Laying Down the Burdens of Others — Broken & Hopeful

We are surrounded by broken people. And oh yeah, we don’t always get it right either, do we? The heartache of watching others struggle and go a way we wish they wouldn’t feels like it will rip you apart. 

You see, as much as we love other people, we can’t choose for them. We also can’t be God in their lives, and decide what is and isn’t ok for them to experience. This is especially tough when I think about my kids. My children are still pretty little, and I think about the teenage years with great trepidation. I have worked with lots of adolescents, watching them make what look like huge mistakes and go the opposite direction I had hoped for them. 

But here’s the thing—they were never abandoned by the Lover of their soul! There was no point at which God threw up His hands and decided they had finally gone past the point of His love. As much as it hurts to watch someone make decisions that will hurt them, we know they are never, ever without hope. 

So, what are we to do while we watch our loved ones go ways we wished they wouldn’t? We are to welcome Jesus into the mess, both ours and theirs. We come to Him and recognize that He is putting them in the best place to know Him every day. That He is weaving all the pieces of their lives together to allow them to know Him if they so choose. 

And we love them. Jesus’ love comes bursting out of us to them all over the place as we admit our weakness and our need for Him. This isn’t a place where we have to be perfect to show them how great our God is, but rather a place where in our vulnerability and lack, they can see an amazing God who loves even the most broken of us. 

In recognizing our own weakness, we lay down the mistakes, problems and choices of others just like we do our own. I was so overwhelmed with the heaviness of people’s stuff yesterday, I had to just lie on the ground in my basement and pour it all before God. The times that feel too heavy are because I am trying to be God. I try to figure out how to “fix” people, and I can’t! I’m not supposed to. I carry the burden to Jesus and lay it down before Him. He’s the one who can do something and is at work in their hearts even when I don’t know it or see it. 

I also can’t turn and beat up on myself for another’s choice. If I have some responsibility, I apologize for wrong done and move on. But I don’t get my identity from what others do. That means that a person is not defined by their kids, their spouse, their parents or their clients. No person should tell us who we are. We have to keep looking to Jesus for our identity and not take it from another person who has their own issues. 

No amount of force on my part will choose for another person. I can’t manipulate it, choose it for someone else or make it happen. It has to be their own choice. So, instead, I lay it all down before the One who is orchestrating the surroundings of each individual to put them in the best place to know Him. And leave it there. He knows, He carries, He saves. I don’t do any of that. My role is to keep focused on Him, continuing to lay all the burdens at His feet.

Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 TPT

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