A few months ago, I wrote about how I was tired of needing help from so many people. I was tired of relying on others to support my family, even though my husband and I were trying our best. I was tired of explaining our “situation” and feeling the need to justify our financial status to other people. Mostly I was just tired.
But as I shared these feelings with a friend recently, he said some wise words that made me think. I do not have permission to share them, but it was over Facebook and we all know that’s a gray area, so I’m sharing it anyway. I will keep him anonymous, unless you have something really good to bribe me with.
My friend said that, as Christians, none of our burdens are our own. Our financial difficulties do not just belong to ourselves. Our worries are not only ours to fret over. We are part of something larger, a body of believers that can share our troubles and each take a little piece, so that no one has to carry it all. My children are not just my children – they are part of a community of Christ-seeking individuals who have taken them in as their own.
What a relief. Just like that, a weight lifted off of me. Not just because of what my friend said, but because of the bigger truths it revealed to me.
There is no way for me to carry any of my burdens on my own. If I had a million dollars, if I ruled the world, if I had a magic lamp – none of it would work. Nothing would be able to take those burdens from me. They could certainly help, and they aren’t bad things. They just wouldn’t be the true answer.
So what is the true answer? What will take away our burdens, what will give us peace, what will guide us through a time of darkness where we dare not take another step?
Spoiler alert: It’s not a “what.” It’s a Who.
Jesus is who takes my burdens on Himself and carries them. Jesus is who gives me strength to lift my head when I am sure I cannot. Jesus is who died for my sins and your sins and gave us the ability to be part of something bigger than ourselves, bigger than anything we can imagine. We can’t pay Him back; we can’t work off our debt. We just accept His grace and mercy, knowing we are undeserving, and grateful that He loves us anyway.
Jesus paid it all.
And so, knowing that there is no way I could ever really repay all my debts, no way I could really be the only one who provides for myself, no way I could ever truly be in a position to totally take care of my family…I am free.
I am free of the burden of my burdens. I am free of the guilt I feel over needing help from others. I am free from the worry over whether my kids will have enough. Jesus died for me and set me free.
I don’t know if we will ever be in a position to give to others financially the way people have given to us. And that’s okay, because now I think we are meant to give in another way. There are all kinds of burdens out there – some need financial support, some need a listening ear, some need advice from an expert. Not having much doesn’t mean I can’t give freely of what I do have. Prayer, compassion, understanding, grace – these are the most valuable gifts. I have all of those to give. And you do, too.
The holiday season is over, but for me, the giving season is just beginning. I want to make 2016 a year of giving my prayers, my time, my friendship to anyone in need. I want to make sure that I never forget the valuable lesson I have learned, and I want to share it with anyone who is struggling, in the hopes that maybe I can help ease their burdens. Mostly I want to make 2016 the year that I no longer regret the necessity to rely on someone besides myself for help – I want to celebrate that I have a Savior who invites me to rely on Him for everything.
Happy New Year, friends and family. May the next year be a generous one.