August 11, 2021

Laying Down the Burdens by Carol Harrison

 I am an over packer. You know, the person who packs way more in their suitcase than they could possibly use - just in case I need it. Over and over, I have returned from a trip promising to learn to leave more behind and not be burdened with a suitcase on the edge of being overweight. No more will I have to lug around things I didn't need in the first place. No more will I stress about whether the baggage handler will ask for more money or to repack my suitcase, leaving things behind, and have to do it in front of a line of other waiting passengers. 

Even traveling on the train where they allowed more baggage per person, I soon realized I needed to be able to look after that baggage at places we planned to stay for a few days. But traveling in my own vehicle might be the hardest place of all to keep that promise to myself about over packing. After all, what I don't use can just stay in the car can't it? 

Many times I have read the verses in Matthew 11: 28-30 where Jesus talks about burdens, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Reading these words and even memorizing them years ago doesn't always mean they sink in. Too often I wrestle with hanging on to all the things that are weighing me down, that I think I need to accomplish, or that others expect me to do and be. Just like those over packed bags when I travel, my life has too much in it that chases away rest.

 In fact, too often restlessness invades my life. Appointments, expectations (both my own and what I think others expect of me), and obligations fill the hours of my day. Some weeks, it feels like those never allow a time to pause, reflect, and rest. Ideas flood my mind and the list of projects I long to tackle in writing, scrapbooking, and storytelling grows longer. How can it all fit, especially mixed in with all those expectations of daily living. Even during sleep, they invade, wake me up, and beg to be worked on. 

Instead of taking that to-do list to God and asking him to help me pare it down, to learn to

rest in His plan rather than trying to do it on my own, I wrestle against resting, against pausing to reflect, and against giving something up. I become like a stubborn child who wants to 'do it myself'. Why do I not remember to first go to Jesus, take time to sit at his feet and learn from him? Why don't I lay all the fears, burdens, frustrations, and uncertainties at the foot of the cross and then leave them there instead of insisting I can carry them all by myself? 

Rest. Getting rid of burdens. Trusting Jesus knows exactly what I need and will supply it at the appropriate time. These are the things I need to remember to do each day. Which project should I work on next? How to prioritize the to-do list? Some things can't be moved. Appointments must be kept, especially the medical ones. It takes asking some hard questions, having accountability partners, others praying with and for you, but first and foremost, seeking God and his direction. 

As I look at my long list of writing ideas and projects in various stages of completion, I have to evaluate why I want to do them. Am I doing it because someone has expected it of me or because the idea is one God planted in my mind that will not leave? Who will they benefit? Will they bring glory to God and point others to Jesus? I ask my prayer team to pray with me about each one of them. When the list is long and time feels limited, I need to ask myself if I am putting too many other things on my plate instead of working on the writing or am I simply procrastinating what I know I should be doing? Hard questions and many times I just don't want to honestly answer them. Yet when I do, I feel a release and an opportunity to rest. 

We all need to rest. Physically you realize the importance of this commodity when it is in short supply. I have struggled with health issues from time to time that make sleep and rest difficult and almost impossible at other times. The body grows weary but so does the mind and the emotions plummet into the depths of despair. I crave sleep - a restful, healing sleep which will allow me to function and to think. I struggle with the limitations and the piling up of a workload in all areas of my daily life. But I have no choice but to rest and wait for healing to take place. 

Spiritually we also need to rest. I need to pause in the busyness of life, grab my Bible and simply spend time with God, resting in his promises. I need to come and be refreshed, learn the lessons he is waiting to teach, and simply trust him with everything. 

My bags are packed to overflowing with things in everyday life that need attention plus all the stuff I long to do and writing projects waiting to be tackled. It's time to lay the burdens down and pick up only what God wants me to, when he wants me to. My mind still asks why it takes me so long to remember this lesson but I need to quit being impatient to rush ahead full steam when it is time to rest before another period of enforced resting takes place. I'm not strong enough to carry all this on my own. God never designed me that way.  I am grateful for his mercy and grace, his patience and his compassion as I learn to lay my burdens down, leave them there instead of picking them back up, and rest in Jesus.

Carol Harrison is a published author, inspirational speaker, and storyteller, who lives in Saskatoon. She loves to mentor others, learn about family history and stories, as well as read which not only helps her learn but relax and occasionally procrastinate too.


  1. I love this turn of phrase - "wrestle against resting". That needs to go into a poem (all you poets out there!) I had to chuckle more than once while reading this, Carol. I, too, often pack more than necessary. i am always envious of those people with the tiny carry on bags. How do they DO THAT??? Possibly my downfall has been wanting a different pair of shoes for each outfit... But I digress. There is so much truth to this post, Carol. Dare I suggest that it merits a spot in Fellowscript at some point?

    1. Thanks for your encouraging words Tracy. I haven't figured the art of packing totally light but getting there. In FellowScript - guess we'd have to talk to the editor.

  2. I resonate with so many of your words, Carol. I am a project over-packer! And work on doing things all on my own forgetting to first check with the One who refreshes and restores.

  3. Project over-packer - love that phrase

  4. Thank you, dear Carol, for the reminder to travel light. I smiled as you described packing suitcases. I can relate.
    I also relate to needing to check-in with God before hauling too much luggage with me on the day trips of life.
    The prize doesn't go to the busiest, it goes to the obedient.
    Blessings of rest - Wendy Mac 🕊️

  5. I too need to rest. Once I retire, I'll enjoy what God has provided for me.

  6. Thank you, Carol, for your metaphor of overpacking for a trip. I related well to your words of wisdom: "It's time to lay the burdens down and pick up only what God wants me to, when he wants me to." That is true rest.


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