At a women’s Bible study I just began to attend, we read 1 Thessalonians 2 and then got challenged to come up with a very practical “I will” statement to be fulfilled during the two weeks before our next meeting. The leader asked each individual woman in the group to say their “I will” statement aloud so we could hold each other accountable in some way next time we get together. Needless to say, it was tough.
I watched myself, along with all the other 6 women in the group struggle to compose such a statement. The leader did a wonderful job guiding the women one by one to shape their general musings into an “I will” sentence…then, inevitably, my turn came up and of course I was not ready. As my usual recourse when I don’t know what to do/say, I went for a laugh and pointed out that someone else had taken my idea…so I should just say “ditto,” but that didn’t fly. I had to come up with something of my own, something that deeply spoke to me.
All along my eyes had kept going back to the second part of verse 6 where it says, “as apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you…” The expression, “being a burden to you” was intriguing. So a question began to emerge, “Who am I being a burden to?”
Immediately, I thought of my husband Dan. I thought of my upcoming follow up tests which are beginning to cause me the usual anxiety. I thought of how much of a burden I must be to Dan every time I become anxious and overcome by fear when facing a check-up. That’s when I got it. The Holy Spirit put it all together for me. After a brief pause, I said, “I have one:”
“I will not lay the emotional burden of my fear and anxiety on my husband’s shoulders, but instead, I will lay it all on the Cross.”
The leader helped me create a practical, action-statement by guiding me to say “every morning I will lay down my burden on Christ in prayer rather than onto my husband’s tired shoulders.”
It’s not like Dan is not willing to help me cope with my anxiety. He does a wonderful job! But, the Lord is the Only One who is able to withstand the heavy weight of my/our fear continuously, without getting crushed underneath. He is the Only One who would not grow weary or tired or appalled at the depth of our neediness. He is the Only One who would not reject us because of the messiness of our anxiety. He is the One who can take the burden of our despair and turn it into hope.
My husband, though wonderfully laid back and incredibly understanding and forgiving of my flaws (most of them…some others still bother him terribly : ) is not meant to carry the immensity of my unbelief (translate = fear). He is not responsible for it. I am! But, as we all know, I can’t carry such heavy load. No one can. So what’s our only alternative? We must give it to Him, who is strong enough for all of us.
As I contemplate the day of my tests approaching quickly, I grow more and more fearful. However, I am resolved to do my part and surrender my fear to Him, the Only One who can make “the boogie man” go away. He can break the chain of my lack of faith. By the power of His Name, to which I cling, He will free me from the shackles of fear that have entangled me for far too long.
I don’t know how my test results will turn out. I think they will be OK since there has been no indication of anything being wrong so far. The same Jehovah Rapha who took care of me last year when I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer giving me a great prognosis will continue to take care of me today. He has never abandoned me before, He is not about to do so now.
I pray that in two weeks, when I meet with my Bible Study-buddies again, I can give them a good report on how I did with my “I will” statement. I pray we can all be accountable to each other and that we may continue to encourage one another in the weeks to come.
How about you? Do you have a group of sisters/brothers in Christ who serve as your accountability board? Do you have a special person who encourages you? Are you an encourager to those around you?