Rocks and Backpacks

When we hold onto things, it’s like putting rock after rock into a giant backpack that we lug around. We go about our lives, climbing metaphorical mountains, and we wonder why we are so tired, why just getting up in the morning is exhausting, why we feel like we can’t catch a break.

Granted, there are seasons in life that are difficult. They knock you down or force you to run at breakneck speed. You feel like you can barely get your feet under you. 

But sometimes, we have so many rocks in our backpacks that we can barely stand. Just like if you are physically exhausted, when your spiritually, emotionally, or mentally exhausted, you aren’t capable of doing as many things, you tend me be grumpier, and tend to resent those whose lives look perfect. 

The remarkable thing is that we have the power over ourselves. We can put rocks into a backpack and take them out. We can choose what’s important to carry on our shoulders right now and what is not. We get to decide how much of something we can handle. We get to decide how much we want to hold on to.

This is a beautiful realization that puts power back into our hands. We can choose to drop as many rocks as we want to. We can let go of anger, bitterness, and un-forgiveness. We can let go of worry, fear, and shame.

It’s not easy to do and sometimes we find that we take the anger rock out of our backpacks only to find that we have picked up 3 more along the way. Some rocks are too heavy for us to take out ourselves. We need some help: friends, family, therapists, Jesus. 

The best news is that these rocks that we are holding onto are not permanently attached to us. They can be removed. The burden that you are carrying today, you don’t have to carry that anymore. Those emotions and thoughts that plague you, you don’t need to keep those on your back. There is freedom and lightness available to you.

“For my yoke is easy and my burden is life”—Matthew 11:30
Here are some tips for letting go of emotions:

  1.  Releasing breaths. Take a deep breath, hold it in for a second and let it go. Imagine that what you are holding onto is leaving your body as your exhale. Feel your whole body relax as you breathe in and out, releasing the tension in your body and in your mind.
  2. Best case/worst case. If you are experiencing anxiety and/or worry about a situation or an event, imagine the very worst thing that could happen, the absolute worst. Now imagine the best thing that could happen, the perfect situation if you got to create it. Now take a moment to recognize that what is actually going to happen is most likely somewhere in the middle. 
  3. Positive self-talk. You are strong, capable, and able to let this thing go. You have fought hard in life to be the best you can be and you are strong enough to take this rock out of your bag and set it down. You can conquer fears, defeat shame, rise victorious.
  4. Forgiveness. God calls us to love our enemies and bless those who hurt us. Instead of the constant angry thoughts we have towards people we don’t like or who have wronged us (no matter how justified and accurate those thoughts are) they weigh us down. Start blessing these people. Saying it out loud works best. It can start simple with “I bless so-and-so. God, I ask that you would draw closer to them and that there life would be filled with blessings.” This is a terribly uncomfortable exercise. You might feel yourself cringe as you say words you genuinely don’t believe and don’t want. But as you continue to do this, you will find that you start to believe what you are saying. Slowly, the anger, hurt, and bitterness starts to melt away and you find that you are more free than you were before.

Lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus, for He cares for you.
The Witheos Team