Carrying the right stuff.
I’ve got things that I carry with me every day mainly because they're necessary for my day-to-day life. I carry my cell phone, wallet and car keys. Sometimes I have a pencil in my pocket, or a handkerchief, sometimes some change. But that’s just the small stuff because there can be some other bigger things you might find me carrying, too.
Sometimes I carry other people’s problems or responsibilities, sometimes other people's fears or concerns or expectations. The big problem with what I'm carting around much of the time is that the things I often feel an obligation to take on don’t really belong to me, and the truth is they really don't even belong with me. Because the truth is they aren't mine.
When I'm carrying something, regardless of how I ended up with it, the temptation is always there to make it mine, even if it clearly belongs to someone else and especially when it clearly belongs to God. The real problem is that lugging all those other things around makes it almost impossible for me to carry the things that I really am made to have on me. Things like love and peace and joy and courage and grace and faith and boldness and clarity.
It's a simple thing that can get really complicated because you and I are constantly faced with a never-ending supply of people and things that are looking for someone to carry them. There are people right now around me and you who are just looking for some other person to carry them, emotionally, or spiritually, or practically or financially. The enemy has a boatload of things for me to carry - guilt, fear, condemnation, unbelief, hatred, unforgiveness, and more. Carrying that stuff never ends well.
The authentic challenge then becomes knowing what or who to carry when and how. The reality is when I’m carrying something that God has given me to carry, even if it involves another person or a very difficult situation, he actually carries the bulk of the load, and it's really more about me just walking with him in that place. The truth is even when he does give me something to carry, it doesn't mean that what I'm carrying isn't difficult or heavy or painful. It just means that there is grace with me that makes what would normally be impossible, possible.
Scripture to consider - Isaiah 46:4 - And I'll keep on carrying you when you're old. I'll be there, bearing you when you're old and gray. I've done it and will keep on doing it, carrying you on my back, saving you.
As you walk this journey today, what have you been carrying around lately that God has clearly not intended for you to carry?
How have you expected others to carry you in ways that haven't been appropriate?
Can you feel the difference between the things that God has for you to carry and the things that other people just want you to carry?
What are some things that you really are meant to carry that you've struggled with?
How will you invite God to guide you in this endeavor of carrying?
It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.
― Lou Holtz
Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.
― Charles Spurgeon
Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.
― W. C. Fields
We carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute.
― Buenaventura Durruti
I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means - except by getting off his back.
― Leo Tolstoy
A simple prayer for Carrying:
Father, thank you more than anything for all the ways you carry me and sustain me. Thank you that even when I am carrying something painful or difficult, it is always resting in your hands, not on my shoulders. Thank you for teaching me the difference between what I am made to carry and what I may be asked to carry. Teach me to clearly know the difference between the two.