Staggering toward Jesus
Director of Discipleship
I consider it a point of pride to carry an entire load all by myself. Whether it’s baggage at the airport, or groceries from the car, I think I can always squeeze in a little more. When my husband sees me stagger through the door with bulging bags weighing me down, he wordlessly (sometimes with an eye roll), lifts the bags away one by one. Ah—the relief and weightlessness make my arms feel like they are floating into the air!
This prideful habit of mine is a metaphor for the rest of my life too. I carry burdens of worry and stress—some needless and some unavoidable—whether it is grief for my parents’ failing health, worries for my children, or juggling over-commitments at work, home and church. Yet I clench my jaw and stagger on, determined to prove that I can bear it all.
Just as my shoulders are beginning to show damage from my pride, my soul takes a beating too. Jesus doesn't want us to let our pride get in the way of our well-being. As Eugene Peterson beautifully paraphrases, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Phil. 4:6-7 (The Message).
I have heard it said that worry is the illusion that you are doing something constructive.
We all know that being told to not worry or carry so much rarely helps the
problem. But when I look at the root of the problem in me—
my own pride—I can do something constructive. I can acknowledge my pride before Jesus and repent
(do a U-turn). I can ask him to shoulder the burdens for me. After all, he's standing in front of me with his arms stretched out.