I will admit something straightaway, with (relatively) no shame: I have never been fashionable.
When I was sixteen, studying for A Levels, it was the nineties and army bags were The Thing. Not great big ones with camouflage, the smaller ones that look like they’re made out of hessian sack material, the ones with thin, adjustable straps.
I did try. I was almost-fashionable. I bought the army bag just like my friends. But mine didn’t have cool slogans written in Tippex or marker pen. My other failure was that I didn’t wear it properly – my cool friends all had the straps loose, wore the bag over one shoulder and slung it around in a careless fashion. My blank, un-defaced bag always had the straps tight and short, over both my shoulders.
The thing is: I had to wear it that way because I was carrying so much. In the days of three A Levels, I was doing four, and I had four lever-arch files, an A4 notepad and approximately one million books to carry each day. I squeezed it all into the small bag, and the straps dug into my shoulders each step I took. But no one knew.
One day, my Mum moved my bag to vacuum the hall – and couldn’t lift it. It had looked so small she hadn’t realised its weight.
“Gosh, Tanya, that’s heavy!” she said. And I looked, and admitted to myself, yes, it is heavy. The pain I feel every day is not because I am weak or unusual, but because the burden I carry is heavy. And although it doesn’t look like much to others, if they were carrying it they would know how hard it is. It was a throwaway remark, but I remembered it because it validated what I felt.
It is a gift to have someone else describe your life truly. Maybe you’re someone who feels like you’re weaker than everyone else, and you don’t know why.
Only a caring friend can hold an accurate mirror up to our lives. You need a friend to say, ‘the burden you’re carrying is heavy.’ You’re carrying too much, and that’s why it’s hard. Maybe you will hear that, and you will cry because in your soul you knew it was heavy, too heavy, but no one else had noticed.
Maybe you’re someone who’s supporting someone else. Never underestimate the power of speaking the seemingly obvious.
- You’re massively sleep-deprived.
- It’s hard to be chronically ill.
- It’s exhausting parenting young kids.
- You’re working really long hours.
- Grief takes up a lot of energy.
- You have been looking after others for so long.
- You are carrying so much.
This is what friendship does. You can’t necessarily take the burden away – but you can look at it, pick it up, and say, ‘Gosh, that’s heavy’, and when the friend puts it on their shoulders again, it will feel a little lighter.
“A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” – Prov 17:17
Over to you:
- To whom do you need to say, ‘that burden you’re carrying is heavy’?
- When has it been a relief for someone to describe your life truly, even if it doesn’t change anything?
Tweetables:'Never underestimate the power of speaking the seemingly obvious.' @Tanya_Marlow- When Your Burden Doesn't Look Heavy Click To Tweet The power of telling someone 'you are carrying too much.' @Tanya_Marlow - When Your Burden Doesn't Look Heavy Click To Tweet 'Only a caring friend can hold an accurate mirror to our lives.' @Tanya_Marlow - When Your Burden Doesn't Look Heavy Click To Tweet
Joining with #fiveminutefriday. This was my best
five ten minutes on Burden.
Looking for an Advent devotional this year? Check out Those Who Wait: Finding God in disappointment, doubt and delay – a creative exploration of waiting in the lives of four Bible characters. Rated 5* on Amazon with 70+ reviews.
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