Burdens We’re not Called to Carry

rock via kimberlyanncoyle.com

I would love to be one of these people who hop out of bed with a bluebird on their shoulder. Instead, I get out of bed, and I feel the throbbing of teeth clenched tight throughout the night. My jaw aches every morning. I have the tell-tale signs of a woman who just might grind her teeth to little nubs if I don’t begin wearing a night guard, or in an alternate universe, I become someone who experiences stress free living.

I woke up this morning with the usual sore jaw and an appointment at the dentist. He once asked me why I’m so stressed, and I stammered something silly about teenagers and desperate housewives and the catch-all phrase “I’m busy”, but my truth is a little more complicated. The truth is, I don’t know what’s mine to carry.

The real cause of my stress is this broken and messy and hurting planet. I find myself incapable of knowing what I should pick up from it and what I’m meant to lay down. Do I carry the weight of the world news? The twisted “art” that serves as entertainment in this country? Or do I let those pieces fall for someone else more qualified and capable to gather, to bind up, and carry?

Do I pick up the crisis in our school district? Do I gather up and store in my body the sound of dogs barking and lockers slamming during the canine drug sweep at my daughter’s high school? Do I carry the weight of her friend’s impending brain surgery? Or hold tight to my friend’s grief at the loss of her life partner?

Do I bear the weight of my mother in law’s loneliness? My kid’s hurt feelings? My husband’s frustrating job situation? What of this is mine? What do I carry?

I forget what I own, and I gather it all up. I pack the pain in, and I store it in my very bones. In my clenched teeth. I am a desperate housewife, but I am desperate for God’s Kingdom come. Here. Now. In this heart, in this house, in this town, in this country, in this world. I want to see some of the glory now, and I am tired of waiting, tired of holding the pain close to my mouth when my mouth struggles to form the words we need to hear most. “Peace. Be still. God is with us.”

I can’t speak these words through a jaw clenched tight in fear and stress and pain. If you came here today for encouragement, all I can offer you is a word of lament. There is a place for this as a believer, a place for saying this world is too much for us with human hearts and brittle bones. The needs are so great, and our bodies aren’t built for the stooping, the gathering, the unbearable weight of the effort. There is a place for saying, Lord come quickly for I don’t know what is mine to carry.


What is one thing you know you need to lay down? What is one thing you feel called as a believer to carry?


  • Emily

    I hear you as if you were in my own head. 🙂 Serendipitously, we are doing the life of Moses in my women’s Bible Study group and were just discussing Numbers 11 this week where Moses cries out to God with the desperate feelings of being overwhelmed by the problems of all the Israelites. (Numbers 11:14 – I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.) And I think it is beautiful that God does not chastise Moses for these feelings but sees that he is overburdened and grants him help.

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  • Yes the teeth clenching and all those chasing thoughts that seem to weigh a thousand pounds. Good words.