And more often than not, I find myself carrying burdens I was never meant to bear.
Have you ever had one of those weeks when your mind hurts too much to even think?
As someone who struggles with mental health, I constantly find myself in limbo; between the space of caring for my own issues and feeling compassion to help those going through their own. It’s an odd, complex, and dynamic feeling that I can’t quite comprehend.
It’s as if because I’ve lived through anxiety, depression, and toxic situations, my mind thinks I’m capable to walk others through theirs. But the truth of the matter is this: While I can walk with them, it’s not I who can save, heal, and deliver them. Only Jesus can do that. And more often than not, I find myself carrying burdens I was never meant to bear.
In Matthew 11:30, Jesus says these words: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (NLT).
But if I’m being honest with you, I’ve felt anything less than burden-free this past week.
This past month.
These past years.
The stories I have seen, heard, and read have transformed my life.
The students I’ve met, interacted with, and listened to have broken my heart.
The chaos in my home has continued to rip apart my stability.
The fragments left in my mind hang by loose threads of brokenness.
The deteriorating health of my body continues to weaken my soul.
The depth of sadness and anxiety I feel within not soul muddies my appearance.
But despite how I feel—despite how much I can think straight at this moment or not—I know that these burdens were never mine to carry. Even the ones weighing on my heart. Even the ones existing within me.
When Jesus wrote Matthew 11:28-30, He wrote it as a promise. And while many may read it as a command to surrender our worries, fears, and anxieties to Him, I also believe He meant it to comfort those of us He knew would still struggle to lay it all down. Not because we wish to disobey Him, but because the burden we bear for others reveals just how much we care. Just as He cared for us.
I’ve heard it said that one needs to have their mind over matter. They need their brain to function properly so they can focus on what really matters.
But when Jesus works through and in us, I believe He equips us to care about what matters, even if we feel our minds are failing us. Especially when our minds are overburdened. Definitely when we struggle to lay it all down.
The Passion Translation of Matthew 11:28-30 pens Jesus’ words this way: “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear” (TPT).
Honestly, I’m still struggling to balance matter over mind. To trust God so much that even when I cry every day and my heart breaks for myself and others, He’s working on bearing the burden for me.
It’s a process to tell Him what’s on my mind. To know what He means by “my yoke is easy and my burden is light” when I feel such a burden for those within the world around me.
But I know and am confident that as I seek and pursue Him, as I continually learn to lay it all down at His feet, He’s doing something in me. He’s working all things for my good. He’s teaching me to discover His ways amid the compassion I feel towards others.
Sometimes, I think Jesus wants us to care more about the matter than the mind. He already knows I’m struggling with my thoughts. He knows how desperately I wish to help those around me. He knows that I feel everything and nothing at the same time. But He never wants me to feel like I can’t be useful to others just because I’m struggling.
Even amid my anxiety, my depression, my mental fog, and my physical illnesses, I am a child of God made in His image. For His purpose. For His use. To do His good works while I am here on this earth. And that includes caring about their anxiety, their depression, their mental fog, and their physical illnesses even while I carry my own.
Perhaps it is those of us who have experienced the most significant grief and suffering who can express the greatest compassion and love to those in need. Not because we are to be praised for our martyrdom or because we are saints, but because in giving all we are to others, we are representing Him who died to give us life.
He enables us to carry our cross when it is heavy.
He enables us to help them carry theirs.
"Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor" (Galatians 6:1-6, NLT).
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Ridofranz
Amber Ginter is a teacher-turned-author who loves Jesus, her husband Ben, and granola. Growing up Amber looked for faith and mental health resources and found none. Today, she offers hope for young Christians struggling with mental illness that goes beyond simply reading your Bible and praying more. Because you can love Jesus and still suffer from anxiety. You can download her top faith and mental health resources for free to help navigate books, podcasts, videos, and influencers from a faith lens perspective. Visit her website at amberginter.com.