Lighten the Load

How are you doing today? The already grim world in which we find ourselves grows darker with Putin’s war on Ukraine. The consequences of sin are always death and destruction. Covid-19 still lurks in the shadows. Bird Flu is sweeping through the chicken farms of America. World and local economies are being upended by an unpredictable inflation. The daily grind is burning us out. One day it’s like spring, the next day brings snow and ice. Climate change is trying to kill us. Bullies are loud and angry. The strong are grief-stricken and depressed. It is time for us all to lighten our loads. At least the cows are not mad, just yet.

According to God’s Word, sin shattered everything, even the earth itself. All this weighs us down. Our daily circumstances are harder, and our relationships are at breaking points. The longing to get back to “normal” does not seem to be happening. How do we lighten these burdening days? I have a couple of pastoral suggestions: 1. Give yourself permission to experience joy each day; and 2. Share some of your load with others.

With suggestion 1, Dorothy and I have little rituals that help us smile or laugh each day. For us, it involves reading the daily newspaper cartoons out loud, even on the busiest days if we can. For a few decades we also ended each exhausting Sunday by reading a Dave Berry story just before going to sleep. Lately, we have started ending as many nights as possible, rewatching very old 30-minute comedy shows. Right now we are in season one of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Give yourself permission to find joy each day.

With suggestion 2, listening to someone else tell their story and sharing some of your story with them helps to lighten the load for both. We have become isolated from others, even when we think we are connected through social media. The telephone works both ways. So does slowing down long enough to have a conversation or volunteering some time to serve your neighbors.

I return time and again to the advice of Paul in Galatians 6:1-10. Here he talks about restoration, reaping what we sow, weariness, bearing each other’s burdens, and dealing with our own. Read it for yourself right now. It is another way to refresh your soul.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Lighten your load. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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