Carrying Burdens That Don’t Belong to Us

burden on bike

Image by grame_newcomb

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Is it possible that those burdens you’re carrying were never yours to carry in the first place?

When we get off course, God is so faithful to intervene and use any number of ways to gently guide us back to where we ought to be. In my case, He most recently used my husband to bring some correction and encouragement that I so desperately needed.

Since the birth of my 3rd baby, about 3 months ago, I have been dealing with a significant amount of stress. Almost daily, I have felt entirely overwhelmed and far too busy. I didn’t feel that I had enough time to do all that needed to be done. I was struggling with discouragement, anger and some depression.

My husband had often admonished me during this time that God does not give us more to do each day than we are capable of handling and accomplishing (through His grace, of course). Truthfully, I couldn’t see how this was true and felt that indeed, God was giving me more than I could handle. The combination of life events (not just the birth of a new baby, but many other circumstances in addition) just felt like too much and I felt sorely inadequate. I was allowing my circumstances to distort my perception of God, believing that He was allowing me to be in this stressful place and doubting in His goodness.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I had a much needed conversation where I finally admitted how I was feeling. He suggested that I was letting many other feelings of obligation, expectation, and my own pride get in the way of the few things that God was actually calling me to focus on and accomplish. Many of the things that I was allowing to stress me out were far above and beyond the true priorities that I needed to be focusing on.

To help me get back on track and simplify the to-do list that I kept creating for myself, Ryan made this for me:


You can see that I have 3 main priorities:

  1. Spend time in prayer, reading scripture, and meditating on the gospel.
  2. Feed my family
  3. Instruct the kids (teaching and training)

In addition to this, I can add 3 other items, but they are not to take priority until my first three items are under control. If that is all that I accomplish each day, it is enough! My day is a success. I have done what is most important and everything else can slide if it has to.

I cannot even begin to tell you what a weight has dropped off of my shoulders. These are my priorities in this season of life and I am not a failure if I do not accomplish some self-imposed list of other things!

I was reflecting on this during my quiet time the other day and here is what I wrote in my journal:

“I quickly become overwhelmed in life when I try to do and accomplish all that I think needs to be done, without bringing it before the Lord and asking instead, what does He have for me? He does not give us more than we can bear. His burden is easy; His yoke is light. If it feels heavy, oppressive, or impossible then chances are good that I have picked up burdens that are not mine to bear.”

Have you picked up burdens that you do not need to be carrying? How do you stay faithful to the calling that you have received?

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. Thank you for this post. I have a 5 month old baby (my third) and I felt the exact same way. I think I will print out a list like this to help my priorities, especially during this “busy” season.

  2. Wow. This is totally something I would benefit from!!! I am a ‘do-er’ and like to accomplish things during the day and to use my time wisely – however I only have one kiddo right now so I can see how you would feel like this with 3 kids!! I think I would like to do this as well. Thank you for sharing :)

  3. I like your list, but one thing that is important – so very important – and something that busy moms tend to leave on the wayside – is our husbands. I imagine that because your husband made the list that he didn’t put himself as a priority between God and your children, but that is where he needs to be. Even in a life as busy as some of us struggle with, taking thirty seconds to write him a quick “I love you” email to stopping what you’re doing to snuggle with him on the couch, loving him and abiding in him daily should be a top priority on that list.

    Resentment will eventually grow and marriages will eventually suffer if home and children constantly and continually take precedence over your mate. It’s something that women tend to not be taught, but it is, sadly, a lesson that is often learned.
    .-= Hallee´s last blog ..A Christian Response to Vampire Obsession =-.

  4. I needed to hear that, especially after the rollercoaster week I’ve had. I homeschool my children, am pregnant with boy #5, and my dh is deployed and won’t be home until after the baby is born. I constantly struggle with my own expectations and have been feeling angry all week over the smallest things. Of course, it has rubbed off on my sons and has made for a very chaotic week. The Lord uses people and blogs :) to get messages through. Thanks!

  5. i would love to hear about your time with the Lord. I have such a hard time getting up BEFORE the kids in the morning. Do you struggle with this too?
    Also, what works for you in your quiet time?
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Just Around the Corner =-.

    • @Sarah, Well, this week I’ve been fitting my times with the Lord in wherever I can. I’m sick and am struggling through the day, let alone getting up early.

      But usually, I try to get up a minimum of 1 hour before the kids (not necessarily before they wake, but before they’re allowed out of bed- we’ve trained them to stay in their room until they’re allowed out). That 1 hour gives me time to shower/dress, do devotions, exercise (3x a week) and just feel settled before everyone else is up. I struggle with it when I’m off schedule or not going to bed at a decent time. But when I get into the routine, it’s actually not too difficult and I am always just so happy that I made myself do it.

      At the moment, my quiet time is anywhere from 10-30 min. (depending on how much time I have). I’m currently reading through Paul’s epistles. No set schedule, I just read 1-3 chapters each day, stopping if something really strikes me or there’s something in the text that I need to pray through. Next I read a short bit from a book called The Gospel Primer, which has daily meditations focusing on the Gospel and how it works itself out in our lives. These bits take a couple minutes to read and then I meditate on what it said. Next I pray for the remainder of the time, about issues in my own life, for my family, for others in the church, for those yet to know Christ, etc. If anything that I read seems to really stand out to me, I’ll write a couple of verses or a quote or my own journal notes in a book I keep with my Bible. It’s a very simple little routine, with room to either shorten it or extend it as I need to/am able to. I don’t feel upset or behind if I miss a day and I can just pick up right where I left off. In this season of life, it’s really working for me!

  6. wow. totally needed to read this post. I am an overachiever I’d say for sure. I want to do it all and I sometimes think I can, but then I have to stop. I have a 3 yr old and a 1 1/2 yr. old and it’s just not possible to always do everything you want to do in a day.
    Btw-I love reading your blog and am inspired by it often.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Just Around the Corner =-.

  7. Such a profound insight and I LOVE the agenda Ryan created for you. I am totally stealing . . . er, um . . . BORROWING it!
    .-= Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog ..Baby Week: Words of Wisdom from Days of Yore =-.