I think it’s important to get that out of the way before I go on. It will help you understand where I’m coming from and what I am getting at.
Pile your troubles on God's shoulders - he'll carry your load, he'll help you out. He'll never let good people topple into ruin- Psalm 55:22 (MSG)
Reading this YouVersion Bible app verse of the day, Psalm 55:22, a few days ago, I specifically selected the graphic below because of the translation. I thought it was perfect because of how relatable and extremely “human” it sounded. It actually made me chuckle.
If you’re like me, “piling your troubles” on anyone’s shoulders sounds like something you’d rather die before doing. A lot of us have grown up internalizing the mindset that we should never be a burden to others. That sharing our worries and struggles with others meant we were bothering them. That we were weak. So no matter how many times our loved ones tell us, “I’m here for you,” “Let me know if you need help,” and all the others, we never take them up on the offer. Sometimes, we call it “independence.” We struggle alone, in silence. But we know the difference between that independence and real independence. You know, I get it. Sometimes, human beings say these things and when it’s time to really be there, they disappear. It happens and that’s life.
So I’ve carried this same dynamic into my relationship with God- cautious not to disturb Him, bother Him, and indirectly, not to let Him be God. Psalms 55:22 is God literally beckoning on us to PLEASE give Him our problems/burdens/hurts/frustrations/worries/fears/concerns. All of it!
Maybe you’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. On the contrary, I think it’s incredibly brave. You recognize where you fall short or where your strength can’t carry you any longer, you swallow your pride, and you lean on God’s shoulder for strength. Sometimes, He sends His shoulder in form of a friend, a family member, a new hobby, or an opportunity to serve others. Really, it could take any form.
Lately, I’ve found myself in a place where I’m having to lean on my loved ones a lot more. It is incredibly difficult and everything in me fights it but it has been so beautiful to see them love me so well.
And here is where my hypocrisy comes in… I tell my friends that I’m there for them and I mean it. I may not be available 24/7 because…well, life, but I do not mind putting some things on hold if they need me. Sometimes, I even get upset with them if I find out that they were dealing with something- big or small- by themselves and did not reach out to me. I can’t always fix their problems but it brings me the most joy if I can listen, validate, encourage, and simply be there beside them in whatever season of life that they are in. But when the tables are turned? You guessed right. I make excuses why it is best for me to carry my burdens in my heart and on my head. By myself. I rationalize all these excuses too. So God has been showing me how detrimental it is to these relationships that I claim to value so much when I thrive off being needed and not needing others. It isn’t a mark of strength, it’s just pride.
If you’re like me (hello!), no judgment whatsoever. Things may have happened in your life that make you think that that is the best way to deal with life. But God calls us to do otherwise. He calls us to give Him our burdens. He invites His body to carry each others’ burdens (Galatians 6:2). If one of your fears is that certain relationships in your life may not be made to carry certain burdens, that’s okay. Not everyone who you care about and who cares about you is the best person to talk to about certain things.
In one of my social work classes, while developing self-care plans, one of the prompts was to write down specific people who we could talk to in specific situations. For instance, your sister may not be the best person to call about your concerns about your career. She may have a different perspective about careers; a perspective that sometimes belittles your concerns. So maybe, that conversation is for your friend who just started a new job and shares your values surrounding careers. Your sister, however, may be your go-to person when your self-esteem has taken a beating from the feedback you got on the presentation you gave earlier. It is okay to have different people for different “burdens.” Actually, it is healthy to recognize that. Sometimes, you get the all-in-one deal with someone who you can talk to about everything. That’s wonderful too.
Trade your worries about being a burden to people who have shown up for you before and you know will show up for you again, for gratitude. Gratitude to be blessed with a circle of reliable and loving people or a person. Gratitude to have constant access to a God that can and will carry the weight of your burdens if you’ll let Him.
Let people love you. Let God be God.