Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Your Burdens in a Backpack

So, I am still waiting on my BFF Lysa to let me know where I need to be to 'open' for her (see previous post). My friend Kellie from this post, got the call from Korea to go and pick up her sweet baby girl, who is also named after me. Well, maybe not deliberately named after me, but we will have the same name, so there's no harm in me calling her my namesake, right? Right.....moving right along. Tonight was the last night of our "Breaking Free" class and in typical Baptist style, we brought food. I mean what kind of gathering would it be without some dips, desserts and other delicious and fattening fare? Call me crazy, (I am sure you have before) but I always feel like it's best to end on a sweet note, so all my Bible studies end with a buffet. After all, what could be better than listening to Beth Moore over some brownies and chicken salad?

In my last post, I mentioned that I would be posting on the subject of people who wear their burdens like clothing. I know that sounds like a strange subject, but let's see if you recognize the woman I am talking about..........I would like you to meet my friend, Rainey..........

Let me set the scene: The alarm sounds. It is 6:30 am on a Monday morning. The sun is shining outside, but inside Rainey's house there is a thick black cloud that hangs over her head.

Rainey sits up in her bed: "Ugh. Another nasty Monday morning. My life would almost be bearable if I didn't have to get up and go to my dead-end job everyday. Lord, why must everything be so difficult for me. Everyone else has it so easy - nobody knows the troubles I've seen. My own kids can't stand me. My husband left me. I have no real friends. Every bone in my body aches, in fact, people keep telling me they are tired of hearing me complain about my health. I am only 35, but I feel like I am 75. If they only knew how tired I am, they would sympathize. I work like a dog, but I don't even make enough to buy anything extra. I am sick of seeing everyone else get new cars and houses while I sit here in this 2 bedroom apartment. I guess I better get out of this bed and get this dreadful day started".

As she slides her feet off her bed, she reaches over and picks up her Burden Backpack. She carries it everywhere she goes. It weighs a ton, but she just cant make herself leave home without it. As she sits there, she opens her backpack and fills it with all her burdens: guilt, shame, hatred, jealousy, anger, and all sorts of other things she would be terrified to leave at home. She slips first one arm in and then the other. Time to stand up and get moving. The problem is that the backpack is so full and so heavy, it makes her stoop over and she can hardly walk.

Do you recognize Rainey? Do you know someone just like her? I do. I know plenty of them. You know the ones I am talking about. The people who claim to be Christians, but carry around a load of burdens, shame and condemnation that even the strongest man couldn't bear. These are the people who when asked "how are you doing?" - they tell you exactly how they are doing and I mean EVERYTHING!

Don't we all have "Rainey" days? There is a little "Rainey" in all of us at times. We are saved, but we act like we are dead women walking. We want sympathy. We want someone to say "It's going to be okay" or "You are doing a good job". We want a pat on the back. We want it to be all about "ME".

But, it's not about me and it's not about you either. It's about bringing glory to God and we cannot bring glory to God when we are trudging around beneath the load of the backpacks we have filled with all our problems. We can't bring glory to God with the "If only..." attitude (if only my husband understood me, if only my kids behaved better...). We aren't glorifying God when we are complaining about the place He has chosen for us. We can't glorify when we are wallowing in self pity. We can't glorify God when we are glorifying and magnifying our problems.

Part of bringing glory to God is letting people see Him in you so that they want what you have. If you are stooped over under a load of guilt or self-pity, NO ONE is going to want what you have (they are going to want to stay far away from what you have for fear that what you have is catching). It is never God's intention for any of His children to live in 'perpetual pity-party mode' - He sent Jesus to die so we wouldn't have to. We are victorious over death -satan is a defeated foe. If you are saved, then you have hope and a future - it might be time to start acting like it. The Bible says His banner over us is love.......what does the banner over you say?


jennyhope said...

this whole post reminds me of our lack of contentment and coveting when you get down to it. we want someone else's life. I have someone like this in my life and girl it sucks my will to live. I feel completely drained when I talk to her. EVERY TIME.
I am going to have to pray more about it. It is a family member so I can't quite cut it off. Anyway, it made me think of the last chapter in John where Jesus tells Peter nevermind him you follow me. How we have got to get our eyes off of circumstance or if only and follow Christ.

