Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Things We Don't Need to Carry In Our Hearts

...because Jesus already carried them to the cross.

"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that He helps, but He helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted." (Hebrews 2:14-18)

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I have a hard time letting go of control. I suppose I'm what some would call a "Type A" personality. If something is my responsibility, I ought to do it by myself and I ought to do it right. I read somewhere a long, long time ago, probably in some Psychology textbook in college, that people who are clinically depressed have a more accurate assessment of the control they have over things like their bodies, their families, their kids, their wealth, their future... and it depresses them. Reality depresses us. "Healthy" people are— according to some anyway—slightly deluded. (Please don't take offense. I didn't write the textbook).

Okay fine, but I should at least be able to control my own body, right? Right? RIGHT??

Oh so very wrong. And that fact bothers me to no end because I get it stuck in my head that if only I could control my body, then I could control everything else, too. And just when I think I've given up the fight and "owned" my... self (or whatever), something snaps in my brain and I'm up all night lamenting the fact that I can't work and buy a nice house with a big back yard for my family, that I can't always get on the floor and play with my kid, that I can't take her to church every week, or take her to the park every time we'd like to go, or spend all day at the zoo with her, that I miss days with her when I'm stuck in the hospital, that I need medication that would cover the cost of her entire college education in just one year, that there is NOTHING I can do about any of it.

I don't need things to be perfect, but I would at least like them to be bearable.

Then I think, wait a minute: maybe God did this to us on purpose. Reality is depressing. But take a deep breath. Christ had absolute control over everything, and He allowed chaos to consume Him. He could have smote every one of the people crucifying Him, saved Himself a whole lot of pain and suffering and anguish, and established a New Kingdom on earth right then and there, sending everyone who didn't march in line to the lake of fire and making the world a perfect place. But He didn't. He didn't defeat evil with might. He defeated evil with weakness. He submitted to it. He allowed it to consume Him...

. . . He who did not deserve to be consumed for the sake of those who did.

So, swallow hard, lift your head up and heave a heavy sigh. Give up some responsibility (even when it comes to raising your kiddo just right and without help) and fight the good fight, not the meaningless one. It's not you against the world: it's Christ against the world for you. He “owned” that chaos all right, if you catch my drift, now follow His lead and do the same. Whenever you feel bogged down by things you don't need to carry in your heart, set them down at the foot of the cross. That's where they all ended up anyway. I guess healthy people aren't deluded after all. Some of us are simply baptized.

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Suggested verse to remember when your heart is getting heavy is Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.”
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