Regrets, consequences of past actions or inaction, damaged relationships… what a heavy load they can be. Recent incidences in our life have brought to the forefront the overwhelming load of carrying the past with all its consequences and the subsequent impact on lives. Even though the incidences weren’t directly tied to me, it made me do some reflection. I thought about times in the past where I climbed over people in the corporate world for my own success… times I didn’t provide the care and support for people in desperate need… times I gossiped about others behind their backs… times that I can never make right, I will never have the opportunity to ask the people for forgiveness… times that have the potential for weighing down my whole life. A load I don’t want to carry.
Maybe you’re in the middle of a time of reflection. Life and all that it brings seems to either make you introspective or takes you into hiding! Once you realize that you can’t change the past but you can make a difference in your future… the process of unloading the weight from the past starts. A process that includes forgiving yourself… and that’s probably the most difficult for me. A process that includes putting the weight of the past down… refusing to carry it anymore… and that’s also difficult.
As a follower of Jesus, given the gift of faith, God has opened my eyes to the overwhelming mercy and grace that I was shown by Jesus’ work on this earth. Even when I don’t and can’t deserve it… he took the weight from me… relieved me from my overwhelming weighty burden so I could have a full life in him. So in the midst of the overwhelming grace and mercy… like C.S. Lewis said:
“I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.”
What do you need to forgive yourself for?
Then… the real challenge of setting the weight down. It’s interesting to me that, as humans, we are really adaptable and don’t even realize the heavy weight we sometimes carry. I remember a time that I got to the point of not even being aware of the weight I was carrying until I set it down. If you’ve ever backpacked, you can relate. We backpacked 100 miles with 50 pound packs and after a while, you didn’t even notice the weight until you put it down at the end of the day. And when you did… what a relief… what a sense of freedom… a “lightness” in even walking! I know that’s about physical weight but that’s also what it’s like when you can set down the weight of the past. Freedom, relief, a new “lightness” in living. I’ve felt it and want more!
… my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30
What do you need to set down? Do you need someone to help you shed the load? Ask…