We all have a unique personal relationship with the word “weight.” For some, it may cast a memory of the stubborn fat around one’s midsection that never disappeared after 27. For others, it may relate to the training, resistance, and conditioning of your physical body - that desire to handle more, lift more and push more. The word “weight” may also represent the heavy load that is felt emotionally, spiritually, or mentally, and walks with us in our daily lives. Regardless of how we frame weight, there is always something we are trying to do with it, knowing full well that it is not sustainable to leave it exactly the way it is.
That last definition of weight, is the kind that will make or break you. It often doesn’t become unbearable until you are thrust into your adulthood. For most people, this is somewhere between college graduation and your first mortgage. You are robbed of your innocent carefree living, and all the lectures your parents gave you are feeling like the holy gospel. No matter how diverse our childhoods were, things felt much lighter then. The memory of which can be a contributing factor to our weight. Traumatic or dreamlike, we carry it with us.
In your late 20s - early 30s the weight hits you. You are now responsible. Responsible for your livelihood, your well-being, and potentially you are responsible for some other humans too. There is a level of external expectation pressing on your weight, adding to its heaviness. Perhaps it is the pressure to get married, to have your first child or to go to graduate school. Perhaps it is the pressure to launch a business, further your career, or get into management. Or, perhaps it is simply the pressure to seem that you are having the time of your life on social media. Quite like the stubborn fat around your midsection, you now have to work harder to keep off the weight. There has to be a level of intentionality to lighten your load. Otherwise, the weight will increase to the point where only drastic measures can shift it.
In addition to the personal weight, it doesn’t help that the injustices of this world seem louder and bolder than ever before in this season. Maturity brings about awareness of the systems that need changing, the barriers that need breaking, and the problems that need solving. For the changemakers among us, this too is a burden.
We all feel weight to some degree. Some have the ability to carry it well and can function, appearing light and confident. Others visibly wear their weight, and cannot mask the pain or anxiety within. Without support or a plan, both are dangerous. Girdling up your weight does not mean it doesn’t exist.
When it becomes too much, this heaviness spills over into areas of our lives that seem unrelated. Our families, relationship, friendships, and job performance can all be affected by our weight. Have you ever snapped at a friend for no apparent reason? Have you ever felt like you cannot do your job anymore? Check your weight.
The weight we feel is directly correlated to the control we think we have.
If you have an overwhelming sense of responsibility in a situation, you probably think that your action or inaction will sway the outcome. In scripture, the command for casting our burden/cares/weight comes directly after the command for humility. This hit me. Humbling yourself is the instruction, casting your weight is the method. This means, you have to surrender your sense of control in order to feel lighter, and you have to cast your worries, cares and fear in order to surrender your control.
Boldness cannot operate in a space of extreme heaviness. It takes courage to admit that you cannot do this alone, that you need help from God, or others. In the Western world, we come from this prideful, independent context, where most people are out to make it for themselves, and by themselves. The pressure of which can make you miss the true potential of your network, your God and your gifts.
My husband asked me,
“so how do you know when you’re free?”
That is a good question, and it requires an internal conversation. Only you know the extent of what you carry. True freedom lies in the point of personal release. Release requires trust and faith. Faith in the sense that you are believing in something you don’t necessarily see yet. Often we find it easy to believe in a pain we don’t see (anticipated pain), but it can be difficult to envision a hopeful future. Especially if your current circumstance supports everything but. Yet when we come to the end of ourselves, when we realize most things are a part of something bigger, we begin to be in a position to offload what we carry.
The way we offload is important. Casting is a forceful, throwing action, and cannot be done halfheartedly. If you want to free yourself of your weight, you have to put the effort in. Sometimes it cannot be done alone. If the weight you carry is almost unbearable, seek support. Isolation is perfect for further attack, so reach out to a trusted friend, family member, church leader, or professional to assist.
One thing my husband pointed out is that there can be a wait with your weight. As we see in fitness, it may take a while to see results we seek. The visible loss of weight, may not be immediate, and your circumstances may not change right away. It requires discipline, consistency and a level of faith to trust that the action you are taking will impact your overall well-being.
The moment I admitted “I cannot carry all of this by myself”, was the beginning of progress.
Being honest about the number on your scale can help you to make your personal plan towards removing the weight. For me, this means spending more time with God, intentional periods of self-care, and frank conversations with my loved ones.
Whatever you carry, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on how to become lighter. In order to truly thrive, you cannot ignore your load. Your passion and purpose deserves the lightest version of you. So step up, weigh up, and let’s commit to carrying less in 2018.