News that causes you to gasp.
Skies that are acrid with smoke. Possessions, homes, pets, LIVES lost.
Text messages and phone calls that shift the earth off its known axis; from where I sit anyway. Cancer.
All three things happened Friday. My heart sank like a rock into water. Heavy for all the hard things.
How do you cope when your heart is heavy?
Circumstances like these may be our training ground; seeing the hurts of others and feeling the weight of their losses can cause a desire to respond, to help in some way. What if we don’t know what’s the best thing to do?
I know there is at least one person reading this whose response to that suggestion was something like:” that’s not doing anything. What am I supposed to DO?” How do I know that? Because that was me.
I’d hear a person who had been a Christ-follower longer than me tell a group of women to pray and because of where I was in my faith journey, I didn’t think that was as important as getting out and gathering donations or making meals or whatever physical thing seemed like the best next thing to do.
Don’t get me wrong: physical actions are often the thing that praying can lead to. But doing doesn’t shift your heavy heart.
Doing without praying distracts your heart. Doing alone won’t lift your heart.
Only God can lift your/my heavy heart. Talking to Him, telling Him what is weighing your heart down is exactly the place to begin.
It is a brave step to admit your heart is heavy. I’ve tried to go about my regular life without acknowledging the weightiness. I am cranky, grumpy and not nice to be around. Often when I’ve distracted myself from what’s weighing down my heart, it’s still bugging me but the reality isn’t uppermost in my mind so I can’t explain why I’m out of sorts, which only makes it all worse.
Let’s be brave, admit hard things weigh down our hearts and ask God to help us. We can look to His Word for passages of encouragement. Peter encourages us to cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us. The Psalms say He is the lifter of my head; that He is a shield about me; that He is a strong tower that I may run into to.
My favorite passage?
Come to Me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Full disclosure: I’m a cry-er. God has wired me with empathy as my number one strength. I feel deeply, so when I pray I am often weeping over the cares of others. But when I am done praying, my soul is unburdened. I’ve given those cares to the Only One who can truly do anything useful. Sometimes He invites me to take an action, like write a card, send a text, give resources. Sometimes He simply gives me rest for my soul.