My teenage friend is also my fashion consultant. I have a good idea of what looks good on other people - specifically mom's and librarians, but for a woman my age who has more curves than the Indie 500, the wallet of a college student, loves plaid and prefers to have shoes she can walk in the mud with, while still being someone people see as a respectable, fashionable lady... I'm a bit of a project. Last night I grabbed a hat off the rack at ShopKo - we were killing time before our manicures - and posed like a gangsta would in my dark purple knit beanie, and my fashion guru approved. Of the hat, not the pose. This purple wonder is currently on my head right now. So pleased was I to have gained her approval of my choice in a hat - truly.
But before we did any of that - the shopping or the manicures. I drove us to a cliff, and within the safety of my car I told her to write down on big sheets of paper, three things she was worried about, considered to be a real burden, as 2012 approached. I had my three things, all of which had to do with failing in some form, and thought I had a pretty good idea of what she would write. When we both had our three sheets of paper, I told her to read Psalm 55:22 from my Bible. Meanwhile dusk quickly approached and the wind outside swayed the trees. She read, "Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." (ESV) Then I had her read Galatians 6:2, which says, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."(ESV)
The thing about burdens, is that they're much like a rock on your chest. And like a rock on your chest, they cause all sorts of worry and strain that does nothing to help your situation. We think we can and should carry our own burden's, but really we're meant to help each other. I have a stack of rocks on my chest... it'd be nice if someone helped me carry them once in awhile. If I'm really honest with myself, the weight of those rocks is slowly crushing me and I need someone's help. Not something I enjoy confessing, I'll tell ya. But it was those burdens that my teenage friend and I wrote on our pieces of paper. With each piece of paper, each burden, we wrapped it in a rock I'd pilfered from the side of the road earlier in the day and we pushed through the wind to the intimidating, muddy ledge of the cliff. Together, we read each burden, and we did as the psalmist calls us to do - we cast those burden's onto the LORD and HEAVED them over the edge of that cliff for him to take that rock off of our chests and into his hands.
Turns out the Lord was behind us because those pieces of paper came loose of the rocks they were wrapped around and were tossed back behind us by the steady rush of wind. Who said God had to be at the bottom of the cliff?
It's a fun practical. It certainly helped me to see things a little clearer about what I was truly worried about and what I wasn't giving to God. The true test is whether I can take the daily burdens I carry, and like those rocks, pitch them at God for him to carry. Not hand them over hesitantly, or gingerly, or with reservation like I might want it back, but chuck it over that ledge and launch it into God's hands completely and without reluctance. It doesn't matter if you think he's in front of you, above you, next to you or if you don't have a clue where he is! Simply giving it to him, telling him you want him to take it, and then letting go, means he'll take it. But you have to first let it go.
Did my girl truly cast her burden's on him last night as well? I don't know. But if she didn't, maybe one day she can look back at that day and remember not only a fun time getting manicures and approving of her mentor's fashion choice for the first time ever... but also see that evening on a cliff and, when she's ready, do it on her own.
Throwing rocks over a cliff was easy. I haven't picked up a cigarette in more than two weeks. By the grace of God I quit cold turkey, and won't go back. If I can cast that burden on him, I can cast the others as well.