Have you ever felt like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? Do you ever have this unsettling need to solve everyone’s problems, and yet somehow, still don’t know where to get started?
I felt that way tonight. Typical me was on my evening walk on a ol’neighborhood trail that my feet tread upon at least thrice a week. But tonight something was different. As I passed through the first tunnel under the busy road, I stopped dead in my tracks.
I generally like graffiti as I think of it as a beautiful expression of the soul. Sometimes our souls need to be heard beyond the lights of our computer screens. In the real world, breathing fresh air, our souls have somethings they need to share. Sometimes it’s artistic scribbles, or fantastical designs, but sometimes… sometimes… it’s poetic cries for help.
And this time, I couldn’t just walk by.
I wanted to help, so my soul cried out to God, What can I do?! I’m no better off, my life isn’t perfect or peachy keen as a jelly bean. This was no pity party for the artist, but a sheer desire to somehow relieve them of this burden that they carried.
I placed my hand on the centered “I” and prayed, that God would free them of this pain and burden, and bring them into peace and joy and love. Peeking to my left and right, every so often to make sure I wasn’t scaring off incoming strangers, I simply asked God to help and be present in their lives.
As I continued down the tunnel, I saw more tears sprayed black through the end of a spray paint can onto cold, dark concrete walls. During the day, I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at night, when I assume this art was created, it would have been dark throughout. Sheer pain spattered on cold walls, with no sense of light to cling to or hope for.
Were they drunk? Maybe. On drugs? It’s a possibility. Completely clean and sober? Could be. But no matter what state they were in, these words are that of a beautiful soul begging for help.
I don’t know what you believe about this world, but you must have some sense of good and bad, light and dark, or God and evil. We are all fighting some sort of battle, this much is true. The only way I know of to overcome our demons is to 1.Pray and 2. Pray together. We need to take care of each other, even, and especially, those we don’t know (because some people don’t have anybody who will pray for them). It’s the only way we’re going to make it through, while being able lift some of the burdens that our world carries.
And what better way to become more like Jesus, than understanding an ounce of what it was like to bear the world’s burdens on His shoulders, and more painfully, in His heart.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, ESV).
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6, NKJV).
Because I fully believe in the presence of good and evil in this world, I also think it is incredibly important that we consider what we are feeding our souls. I’ve learned a lot recently about what my soul can, and cannot ingest. For example, though I adore British and American crime shows like Grantchester and Blue Bloods, I cannot, for the life of me, watch them. It creates within me this inner unsettling fear and anxiety that I cannot shake. It’s a really creepy darkness that only tries to overwhelm me while consuming those shows. However, my soul happily munches on Hallmark movies, reality dance competition shows (such as World of Dance), and inspirational movies. Those all make my heart race, and make me want to desperately follow my dreams.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23, NIV)
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2, NIV).
We need to be alert of what we can, and cannot take. Of the foods that feed our souls, and those eat away at the lining of them. What’s bad for me, might not be bad for you, and what’s good for you, might not be so good for me… That’s the beauty of God creating us differently, yet still in the image of Himself. We all are different on the surface, yet in the core we’re the same.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27, NKJV).
Which is why we need to take care of each other, because at the core 1. We are all struggling with something, that we 2. Cannot handle alone, because we were 3. Made to need each other, as we are 4. Created in His image, and 5. He created us because He didn’t want to be alone either.
“And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:18-22, NKJV).
What you need to know is God loves us. God loves you. Wherever you are. Whatever you are going through. Just as you feel the pain of a stranger, He feels your pain – every single little bit of it. None of it is stupid, or irrational. God created you. God knows you. And He darn well LOVES YOU.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, KJV).
You are not burdening Him with your troubles, and nothing is new to him.
“As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12, NKJV).
He is here, and He is waiting, for YOU, with arms open wide.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).
If you are not burdened with your own load, and you stumble across someone that is, I ask that you stop in your tracks and pray. I completely understand discomfort in praying for a stranger in the moment, so if that isn’t your path, a silent prayer will do. God hears all. Listen to the names that God brings to mind, and send them right back to him with a well-wish or two.
If I’ve learned anything in my humble life thus far it is that there is power in prayer, and that power changes things. It changes me. It changes you. And God is so delighted when we come to Him with our frustrations, wants, struggles, hopes and needs. Make God’s day, and let loose the weight of world from your shoulders, and lay it at His feet. Whether it be our own weights or those we see others carrying, we don’t always have to “got this,” and God’s here when we finally realize that we don’t. So as cheesy as it sounds, “Let go, and let God,” because there is a whole new level of freedom awaiting you at the feet of Jesus.