I am writing this meditation on the flight back to Seattle from New Haven CT. During the flight I have been reading Christine Valters Paintner’s new book, The Soul of a Pilgrim in which she explains:
Pilgrimage demands preparation. There is much letting go that needs to happen. Packing bags means we need to discern what to carry with us and what to leave behind. This is one of the great gifts of pilgrimage; an invitation to discern what is essential. (35)
Her words remind me that all of life is a pilgrimage, a journey toward the heart of God, and God constantly invites us to discern what is essential and let go of what does not really matter. We all carry burdens – the physical burdens of debt, possessions and ambition; the emotional burdens of guilt, fear and anxiety and often the spiritual burdens of brokenness, doubt, and lack of faith. These burdens weigh us down and need to be left behind.
What is your response?
Sit quietly for a few minutes with you hands resting in your lap palm upwards, acknowledging your need to hear from God. Read through the scripture above several times. Close your eyes and open yourself to the quiet whisper of God’s spirit. Think about the freedoms and bondages of your life. What are the physical, emotional or spiritual burdens that weigh you down and need to be released so that you can travel more lightly?
Jesus carried the weight of the world on his shoulders yet he rarely seemed stressed out or overburdened. He knew how to travel lightly. He never made major decisions without spending prolonged periods of time in prayer and at the right time he was willing to turn his back on what must have been the most successful healing ministry in the history of the world, in order to walk towards Jerusalem and the cross. He knew that faithfulness not success was the best measure of a life well spent.
The world says fill each moment with noise and busyness. God says sit still and find me in the silence. the world says hurry, worry consume. God says do not be anxious I am all you need. The world says hunger for wealth, power and prestige. God says hunger only for me, crave justice, feed on generosity.
What is your response?
If Jesus does not give you heavy loads to carry where do you think these burdens you carry come from? Take time to examine your burdens and question their origin.
Christine Valters Paintner once more has some good advice:
Broaden your vision of what you carry. Imagine what kinds of attitudes, beliefs, expectations, and stories you tell about yourself that don’t need to go with you. (34).
What burdens are you carrying that God is prompting you to let go of so that you can more effectively walk on the journey God has laid out for you?
Listen to the song below. What else is God asking you to lay down?