Recently I called my sister and asked her how she was doing. She said “I have heavy boots today”. It was a quote from a book she read and I thought it was such a great analogy. Don’t we all sometimes wear heavy boots? We experience a feeling of sadness that comes over us, making normal, daily tasks seem strenuous, difficult, and overwhelming. Don’t we all sometimes carry a burden that weighs us down? Even, (or especially in) the holiday season?
I love the holidays. I love being with my family, seeing my kids excited, celebrating the things God has done for us, the food, the fun, and the togetherness. I love the music, the lights, the turkeys, and the trees. I am also very much aware of all of the heavy boots that can surround the holidays. My heart aches and misses my brother, Jamie. My heart aches for my friends and family whose holidays will never be the same because of an empty place at the table. I know what it feels like to be at the mall Christmas shopping, and have a sense of how trivial everything around you seems. I know what it feels like to have someone telling you how much they love Christmas and about everything they’ve bought, and to be thinking “please shut up!” “Don’t you know how painful this season is?” I have been there!
We can’t just command feelings to go away. Nor do we want to just wallow in them forever. So what do we do with our heavy boots? Do we pretend we aren’t wearing them? Do we guilt trip ourselves about how we need to be thankful and count our blessings? Do we pretend it doesn’t hurt because we have the promise of eternity? Do we use our boots to kick everyone else around us?
When I don’t know what to do with something, I go to God in prayer, and I look to the Bible. Seeing what God has to say about something gives me peace, clarity, and direction. His Word works! It’s full of truth and promises that are LIVING. They can take root in our hearts and that’s where God takes over what we are unable to do on our own. He transforms us when we give Him the opportunity to do so.
I have talked with a lot of hurting people in the past week or so. I see the struggle there is to face the trials of life, and keep a thankful heart. The 2 seem to be at war with each other. But they can co-exist. I read today’s entry in the book “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, and it was right on time (as this book often is). I am not usually a devotional book kind of gal- that’s just not how I prefer to read and study The Word. But I love this little book. Sarah’s entries are from the perspective of Jesus talking directly to you. Here is what it says for today:
“A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity. Moreover, as you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory through those windows. You cannot yet live in heaven, but you can experience foretastes of your ultimate home. Such samples of heavenly fare revive your hope. Thankfulness opens you up to these experiences, which then provide further reasons to be grateful. Thus, your path becomes an upward spiral: ever increasing in gladness.”
Thankfulness is not some sort of magic formula; it is the language of Love, which enables you to communicate intimately with Me. A thankful mind-set does not entail a denial of reality with its plethora of problems. Instead, it rejoices in Me, your Savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations. I am your refuge and strength, an ever-present and well-proved help in trouble.”
Habakkuk 3:17-18, Psalm 46:1
I LOVE that we serve a God that we can take anything to. We have direct access to an intimate relationship with the King of Kings. When we are struggling with having an attitude of thankfulness, we don’t have to muster it up- we can take EVEN THAT to our Lord. We can pray for a thankful heart! IT WORKS! He will lovingly bring to mind all of the good things we have- and there are SO MANY. When we don’t feel like praying, we can ask Him to help us pray. He wants to hear even those basic things we struggle with and guilt trip ourselves over.
It is no surprise to God that we forget to rely on Him. It is no surprise to Him that we need Him at such a base level. I read this verse last night that reminded me yet again, that I can take every area of my life to my God.
“The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From His throne He observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so He understands everything they do.” Psalm 33:13-15
So, about those heavy boots? Take them to God. Whatever has caused them to be so heavy, tell Him about it. Tell Him they are too heavy for you and that you need Him. He isn’t there to chastise and berate you, He’s been waiting for you to realize your need for Him. Give Him your heavy boots. He loves you, He made you, He understands.