You may have heard the phrase “The straw that broke the Camel’s back” before. While that seems like a ridiculous notion, that something as light as a piece of straw could break anything, there is a breaking point for everything. Camels are known for being able to travel long distances in the harsh desert, and even carry burdens as large as 1000 pounds on its back. A wise owner of any creature is careful to keep it from being overburdened or overworked, but a foolish or unknowledgeable owner might overestimate the Camel’s physical capabilities.
Imagine that you are in the position of the camel, you have the task of moving several heavy packs to a different location. While you could take several trips back and forth to deliver the packs, it would take more time that you care to spare and if the distance is far enough away you might be tempted to overload yourself to cut back on the journey.
You begin to strap bag, after bag, after bag, after bag onto your shoulders, you are unable to balance another bag on your back, so you tie it to your sides, your front, holding several in your hands. You can barely move. But you see just one more bag waiting, a tiny pouch. After all it would be such a shame to take that little pouch on a separate trip. Really a waste. You manage to scoop up the final pouch, though is light as a feather, it overwhelms you as you collapse on the floor. Exhausted, broken, and hurting, and somehow, wondering how you managed to fail.
Not a pleasant picture. Not good. The burdens carried may be physical, emotional, spiritual, behavioral, etcetera. You can be practiced at balancing all of these things just fine, and then something happens that tips you over.
Recently, a good friend of mine passed away. He was in good health, it was completely unexpected. He was someone who throughout our friendship, had always been in my corner, a true friend. His death hit me so hard that I felt completely numb from it. I could feel the physical effects of grief throbbing, painful heart in my chest. I knew he was gone, but I literally could not feel, my emotions had overwhelmed me. That numbness scared me, because I could laugh, I could function, though it was completely robotic in my mind. I felt lost. I’ve lost 4 people recently, I’ve had a lot of big decisions, unemployment, and difficult situations that have inspired great change.
So many unnecessary things in life I have carried, struggling to not need anyone or anything to help me. Weighing myself down, closer and closer to my breaking point until I finally broke.
Though it took me a while to begin the grieving process for Joe, I don’t carry that baggage upon my shoulders. It is not a burden that is meant for me to carry. I grieve. I give him, my hurt, my concern for his family, my loneliness for his constant friendship, and my sadness all to Jesus, because I have learned the hard way, that I am not meant to carry that weight.
Because God has been working tirelessly to free me of the things that have been weighing me down, I have strength, I was not overloaded when Joe passed. Shocked, hurting, lonely and terribly sad, but not broken. As I grow in my walk with God, I see scars from ties that had strained and hurt from burdens I had carried. I remember the weight of those burdens, I remember the pain of the wounds. But above all as I see my scars, I am reminded of the one who took a broken, wounded, overburdened girl and freed her from her baggage, tended to her injuries and turned painful wounds into painless scars.
You don’t have to carry that weight anymore.
1 Peter 5:6-10
Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.] After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]