The Weight of the World

 

 

He carried the weight of the cross so we wouldn’t have to carry the weight of the world.

 

The tears were coming and I just couldn’t hold them in anymore. I knew this conversation was going to turn into one of those inexplainable, “It’s a girl thing, really, I’m ok, don’t worry,” moments us ladies have sometimes.  You know, the moments I’m talking about: when your husband asks you what’s wrong and the weight of the world moves from your shoulders to streaming down your cheeks in seconds.

The weight of the world.  

Where did that phrase come from, anyways?

The only One who truly knows how much the world weighs is the One who told us to never try and carry it’s worries.  

How ironic is that?

Oh Jesus, being a woman in today’s world feels heavy sometimes. The world wants us to carry so much.

Beauty – (not wrinkles and highlights way past due)

Success – (and homemaking and motherhood is not enough)

A picture perfect home (not a real, lived in sanctuary for our family)

Unrealistic Romance (like the kind in Nicholas Spark’s novels on a daily basis)

There it is ladies, pile it all up and hold it on your shoulders, but make sure you don’t let anything fall.  Actually, don’t let it get off balance at all, or then YOU will fall over onto the floor.

Is this really what Jesus calls the abundant life he died and rose again to give us?

I’m here to toss off the heavy weights and say NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week I’ve been on vacation at the beach.  This is where I usually find my soul at it’s resting peak. I’ve always felt the closest to God on the shores of his vast oceans.  But this week, I wore it, girls.  I stacked on the heavy weights of the world.  I started looking far in the distance of time and worrying about the future. I started looking right and left and wondering how I was measuring up. Then, I started looking down, discouraged and sad.

But where I looked LAST was the most important. I looked in His Word.

When you start feeling down, look down into His Word.

Here, we will find the strength to toss off the weights the world has been piling up on our shoulders, and trade them for the lightness of peace Jesus left us as a parting gift before he went up to heaven.

 

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 NLT

So friends, here are the verses I found when I looked down:

To battle looking too far into the future:

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 MSG

To battle looking at others in comparison:

“But you are not like that, for you are a CHOSEN people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NLT

You are chosen for the special work he has for you today.

To battle looking down in discouragement:

“This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NLT

And when you feel the heavy weight the world is trying to keep on your shoulders, remember the weight of the cross he carried for you so you could walk lightly,  steady and in step with Him.

He is good.

*This is the post 3 in a series of 9 on the Fruit of the Spirit.  I pray it encourages you, sister friend!

Amy

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When You’re Just Not Joyful

Everything seems as though it’s going exactly according to plan. You’re living the life you’ve always dreamed of: married, with a few kids, and a pretty house.  Everybody is healthy and happy, except for one thing: you can’t shake this grumpy, irritable attitude.  Have you been there, friends?  I have, and it’s not fun…for you or your family who has to deal with you!

Two years ago, our adoption was final and our life was adjusting to it’s new normal as a family of five.  Looking back now, I think I was experiencing some post adoption stress. I should have been feeling relief that our long adoption journey was over, and that our family was together again, but all I could feel was a short stack of joy, and a tall stack of stress, irritability, and sadness.

I remember the day I realized something inside of me was wrong. We were in the mountains at a beautiful cabin, just the five of us. I should have been all smiles and happy and joyful, but I started barking orders for my kids to get ready for bed.

My husband looked and me and said, “What’s wrong with you?”

And I honestly couldn’t answer him.

I reached out and got the help I needed with the kids.  Then, with a while to sit and reflect in prayer I realized how I’d lost my joy:

I’d taken my focus off of Jesus.

The season before, during our adoption, I depended on Jesus every single day to move mountains and make miracles happen. I lived in Africa for two months by myself.  

But now that life was back to usual, I was having trouble keeping my eyes fixed on him for the “everyday.”

Can you relate? Do you ever find yourself running low on joy? The kind of joy I’m talking about is the kind that the Holy Spirit grows in us, defined as: cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness.

This kind of joy that staying connected to Jesus brings is not situational. It is a deep, abiding hope that brings cheerfulness in the everyday mundane, a calm delight in stressful situations, and a gladness of eternal good to come in the midst of dark sorrow.

Where joy is not humanly possible, is where we experience Jesus’ joy.

“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” ~Jesus, John 15:11

What are “these things” that Jesus says will fill us with His Joy?

1. Realize how greatly loved you are by Him.

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” Ephesians 3:19

2.  Keep His commandments, which simplified are to love Him and love others. 

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

3. Abide, or remain in His Love.

This is how the fruit of Joy is produced by Him. We remain in Him and His Spirit brings joy to our hearts; joy of what is to come because we belong to Him.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”  Galatians 5:22

Have you taken your eyes off of Him friend?  Are you lacking the JOY only abiding in Him can bring? Refocus on Him and his joy will be your joy once again, no matter what situation you are facing.

He pulled me out of my joyless slump and He will be faithful to pull you out of yours, too.

Amy

*This is the second post in a 9 week series on the fruit of the Spirit. I pray it encourages you, sweet friend!