I wanted to tell this story because it’s an amazing God story and it might help someone else dig deeper into the burdens they’re carrying, but it’s also difficult to put into words. So while you read this post, just keep the words to the Newsboys song “Spirit Thing” in mind: “It’s just a Spirit thing. It’s just a holy nudge… it’s just a little hard to explain.”
I love Holy nudges and am so grateful when I receive them. I want to shout it from the rooftops, but they are also often very personal. The nudges I receive are communication from God that not everyone will understand (because the communication is about my own heart and life), but I’m going to try to put this one into words.
God gave me a vision one day of shadows of people hanging off me, pulling me, dragging me back. It wasn’t the actual people hanging off me, but their shadows, their darkness, their burdens. I’ve shared before my gift of sensitivity and feeling other people’s emotions. I no longer believe it’s a curse to feel other people’s emotions, but a gift. However, it’s not a gift meant for me to carry alone. I know how hard it is for me to disconnect after I’ve sat with someone in their pain. Instead of feeling with and for them and moving forward with life, I take it a step further and pick up their burden, trying to carry it for them. I add burden after burden and it gets heavier and harder and I start walking with a limp, my own heart and body breaking down under the weight. Even when the person starts feeling better, I still can’t put their burden down. It never leaves me. I carry their shadows even when they no longer do so.
I’ve known this about myself for a long time and have done quite a bit of praying and working through it. I keep feeling led back into a helping profession but I have to learn how to let go somehow so that I don’t continue to carry on my back every client I’ve ever had. It would destroy me. Please don’t hear me say there’s something wrong with feeling for people… quite the opposite actually. However, my job has to be bringing those people before the throne of God, guiding them into the arms of Jesus rather than keeping them in mine. It’s His job to carry them through their difficulties while I walk beside them toward healing. I’ve tried to be the savior more times than I’d like to admit but it’s my job to trust people to the true Savior.
I thought I had prayed enough prayers against my emotional destruction and savior complex before. I’ve brought people in emotional turmoil to Jesus many times. I thought I had gotten past this but it turns out I hadn’t quite fully released control. God showed me that day that I still had a cord attached between me and every single person I’ve ever felt deeply for and with whom I’ve felt pain. I was completely unaware of how much baggage I was still carrying that wasn’t even mine.
After God opened my eyes to the shadows dragging from me, I spent a long time going through each person, praying for them, telling God I trust Him with them, bringing them to His throne, and visualizing breaking the cords and purposely handing them to God. He showed me that it’s not my job to pull them along through life, but to let Him have the reins instead. He said His yoke is easy. How hard I have made it instead!
After releasing each person in this way, I felt so physically light it was almost a shock to my body. It was nearly dizzying. It wasn’t a relief yet because I immediately started to panic, nearly full-on panic attack panic. So I asked God what was happening to me and it was suddenly so clear. In that moment, I felt more alone than I ever remember feeling before. I had no one with me to back me up, and no one for me to drag along. I felt indescribably vulnerable. It was just me and only me. I wish I could fully convey the sense of smallness I felt in those moments. I felt like an ant… a speck of dust to be trampled on. I was tempted to feel utterly insignificant and terrified, a tiny bit of scum in the presence of a huge and holy God.
But in His most precious way, the Holy Spirit rose up in me, squashing those lies that I am a tiny pile of nothing. No! I am God’s child. He chose me. He LOVES even me. How amazing and nearly mind-boggling that He loves someone so small and weak. In my deepest vulnerability, God showed me His indescribably precious love. I was completely overwhelmed. He didn’t love me because I’m doing what I thought was helping others by dragging them along with me. He loves ME. Period. Oh, how can this be true? But, it is!
This was such a priceless healing from the Lord and insight into the burdens He so desperately wants to carry for me. He assuaged my fears about daily entering into the pain of others. Now, instead of helping others because I think it makes me look better in God’s eyes (I had no idea I was thinking this way), I can help others from the depths of love He already has for JUST ME. Dragging people along revealed two things to me: Sometimes it was just another way I was trying to earn the love that God has already given me. Other times it was a clear picture of my lack of trust in God with the lives of people I love. God gifted me with a powerful Spirit encounter that opened my eyes. Helping people find healing should be a privilege, not a burden. God’s burden is light… and my heart and body thank Him for that!