Did I get your attention with that title on this third day of 2017? I hope so, because it occurred to me that mules are considered “beasts of burden”– and while someone might accuse you or me of being “stubborn as a mule” at times — we are NOT mules and not designed to carry heavy burdens! Trying to carry these burdens not only interferes with our ability to move forward, but also with our ability to pursue our purpose and fulfill our potential.
I thought this passage and the poem following it are especially fitting to ponder in the opening days of a new year … but also a good reminder for any time we allow burdens to weigh us down!
“Haven’t you been known to pick up a few bags?
Odds are, you did this morning.
Somewhere between the first step on the floor
and the last step out the door,
you grabbed some luggage.
You stepped over to the baggage carousel
and loaded up.
Don’t remember doing so?
That’s because you did it without thinking.
Don’t remember seeing a baggage terminal?
That’s because the carousel
is not the one in the airport;
it’s the one in the mind.
And the bags we grab are not made of leather;
they’re made of burdens.
The suitcase of guilt.
A sack of discontent.
You drape a duffel bag of weariness
on one shoulder
and a hanging bag of grief on the other.
Add on a backpack of doubt,
an overnight bag of loneliness,
and a trunk of fear.
you’re pulling more stuff than a skycap.
No wonder you’re so tired at the end of the day.
Lugging luggage is exhausting.
What about your soul?
When your heart is hungry,
when your dreams are thirsty,
when your spirit has run dry.
Where do you turn?
I’d like to urge you to turn to your Shepherd.
If you let Him,
your Shepherd will refresh your spirit
by lightening your load–
by releasing you from the burdens
you were never intended to bear:
burdens of worry, guilt, hopelessness,
fear, shame, doubt, loneliness….
the burdens of life.
God is saying to you,
‘Set that stuff down!
You’re carrying burdens you don’t need to bear.
‘Come to me,’ He invites,
‘all of you who are weary
and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28).
If we let Him, God will lighten our loads.”
–Max Lucado in “Traveling Light”
Max Lucado’s excerpt reminded me of this poem:
You Never Did Let Go
“As children bring their broken toys
with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God,
because He was my Friend.
But then, instead of leaving Him
in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
with ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
‘How can You be so slow?’
‘My child,’ He said, ‘what could I do?
You never did let go.'”
So what are YOUR thoughts?
Are there some burdens and heavy luggage you’re dragging around that you need to release? (I’m still working on identifying some in my life!)
Would you like to stop being a “beast of burden” and let go, so the Shepherd can bear your burdens instead?