The church was quiet. All eyes turned forward to listen to the older woman speaking at the microphone. Her voice cracked with tearful emotion as she begin talking about a verse in Matthew that touched her heart over the course of a year-long study we had been doing.
She began to read the words of Jesus – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…(Oh I love this verse, my mind began to think) … 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. (Rest for your souls … good stuff right there ..) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
During the course of her reading the verse, I immediately felt like an immense weight had been lifted off my shoulders, er shoulder. Shoulder? What was that noise? And why am I physically feeling absolutely no pressure on my left shoulder?
I kept my gaze focused ahead, now confused and distracted enough by my own miraculous light-yolked left shoulder situation to no longer be listening to the woman as I gave my shoulders a subtle wiggle. And that’s when I realized what happened. My bra strap had snapped and was no longer connected on one side.
It’s in this moment where I feel that I perfected my emotional nod-with-the-crowd face while on the inside panicking at the immediate and rapid response to gravity that was happening on my left side. Oh my goodness, did anyone else notice? Thankfully all eyes seemed to be focused ahead, oblivious to the fact that a nightmare of mine was occurring. Could anyone see the strap? I casually glanced over. Oh yes, I am wearing a sheer shoulder paneled shirt today. Awesome, so yes, the ladies behind me are probably noticing the strap creeping up my back as it heads …. Yep there it goes, over my shoulder. The room broke out in applause as the woman’s sharing time was up and she walked away. I need to clap, how can I do this without creating any more movement? Ah yes, the left-arm-still, right-fingertips-lightly-tap-the-left-palm clap.
Thankfully the time ended 20 minutes after the great “unburdening” and I shuffled my way out, clutching my Bible and books tightly to my lopsided chest and broke into a huge laugh as soon as my car door shut. This would happen to me.
Anyways, the whole thing got me thinking though. If only it was that easy to just hand over our heavy burden and have that strain be taken off our shoulders! (Literally in my case above, but more realistically, figuratively in our lives.) Jesus tells us in Matthew 11 that we are to come to Him and hand over our worries, cares, anxieties, and doubts and He will give us rest for our souls. This same messaged is echoed throughout the Bible. Psalm 55:22 says “Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you.” and 1 Peter says “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”
But how do we do that? Here are some of my thoughts today:
1. Believe He is capable, that He cares, and that He is willing. More than any other lesson I have been learning in this season of my life, it is that if I believe in God (which I wholeheartedly do), then I need to believe His character and His words. His character is proven over and over and over again in the Bible and traits like compassion, love, mercy, grace, faithfulness, capability, deliverance, power, shine through the stories of the Old and New Testament. Because I know Him, I know that my worries, anxieties and cares are in the best hands possible and that He truly does want to carry them for me. (In fact, He already knows how this will all end.)
2. Practice. We have heard those words “practice makes perfect” before and I think in this situation, more than any, it becomes accurate. When we begin to make intentional choices to choose to give God our cares, it begins to break a mental habit that we have to carry it. We have to practice praying intentionally about that care and begin to substitute prayer for worry. We have to practice deciding to have gratitude for the problem, thankful that we have a chance to develop ourselves.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)
3. Trust. Once we take our worries off of the spin cycle in our brain, we can begin to breath, feeling the weight starting to lessen as we remember whose hands our situation is in. That’s when we make the active choice to trust that God hasn’t forgotten about us or that He is intentionally trying to cause you harm or pain. If you are a Christ follower, then you can be assured “ that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God…” (Romans 8:28 NLT) So we make an active choice to rest in that trust.
If you are struggling today to figure out why you still feel like the burden is heavy, I prayerfully suggest that you spend some time with God today. It begins with simply forming a relationship with Him that goes both ways because it’s near impossible to trust a stranger and believe that they have good intentions.
Guys, this isn’t easy stuff! I struggle with it all the time. I give over my worry to God and then have a panic moment and race to bring it back in my hands. Some days it feels like a constant tug of war mentally, back and forth, back and forth. I trust you! WAIT!!! Kidding, kind of, here you go, I trust you …. Ummm, but what if ….
This is where practice comes in. We have to train those spiritual muscles of response just as we have to train our physical muscles. Keep verses on hand to read through when your anxiety begins to bubble. Pray. Talk to Him. And I guarantee you, with everything I have and am, that He really will give you rest and that you can be filled with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Who would have ever thought a breaking bra strap would lead to a blog post? Haha, not me, but hey, God uses these things in our lives for a reason. I’m just thankful no one called me Droopy.