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Take Off the Backpack

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

Recently at my Body Back workout, my trainer had me put on a backpack with 20 pounds in it. Ten of those pounds represented the 10 pounds I’ve lost. Another 10 represented the 10 that I want to lose next. With this extra 20 pounds on my back I did a series of exercises: one minute of jumping jacks, one minute of squats, bicep curls and overhead press (with 10 lb dumbells), mountain climbers, push up and holding a plank.

Twenty pounds on my back certainly made it tough. Not only because the backpack hit my back just right to push my pants down and pull my shirt up but because it was 20 extra pounds for my body to lift.

After the first set of those exercises, I got to remove 10 pounds from my pack and repeat the exercises. They were still difficult (and I still felt like my pants were falling down) but easier with 10 less pounds on my back.

Then I got to take off the backpack, literally taking weight off my shoulders. It was such an incredible sensation. As I started in on my third round of the exercises I felt light and free like I could do just about anything. Each exercise that with 20 extra pounds seemed extremely difficult now felt I could do them forever. I was light as a feather and man did it feel amazing.

Then I realized there was a deeper meaning here. Isn’t this what God wants for us?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

He wants to take our burdens, worries, fears and other “weights” we keep in our backpacks and gently remove them from our shoulders so we can be light and free. He wants to give us rest and energy. His burden is light if we let him have ours.

What if Andrew dies leaving me and Sawyer on our own? What if I die and Sawyer grows up without a mother? I look fat in these jeans. What if I don’t fit in with this group of moms? What if something goes terribly wrong with our house? Will I ever pay off my student loans? Maybe I’m not cut out to have this jewelry business. Should we have another kid soon? There’s no way I can get the laundry done, clean my house and have everything ready for my party this weekend.

Those are some of my “weights” that I carry in my backpack. Some are completely irrational and some I give more weight than others. But what I really need to do is give them all up. I have to take off the backpack and be assured that God can and will carry them for me…if I let him.

Think of all the time and energy I would have if I didn’t have my backpack on? Just as my body had what seemed like unlimited potential without the extra weight how much more focused and calm could my mind and my heart be if I could just give up the backpack.

So that’s what I’m trying to do. What about you – what weights do you carry with you? Are you ready to let God take off your backpack?

Sarah can be reached via email here.

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