It begins at an early age. You see this world of adults going to work, making money, providing for themselves and their families. You hear about the people they manage, the vacations they can now afford, the responsibilities they hold.
As a child, you look at these adults and can’t wait to look important, to prove you can succeed. You know you will show everyone who doubts you that you were made for this.
But then time spins faster, and suddenly adulthood is here. What looked appealing and important is now your proof that the grass is always greener. And the responsibilities that were supposed to show everyone you were made for this pile on your shoulders, teetering dangerously.
The burden to impress
American culture thrives on success. It knows little else but your job, your income, your home, your appearance. Think about it. What’s one of the first questions you ask someone when meeting for the first time? “What do you do for a living?” Sure, it’s a great get-to-know-you question, but that one simple question places a pressure on the person asked that you may not think about at first glance.
This pressure is the burden to impress. The burden to prove we are worth something and we have skills to prove it.
Stop for a moment and think about your responses when asked this. Do you describe your job differently depending on who you’re talking to at the time? If you work part time or are a stay-at-home mom, do you ever feel a little awkward answering?
If you’ve never felt the need to impress based on your answer, then, please, share your secret with the rest of us! Because, let’s face it, we desperately want to feel important and accomplished.
Come, you weary soul
We all struggle with burdens we were never meant to carry. And one of the largest and heaviest burdens is, you guessed it, having a successful career.
That specific burden looks different for everyone. While yours might look like the need to have a job in the field of your degree, someone else’s might look like the need to have some kind of manager position, or maybe just the need to have a full-time job.
The point is, we all have this fear that if we don’t measure up, we’ll be cut down and humiliated. We will be a failure.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could just stop caring about what others think and simply do the job God has called us to do? What if all the comparing and the judging of our lives against the lives of others turned into working at whatever we do as if we’re working for God and not man (Colossians 3:23)?
We are commanded to not worry and not be anxious. Jesus also said to come to Him, and He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28-30). Imagine if we took that seriously and obeyed that command. How different our day-to-day life would be!
The burden we were meant to carry
Your job does not define you. Whether you have a “successful” leadership role, a part-time ministry job or a 24-hour role as mom, Jesus never asked you to carry the weight of what others think of you. Or what you think of yourself, for that matter.
Jesus wants to lift the burden you picked up on your own, the burden that screams at you to get it right the first time or don’t even try. The burden that Satan masks as just wanting to provide for yourself and your family. The burden that tells you you are never good enough, because there’s always someone else who is better.
You were never asked to carry that. It does not belong to you. Kneel before the cross, pull it off your back, and leave it there.
But that’s not the end. Jesus does ask us to carry His yoke. But fear not, because He promises it is light. Does this mean an easy life? A stress-free adulthood? Absolutely not. In fact, He also tells us to pick up our cross as we follow Him.
The beauty, though, of His burdens is that of eternity. While our burdens of success and achievements will never leave this earth, the burdens we carry as followers of Jesus give us hope as we look toward an eternity with Him.
Take this moment to decide which burden you would rather carry. One that leaves you empty, not worth anything, always striving? Or one that turns your eyes to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of your faith?
Let’s Talk About It: Why are we not meant to carry the burdens of this world? Which burden do you carry?