When I share with you that I'm hurting it's because I need something from you. But what I need is not what you think I need.
You see, I don't need you to fix my problem.
I don't need advice.
I don't need you to tell me you'll pray for me.
I don't need you to recommend a therapist or support group.
I don't need you to give titles of books I should read.
I don't need you to give me a pep talk or remind me that "God is good all the time."
I don't need you to quote Scripture about peace that passes understanding or all things working together for good or God's ways being higher than our ways.
I don't need you to toughen me up by telling me I need to get over it, to put the past behind me, or to pick myself up by the bootstraps.
I simply need you to listen. To hear my heart. To allow me to express my feelings and accept them--whether you would have the same feelings in my situation or not.
It's your listening to me when I'm hurting that will help me to heal. Your listening validates my pain. Your listening reminds me that my feelings matter. What's more, your listening reminds me that I matter.
So will you please just listen?
We have a Heavenly Father who wants nothing but the best for His kids. Weighing ourselves down with unbearable circumstances, unreasonable expectations, and unexpressed emotions is far from God's best for us. So when He sees us struggling to stay on our feet, let alone move forward, because of the burdens we carry He comes alongside us and whispers into our ears three words that, if heeded, can change the direction of our lives: Come to me.
Our Father in Heaven not only invites us, but urges us to come to Him. It is not part of God's plan that we go it alone in this world. If we were created as self-sufficient beings we wouldn't need Him. So He offers us help on our journey. Help that only He can give.
When we are worn out from the despair of one thing after the next going wrong in our lives our Heavenly Father says, come to me. When we are overwhelmed with doubt that God could truly love us while allowing us to suffer heartache our Heavenly Father says, come to me. When we are burdened with discouragement because our prayers are seemingly going unanswered our Heavenly Father says, come to me.
This three-word directive paints a picture of a perfect father; a parent who is always there for His kids; a Daddy whose lap is always open, whose arms are always outstretched, whose tender comfort and empowering encouragement are always available. But our Perfect Father is not pushy. He doesn't force His way. We must come to Him.
And He makes a promise to all who do. It's not to take our problems away. It's not to make our worries disappear. It's not to simply give us what we think we need. He guarantees something far more beneficial: Rest for our souls.
A soul that is at rest has confidence that God controls every circumstance that we can't. A soul that is at rest has complete trust that while we know what we want, our Father knows what we need. A soul that is at rest does not get overwhelmed, does not blame, does not want to give up.
When we find that our burdens are too much for us to bear, we would be wise to take our Heavenly Father up on His offer: Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28, NLT).
It was only eight days into our marriage, while on a day trip to Knotts Berry Farm, that I discovered my wife and I were incompatible: I love roller coasters, Jan detests them. If she was given the choice between riding Montezooma’s Revenge and having Montezuma’s Revenge, most of our communication would take place through the bathroom door.
So in the interest of marital harmony, I took my new wife to check out all the attractions that did not include the words thrilling or death-defying in their brochure description. With Safety First as our (her) motto, we chose to venture into one of those optical illusion houses that was built in the side of a fake mountain.
To demonstrate the illusion that the floor was level when, in actuality, it was constructed on an angle, our tour guide asked for a volunteer. He looked past all the children who were eagerly waving their hands and chose Jan, who would never volunteer to do anything that would place her even near a spotlight.
She tried to beg off but the guide assured her that her assignment would be painless. He said, “All I want you to do is walk across the room and sit on this chair next to me.”
That sounded easy enough. But as Jan took her first step she realized the severity of the angle on which the floor was built. To a chorus of snickers, she trudged across the room looking like she was climbing up the down escalator wearing Herman Munster’s shoes.
When she finally made it safely to the chair, the guide, who seemed to relish in my wife’s disdain over being his visual aid, asked her name. “Jan,” she said, although clearly wishing to remain anonymous. Then he asked, “Where ya from?” She answered, “Indiana.”
“So what brings you to California?” he asked. Jan replied, “We’re on our honeymoon.” The guide’s comeback was instantaneous: “No wonder you’re walking like that!”
This incident may have happened in an amusement park, but my wife was far from amused. I, on the other hand, was nodding as I looked around the room, saying in my head, “That’s right.”
When I think back on that scene and picture my bride dragging along, struggling to take the next step, it makes me think of how many of us go through life with a similar gait. We plod along, fighting the forces that would hold us down, praying that we can muster the strength to keep moving onward and upward.
People today are weary. Week after week, day after day, we drag ourselves from one activity to the next, lugging burdens we don’t even realize we’re carrying, striving to reach goals we can’t even identify. Even those who claim to walk in the transforming power of Christ seem to be schlepping along, weighed down all too easily by the worries of the world. And our Creator grieves.
This is not His plan for our lives. His desire is that we strip off every weight that slows us down (Heb. 12:1)—our fears, our doubts, our past, our pride, our self-reliance, our insecurities—so that we can not only walk and not be weary, but that we will actually soar like eagles (Isa. 40:31).
As believers in an omnipotent and trustworthy God, we are not to settle for being ordinary, we are extraordinary; we haven’t just been given life, but abundant life; we are not meant to simply survive, but to thrive; our glass is not merely half-full, but full to overflowing. Ours is a God who, despite what the enemy may use to weigh us down, not only has the ability to do anything we ask, He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or imagine.
For us to live life to the fullest we must identify, then strip off the things that weigh us down. We must give our burdens to the Burden-bearer. Why keep plodding through life when we were created to soar?
(This is an excerpt from my next book, Free to Soar.)
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I am a speaker, author, and blogger. I help wounded souls find safety in the arms of a Heavenly Father where they can experience the hope and healing He longs to give.