The look on my daughter’s face caused my stomach to flip. Eyes cast downward, she slouched as she walked to me. I asked her what was wrong, skipping the formalities of saying hi. My young daughter clearly felt burdened.
“A friend told me a secret, and I don’t know what to do,” she responded.
My mind flashed to an episode of Full House we recently watched. Young Stephanie’s friend confided in her that his dad hit him, then quickly promised her not to tell anyone. Stephanie promised. When her friend didn’t show up in school the next day, she became overwhelmed with fear. She went home and eventually confided in wise Uncle Jesse.
We had a conversation about the kind of secrets to keep, and the kind of secrets that needed to be shared with an adult. My sweet daughter felt conflicted: she didn’t want to betray her friend, but she simply didn’t know what to do with the weight of it. After some coaxing, and a promise by me to not say anything unless it was absolutely necessary, she confided in me.
“My friend got a bad grade on a paper at school, then hid it in the desk instead of taking it home.” She cried tears of relief after whispering this secret entrusted to her.
I stifled laughter of relief upon hearing this. Such a small, minor secret agonized my young daughter. To her, though, this was nothing to laugh over. Her concern and fear for her friend was genuine; she didn’t want to get the friend in trouble.
Jesus invites all who are weary and burdened to come to him, for he is the source of rest (Matthew 11:28). We aren’t meant to carry burdens. Jesus asks us to give them to him in exchange for rest. I thought back to my daughter’s burden. It seemed silly to me for her to get worked up over such an insignificant thing. Yet, to her it was not small.
When I think of the burdens I tend to carry, I imagine God stifling laughter just as I did. I also know when He sees the weight crushing me, He cares just as I did. But more. God didn’t design us to carry around unnecessary burdens. He sent Jesus to die for us. He surrounds us with people who are eager to bear some of the extra weight we lug on our backs. He gave us His living, breathing Word to guide us through seasons in which we feel compelled to pick up burdens that aren’t ours.
Friend, what secret are you carrying that is weighing down your soul? Perhaps you feel like a mess inside, but do whatever you can to show the world the opposite. Maybe you are battling a temptation that would shock those around you, so you hide it from your friends…and even try to keep it from God. Or maybe you look around and feel surrounded by picture-perfect moms, constantly doting on their picture-perfect kids while you feel annoyed by yours…and then feel guilty because you know women who would do anything to have your life. Perhaps you are in a job you hate and you feel stuck, but you can’t share that with anyone for fear that no one will understand. All the while, this burden you carry weighs you down and some days it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other.
Do you hear Jesus calling you? Come to me. I will give you rest. I will give you a safe place to land. Let me help you. Give me your problem and I will guide you to still waters. You weren’t meant to carry the burden.
He’s beckoning you forward. His arms are stretched out. As you lean in to him, he will remove the extra weight. You may cry tears of relief. And your soul will be filled with peace.
In pursuit of Him,
I wrote this as part of the Five Minute Friday challenge, but definitely went over five minutes!! I did not spend time editing, so please forgive any grammatical errors or lengthy sentences! You can participate in the Five Minute Friday challenges here.