“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” -Galatians 6:2 [ESV]
I’ve been thinking about this verse a lot lately. Possibly because it’s been the verse on my Scripture Tea for the last few days or so… Or it could be the fact that God is showing me what it truly means to bear another’s burden as I’m packing for a week of rest and rejuvenation.
I’ve needed a vacation for a long time. Time to be pulled out my world that I see on a daily basis, and spend time away in a place that knows and loves me. While I’m at said travel destination, I plan on visiting a few close friends that I haven’t seen in several months. Considering I used to see them on a daily-weekly basis, several months can see like a really long time!
One thing I really love to do is encourage friends through gifts. Working at a thrift store ministry really helps me succeed at this passion! It’s amazing how God provides for people through this ministry, and how many gifts create themselves as I find things for friends that will either encourage them or fulfill a practical need.
I also love organizing things, and seeing just how much I can pack into a small space [because I’m cool like that]. Much traveling and moving has created an experienced resume for this task. The problem is luggage can become heavy, and traveling on my own, I have to strategize just how heavy my suitcase can be if I need to lift it over my head without breaking my back [assuming they don’t gate-check, which hopefully they do!]… Also, how full can I stuff my backpack and still have it fit under the seat in front of me?
With this image in mind, here are a few things I am learning about bearing each other’s burdens:
- It will seem very exciting at first… the rush of helping out a loved one.
- It’ll take time and prayer, but God will provide.
- It’ll take sacrifice. Helping another with their struggles and hurdles will mean less time to work through your own problems. Thinking about my luggage – the more gifts I packed for my friends meant less space to pack my own clothes.
- Which makes me think about the importance of taking care of your own needs first. In the flying frame of reference, one must put on their oxygen mask before helping someone near to them. I used to think that was so selfish, but now I get it… If I can’t breathe, there’s no way I’ll be in any way, shape or form to help someone else. I needed to pack my own clothes, toothpaste, shoes etc, before I found room for my friend’s gifts.
- That doesn’t mean solely focus on your own stuff. I definitely chose the amount of clothes I needed for a week, and still sacrificed space for those I’m choosing to encourage.
- It’s not always going to be easy. The idea of helping and doing so creatively is definitely invigorating at first, however when it comes to lifting the luggage over my head to fit in an overhead bin… it may seem less exciting. Loving people through their struggles can literally feel burdensome, like added weight on the shoulders. It may be exhausting at times. But in the end, all that heavy lifting will probably make you stronger and more fortitudinous.
So that is what I’ve learned so far… I just wanted to share some wisdom I acquired about the sacrifices that come alongside bearing burdens. I think we need to be more intentional when we go into relationships and expect the exciting as well as the exhausting times, the joyous and the sad, the laughter and the conflicts… This way we can better care for each other on the peaks and in the valleys of life, and the rainy days won’t seem like so much of a disappointment as they are an opportunity to puddle-jump and dance in the rain with most beloved friends.