Stones in your Shoes?
The cares of this world hinder us more than we realize. They are painful irritants like stones in our shoes that interfere with our walk until we stop and deal with them. If you're like me, I tend to unconsiously accumulate my cares until I become overwhelmed. Sound familiar?
I was sharing my list of cares with a friend the other day, and our conversation when something like this: "I haven't washed the fronts of my cabinets in a year. They have spills and streaks, especially when the sun shines--they look awful."
Before she could respond, I continued. "There are cobwebs everywhere in my house and I haven't done last year's spring cleaning much less fall cleaning. . . and I have to do my taxes and the porch floor has holes and there's so much to do and . . . blah, blah, blah."
It doesn't seem to matter how insignificant the cares are (like cobwebs and cabinet doors), cares don't have to make sense to anyone else, they're yours. Being a widow in a big, old farmhouse, I have a lot to be responsible for. I don't trip over the big cares like having to have two giant trees cut down ($4,000). I knew I had to deal with it and so I did. No, I trip over the little ones. The daily cares. That little stone in your shoe--even one--can end up occupying your total attention.
My friends know that when I'm feeling overwhelmed it's usually temporary. I just need to lean for a few minutes until I see clearly that I'm dealing with "stones in my shoe."
Galatians 6:2 says, "Carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ."
It's wonderful to have friends that don't judge you. Those who acknowledge the reality of what you're dealing with then help you see things in perspective.
However, for the full picture we have to continue reading to Galatians 6:5. It says "For each one should carry his own load." Huh? But I thought you said . . .
There are two parts to consider when handling the cares of life. 1. The obligation of the Body of Christ to show compassion and forbearance, understanding our mutual weaknesses, and 2. We have to own up to our responsibility to confess our burdens to the Lord. He's the only one who can remove the stones in our shoes.
You may be a great runner, but when there's something jabbing at your feet it hurts. We can talk about it until we're blue in the face, but the only way to be rid of them is to ask Jesus to take them away.
We are each responsible for their own sins. I've never thought of worry as a sin before. But, when we worry, aren't we saying God is not taking care of us? So, that is the "load" (Gal. 6:5) I must carry myself--to the Lord. A listening friend can show compassion and perhaps help us see we need to address the cares we are carrying, but they can't do the confessing for us.
Practical Suggestions: this has worked for me.
1. LIST - When feeling overwhelmed with cares of this world--make a list. Write down every care that's bothering you. Keep writing until you run out of thoughts.
2. EVALUATE - Step back and look at what you've written. Is there one theme? Is it fear? A lack of trust that God will take care of you? Something the Lord might want you to tend to? Try to identify the biggest stone in your shoe.
3. LIFT - Lift all of them up to the Lord--each and every thing written on your list.
4. REPENT -Ask God for His forgiveness.
5. GIVE THANKS - Thankfulness stamps our prayers with the seal of faith. He hears us, and His desire is to remove every pebble from our shoes so we can run the race He has set before us.
Father, forgive us for accumulating cares until be are overwhelmed. You never intended us to live burdened down with the cares of this world. Remind us, Oh Lord, when we are holding on to those things we need to confess. Thank you that those who You have set free are free indeed. Amen.