Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ
This verse from Galatians is a favorite of mine. I love to help. I’m good at rolling up my sleeves and getting a little dirty when a friend needs help. I bring meals. I clean clothes. I drive to appointments. I run errands. I pray. I help carry burdens. I cast myself as the one doing, not as the one in need.
Ask for help? That takes strength I don’t always have. I’m fine. I can handle my burdens. I will muddle through. I don’t need to bother anyone. This is not exactly what God had in mind for us, to go solo. The verse says to carry each other’s burdens. Of course you have to share your troubles so people will know. We are here to help one another. Sometimes that means I will be the one in need.
Our recent cross country move put me in need often! Can I borrow your truck to make another run to the dump? Can you come over and haul my sleep sofa to the church yard sale? Would you like my patio furniture? Who knows a good housepainter? Plumber? Electrician? Can you watch my cat? My kitchen is all packed up, can we come over for dinner? The list of my needs seemed to grow and change daily. But I never asked for prayer. And that was a mistake, because the details moving kept coming. I kept juggling.
Once my husband and I left our home in California, it was time to house hunt in New York. A whole new burden arose. It was fun at first to look at all the houses and try to figure out what we could afford and where we might feel most at home. But as the days turned to weeks, we got frustrated. Our time in temporary housing was running out. A house needed to be found. A decision had to be made soon.
Finally we prayed together about our search. Our prayer was for one of peace and calm in the stress of house hunting. And then I decided to share our burden with a few close friends, people I knew valued prayer. I reached out in an email. The response was one of love and support. Made me wonder why I’d been afraid to ask in the first place.
We did not instantly find a house after turning our worries over to God and friends, but we did have peace in a measure I could not have imagined without sharing my burden. I am glad God made us in community. So we can help each other. It’s my test to remember I am not always the helper. Sometimes I have to humble myself and ask for others to come to my aid.
Do you try to go it alone? Be independent? Not bother anyone? It’s not the best plan. There are people who care about you and whatever it is you are facing—big or small—there is probably someone who can help carry your burden.