Bearing our Blessings

  • something that is carried; a load
  • a duty or responsibility
  • something oppressive or worrisome
  • that which is borne with difficulty
  • an obligation

These are all definitions of the word burden. And today, I felt each one of them in one way or another. Today, I allowed myself to become burdened. By nothing in particular, but everything in general.

This narrative is not a novel one: that we should reframe our burdens as blessings. And for good reason. Because while there are certainly burdens in life that are so heavy it’s hard to see the good…most generally in our first-world culture, burdens are the product of abundance.

Nonetheless, today I felt it all. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Crushed under the weigh of expectations (albeit mostly my own). I was just…burdened. So for myself (and for you) I thought I would unpack and try to appreciate these burdens for what they truly are.

Burden: I had a work call that didn’t come in when I thought it was going to and then ran way later than expected. // Blessing: I have a job that is flexible and allows me the freedom to work from home. And I have bosses who love my kids and wanted to say hi when they heard them in the background.

Burden: I had to dig out our checkbook to pay our water bill because the rural water district doesn’t do auto-drafts or online payments. // Blessing: I have clean, potable, running water in my house. In. My. House. I have lived in places that do not have this, and trust me…it is a blessing.

Burden: I was tripping over the open suitcases on the floor of our mudroom, still laying around unpacked from a trip we got home from three days ago. // Blessing: We have the means to travel to see family and friends who live over 500 miles away.

Burden: Lexi informed me that she got blood from a scratch on her sheets during nap. Her white sheets. That I washed less than a week ago. // Blessing: My daughter has her own bed in her own room where she gets to lay her head down at night in a warm house. And she can sleep just as soundly in sheets that are dirty as she does in sheets that are clean.

Burden: I did three loads of laundry today only to have the basket piled full with dirties again because of multiple outfit changes by my toddler and husband. // Blessing: We all have plenty of clothes to wear and machines that wash and dry those clothes easily and efficiently.

Burden: Because my work call went late, I needed to feed the baby as soon as I hung up. So my husband offered to cook, which left the kitchen looking like a war zone. // Blessing: Multiple. We have food in our fridge. And our pantry. I have a husband who cooks. And…cleans up.

Burden: All. Of. The. Pine. Needles. On. The. Floor. // Blessing: We have a beautiful Christmas tree that we decorated as a family, making the sweetest memories and the beginnings of family traditions.

Burden: There are a hundred things on the “to do” list that seems to just keep growing. Every day, it feels like I take one step forward and then fall on my face. It can often feel like there is not enough of me to go around. // Blessing: I have job where my work is valued. I have a family that needs and wants me. I have a beautiful house, a running car and more love in my life than I know what to do with.

If you’re feeling burdened today too, know that it’s ok. It’s ok to feel those hard feelings. It’s ok to acknowledge that some days are just too much. But as you sit in those hard moments, remember that you are most likely bearing your blessings.

You don’t have to live like this.

Yesterday morning I woke up in what I would call a “funk”. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and I had nothing specific on my agenda for the day. Still…I felt incredibly overwhelmed. Emotionally depleted. Anxious, even. Over nothing in particular, but everything in general.

I hate to admit…these aren’t entirely unusual emotions for me. And if I’m not careful, I can let these “feelings” go to far. So far that they can become debilitating. They consume me, and then overflow onto the people around me. Not all of the people, to be fair…I can hide it from the general public. But those who know me and whom I love dearly…they become the indirect victims of my emotional angst. If I catch myself slipping into it soon enough, I can sometimes prevent that from happening. Other times, not so much.

Thankfully, I have a husband who not only recognizes this piece of me, but also over the years has learned what I need to pull myself out of it. He doesn’t press for answers. He doesn’t push for action. He lets me breath. He gives me grace. These things may sound small, but in reality they. are. everything.

Yesterday morning, that looked like giving me a solo trip into town to run some errands (i.e., an excuse to drive 25 miles for a Starbucks iced latte) while he managed things at home. On the drive, I started one of the audiobooks that’s been sitting in my “to listen to” queue for a while – Present Over Perfect. I ran my errands, trying to soak in some much needed rays of Vitamin D and convince myself that today is a good day. I only half-heartedly listened to the words coming through my speakers. Until I heard this:

“You don’t have to damage your body, and your soul and the people you love most in order to get done what you think you have to get done. You don’t have to live like this.”
[Present over Perfect]

I stopped – hit the 30 second rewind button – listened again. And then again. I let the words soak into my soul and penetrate my weary heart.

I do not have to do all. of. the. things.

It’s like I just needed permission. But from who? Myself? My husband? The author of this book? I’m still not sure.

I write these things for the same reasons I write most things on this blog – not because I have it all figured out or because I have some magical answer. But because, one, it is extremely therapeutic for me to put my thoughts into words. And two, I know I am not the only one out there feeling and facing these things. And sometimes, all we need to know is that there is someone else is in the trenches with us. And friend, there is always someone in the trenches with you. His name is Jesus.

Sometimes, I forget. I forget that the creator of the universe also created me. I forget that while He made me flawed and imperfect and deficient in so many ways, that’s ok – because He also created me perfectly for His purpose. He created me in His image. And I need to be reminded of these words from my creator:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.   – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Maybe you need reminded of those words today, too. Maybe you need someone to tell you it’s ok. It’s ok to slow down. To take a deep breath. To throw that “to do” list out the window and instead spend some time just being and loving and living. It’s ok.

In fact, sometimes…it’s necessary.

With Grace,

Jen