When The Burdens Are Too Heavy
I've been reading a book written by an anonymous fourteenth-century mystic--a book entitled The Cloud of Unknowing.
I know that's probably one of the nerdiest sentences that most of you have ever read. For the record, it's not the nerdiest sentence I've ever written, but it's close.
At any rate, the author of this book wrote about the virtues of the contemplative life. In this person's mind, this essentially meant eschewing things like money, food, and other necessities in order to pursue a life of prayer, meditation and the like.
Sounds awesome, doesn't it?
Even so, I love so much of what the author wrote about desiring God, seeking peace, practicing mindfulness and a whole host of other things that I need more of in my life.
But I also know that there is no way I could do all the things the author asserts I'd need to do in order to be truly close to God.
I mean, I'm so bad at sitting still and praying that most of the time I fall asleep. I tried again the other day just to be sure and woke myself up snoring softly. I was softly snoring. Don't believe it, if you don't want to, but it was soft.
Do you ever feel like the really good stuff when it comes to spirituality is always just beyond your reach? And then to top it off, there's always some fantastic Christian in your life, or on your Facebook feed or the television who loves to share all the things they are doing to be so fantastic.
And no matter how hard you try, you can't seem to do what they do... so you stop trying.
Here's some good news, though. I read this amazing line from Dr. Diana L. Hayes where she speaks right into that kind of self-doubt and blows it apart. Check it out:
This is not why Jesus died and rose again. He died and rose again to give life, not to take it away. he died to open up our lives to their limitless possibilities and not to restrict them by negativity, self-doubt or fear.Come on! You know that fires you up today. And just when you were starting to feel poorly about your spiritual life, too.
Jesus never wanted us to feel burdened by our relationship with God. In fact, one of his most wonderful statements to the people who gathered to hear him speak once went something like this:
"Come to me everyone who is over-burdened and exhausted from trying so hard, and I will give you rest. Because I did not come here to put more burdens on you than you can carry, but to make that burden lighter." (Matthew 11:28-30)
If you are feeling overburdened today, set the burdens down and know that you don't need to carry them any longer. Just be. Live into the limitless possibilities God has in mind for you. And know that you are loved.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.