August 30, 2023
The Best Way To Lighten Your Load
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“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (CEB)
She smiled like a lovestruck teenager the first time she laid eyes on that shimmery pink backpack. “It’s the one I’ve been wishing for!” my kindergartener declared as she excavated it from our pile of school supplies.
On the first day of school, she flung the bag over her shoulders and pranced to the bus stop like a princess. But as time passed, her delight faded.
Finally, the day came when my kindergartner dropped her beloved pink pack on the ground and plopped down beside it. “I can’t carry this anymore,” she whimpered. “It’s too heavy.”
I opened the bag and began to empty every pocket. Oddly, when I handed it back to my daughter, the backpack still felt heavy.
Upon closer inspection, I discovered a hidden pouch near the bottom of the bag. Intended to house wet boots or sweaty gym clothes, the pocket brimmed, instead, with dusty stones.
“I didn’t know I was carrying all that!” my daughter exclaimed when I dumped the rocks onto the floor with a clank.
I soon learned her favorite recess pastime was hunting for “treasure” in the rock beds that lined the playground. While this daily treasure hunt was a benign amusement, the bag’s bursting seams were a quiet admonition. Neither my girl nor her precious pack were crafted for such a heavy load.
From that point on, we developed a new routine. At bedtime, my daughter brought me her backpack and climbed onto my lap — then I removed each hidden stone.
The load that had once pushed my girl to tears now propelled her into my arms. Best of all, when she greeted a new day, her cargo no longer eclipsed her capacity.
Of course, children aren’t the only ones who may stumble beneath the weight of an unseen load. We, too, grow weary from the burdens we carry. Left unchecked, our concealed concerns and hidden hurts can deplete our strength and plunder our joy. And like a kindergartner I once knew, we may find it hard to keep pressing on. After all, it’s difficult to embrace the gift of a new day when we’re still laden with the weight of the old one.
That’s why I love the invitation in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”
With one simple word — “come” — Jesus reminds us we need not bear the weight of life alone. Just as my daughter climbed on my lap to unload the cargo she carried, we can create daily rhythms that help us shift our burdens to Jesus.
The Bible doesn’t offer a formula for this supernatural exchange, but for me, it involves acknowledging Christ’s presence and articulating my need. Sometimes that looks like telling Jesus my concerns while I drive across town. Other times, it looks like reciting Scripture aloud to shift my focus from the wail of my worry to the hope of God’s Word. Now and then, it even looks like soapy hands raised in surrender as I wash the dishes with worship music blaring and tears streaming silently down my cheeks.
This disencumbering of my heart may look different each day, but it always entails drawing near to Jesus. Because we have a Savior who sees the invisible things we carry. And in His presence, we can trade the load that weighs us down for the love that holds us up.
Dear Jesus, I’m tired of trying to carry my burdens alone. Please awaken me to Your presence, and lighten my load as only You can. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
To the woman who is facing something hard or just feeling disconnected from God altogether … you’re invited to the You’re Going to Make It Tour with Lysa TerKeurst, Hope Darst, and Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Director of Theological Research Dr. Joel Muddamalle! Everything they’ve dreamed up for these special one-night events was planned with you in mind. Make plans to attend with a friend, and get your tickets today!
If you’re looking for a way to grow closer to Jesus, Alicia has created a 31-day digital devotional just for you. Grab a copy of Encounter: Delighting in Jesus Right Where You Are here, and visit Alicia Bruxvoort’s website for more encouragement.
We’d also love to meet you in our “Encouragement for Today Devotions Community Group” on Facebook, where women come together to pray, share scriptures, start gospel conversations and lift each other up every day.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
1 Peter 5:7, “Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries” (VOICE).
© 2023 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.