that they don’t. Those nudges should be stronger than your guilt. You fear others see you as weak but they don’t understand that to do what you are doing, to lay your soul bare before God and everyone, you have to be incredibly strong. You know what God wants you to do. Stop second-guessing.
But I know how hard it is when love gets involved. You love the people you perceive are looking down on you and they say they love you. So you berate yourself even more for your inability to be like them, to do the things they want you to do. And church? Church can be an absolute nightmare. You’re relieved you can’t go right now because you don’t think you could handle the judgement, the spouting of the human-created and human-perpetuated nonsense mentioned above. But every Sunday still brings news of people blaming you for your continuing illness because they are so uncomfortable with the thought that God doesn’t always heal. They blame the victim, and they break your heart. You know not everyone is like that, right? Think of the people at CR who suffer alongside you. I know how hard it is but you don’t have to take the others so personally. It’s an issue inside their heart, not yours. I know yours still shatters. You long for relief from the blame and rationalization, for just love with no strings attached. People are not God. They will always let you down. You don’t have to pick up the burdens they are laying on you. They probably don’t even realize they are doing it. Their hearts are damaged… just like yours. Forgive them for they know not what they do.
I feel how terribly alone you feel, but know that you do possess the one Love that will never blame you or place an unnecessary weight on your shoulders. In fact, He wants to take the burden away from you. Please, Karina, for the sake of your heart, your health, and your ministry, take this burden in your arms- the comparison, the judgement, the blame, the perception that you are weak, not good enough, and not doing what you are supposed to be doing. Take your broken heart, your expectations of others and yourself, your own judgement of yourself that you simply allow others to confirm and perpetuate. Take your loneliness and grief. Take your very sick body and heart. Take all of these in your arms, go to the cross and just drop them. Drop it all. If you can’t leave it there, pick it back up and start to drive nails into it piece by piece. Allow Jesus’ blood to flow down over it all. His love covers your broken heart. Let it. His love changes your expectations. Let it. His love makes comparison unnecessary. Let it. His love adores your honesty. Let it. His love helps you forgive. Let it. His love works on the hearts of those who hurt you. Let it. His love covers your shame. Let it. His love binds up your wounds. Let it. His love understands why you have not been healed. Let it. His love is more important than anyone else’s. Let it be so. His love longs to see you walking upright out from under this burden. Let it. Jesus loves you more than you understand. Let Him.
Song I’m feeling: Would You Be Well, by Taylor Leonhardt. Needs to be on repeat in my head.
“Would you be well from crushing anxiety and live inside a peace you can’t understand?
Would you be free from all that entangles you, trade what you couldn’t do for all that I have?
Would you be held safe in the solace of a kinder and deeper love? I’ll hold you tonight.
Would you be seen for all that you really are? Come let your weary heart lay in the light.
Would you be well from fearing you couldn’t be as dear as you are to me? You’ll always belong.
Would you be free to stand on your legs again, and run like the holy wind that’s blowing you home?”