“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:2 NIV
We are called as Christians to bear one another’s burdens–to lighten the load for our friends and neighbors by walking together and sharing in the joys, sorrows, and trials of this world. Have you ever tried to carry something really heavy all by yourself? It’s a lot easier if you get a few other people to lend a hand. Many hands make for light work, and the more people we have sharing the load, the lighter the burden is for everyone.
I am a natural burden-bearer. I want to help people, and pray for them, and walk with them through the usual messes of life. I use an app to track prayer requests and to remind me to pray for certain friends throughout the day and throughout the week. I try to regularly ask folks how I can be praying for them, and what I might be able to do to try to ease their burdens. Because, after all, this is how I can fulfill the law of Christ, right?
And then I find myself on the other side of the equation. Bearing a burden that just seems too heavy to carry on my own. And I know that I need to ask for help, or prayer, or accountability, or just to not be alone in carrying this load.
And all of a sudden, this whole idea of bearing burdens starts to feel a whole lot more like being a burden.
I sit there, alone with my thoughts and a drafted text message: “I need some prayers. I can’t do this alone.” My thumb hovers over the send button as my thoughts begin to race.
What if I am interrupting something more important with this silly request?
Am I being too needy?
What if I am asking too much or too often?
Am I being too much of a burden to my friends? After all, they’ve got their own stuff to worry about and carry.
I sit there, hesitant to send that message, and hearing a whole lot of lies. Because, let’s be honest. The enemy wants me to try to carry my burdens alone. He wants us all to walk around in our own little worlds bearing the weight of the world on our shoulders.
But, the truth is that we are created for community. We aren’t designed to carry the weight of the world on our own. We are designed to walk alongside friends who can help bear our burdens, even in the midst of life’s busiest and messiest seasons. We are wired to share our deepest struggles with great vulnerability so that we can look into the eyes of another human and hear the words “you are not alone” whether they come through a text message, an in person conversation, or a handwritten note.
We need each other because we are human. And needing other humans doesn’t make you or I a burden. Rather, it helps us to do that which we are called to do: fulfill the law of Christ by bearing one another’s burdens.
And so, today I pray for the courage and the boldness to trust that bearing burdens does not equate to being burdens. I pray for the strength and the vulnerability to hit the send button on that text message or to pick up the phone or to pull that friend aside and say, “hey, I need you to help me carry this.” And I pray for trust in a God that is bigger than our busy seasons and messy lives who connects us to one another and gives us the collective strength to truly bear one another’s burdens.