AnnaElizabeth said...

First of all, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Beth Moore. She's amazing.

But yes, I have my share of "Rainey" days, but there are people who live their whole lives being Rainey.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Christ's burden is much lighter than carrying around the weight that the world puts on us, every day.

Mommyluann said...

Our good friend "Chicago Greg" reminded me that when it comes our service to the Lord, "It's all about Him" anyway, or at least it Should be. Good word my friend.

P.S. I was so stuffed after that buffet! Could it have been that I had already had a light supper before I came!!!!!

Good Post!

Brandy said...

I love your post. I do know a lot of raineys. I am one of them sometimes, but i try really hard not to be. I have noticed that I am not so rainey anymore. Not since I got back in church and put God back where he needs to be! Take care!

Eddie said...

Annaelizabeth is one smart gal, don't you think? So mature in her faith walk with Christ. Now about this Rainey. I'm convicted at times that I might also be a Rainey person. So this was a good blog to get attention. All of us have demonstrated this type of person at some time or another. And the only way to stop it is to do just want Annaelizabeth said.
Great post. Love you Dad

Brandy said...

Thanks for the advice, it is by the week, but she pays every two weeks, and I dont get paid anything if I don't have them at all that week. I can not believe that day care is that much in J.C. That is crazy! Daycare prices is why I dont work out side the home. Thanks again and it did mean something, to me anyway!

donnaj said...

Your "Rainey" sounds very, very familiar (like someone in the extended family - whose name I will not divulge). There are times when my "good" side says love, love, love like annaelizabeth says. Then there are times when my "bad" side says I've had enough, I am through! Then in my quiet time the Lord reminds me that He has NEVER said I am through in regard to me. Oops! Caught again in the "Me" syndrome.
How wonderful to know that He will always love me no matter how whiny I get. Thanks Bethanne for speaking "Words of Truth" to your Mom.

Earen said...

Wonderful post Bethanne. Thank you for always speaking so clearly to my heart.

Cassie said...

Great post...I was just talking this morning with a friend, as we went walking...about discontentment....and how strange that you posted about your "friend" Rainey...I needed it...good words..thanks.

alliekat said...

I think we all have definite "Rainey" days. It is contagious and easy to fall into that. Sometimes when I am feeling "Rainey" it also helps to think of how good I have it as compared to others around me. I see and hear of people everyday who have serious illnesses and hardships that are terrible and would be difficult to endure. My friends 14 month old grandson pulled a crock pot of hot water of the counter and onto himself today and possibly has 3rd degree burns on his chest. He is in the hospital right now. This is following the same friends 21 year old daughter's recent diagnosis of melanoma of the eye. There are so many people who have circumstances that are devistating....illnesses, family's falling apart, conflict, etc. It is at that point that I find a different perspective and it becomes very easy to say "Thank you" to God instead of "Woe is me".

Emma Hoo said...

Boy have I missed your posts!!!!!
And yep, I've got a Rainey in my life. Like JennyHope, it's a family member so I can't just pull away completely! I've tried for a long time to encourage her, but I honestly think she is happy being this way....anyway....God moved us 2 hours away!!! That makes it a little easier to be around her!!

Emma Hoo said...

and I was still signed in under my little girl's name when I left that comment....yikes!!!! talk about messing with your mind! :)

LynnSC said...

Great Post! I do not want to be a "Rainey". God longs to carry our backpacks for us, we just have to be willing to hand it over. He is so much stronger than we are.

Thanks so much for sharing. Awesome Word!

Alana said...

"But, it's not about me and it's not about you either. It's about bringing glory to God and we cannot bring glory to God when we are trudging around beneath the load of the backpacks we have filled with all our problems."

And all the while he is just waiting, wanting, to take are our burdens from us!

AnnaElizabeth said...

There's a Kirk Franklin song that goes "It could've been me, with no clothes no shoes and nothing to eat." So sometimes, like mom said, it is good to think of the good things we have. For me, however, in order not to get a "big head" about things that God's given me, I have to take the focus completely off myself, and try to serve someone else the way Jesus would serve them. If I can't bring myself out of my woes to do that, I flip open my Max Lucado book "It's Not About Me", and he reminds me where exactly in the bible it points out that my life is no longer my own.

But right now, the banner over my head says WEARY.

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