An interesting New Year's Eve exercise just took place in my bathroom …
I made a list of everything that was weighing me down right now, everything big or small that I was worried about. It was a long list, and for a little bit I was really hoping that the Lord would just float it away out of my hands and into the sky. When that didn't happen, I was at a loss for a little while – how exactly do you give a list of burdens over to God?
Who knows if this was the right way, but here's what I did: I saw that some things on my list were actionable items (like finishing my grad school application), while others were state of mind and being questions that I have no idea how to address. So I made a list of the action items and separated them into short- and long-term. Then I realized that the long-term items were really burdensome, too … so I just burnt them up, together with the full long list. What I have left: 10 items that are low stress, and that I can actually do something about.
It's not that the other things went away, or that I'm ignoring them or don't ever have to deal with them. But I'm admitting that I have no clue what to do, and that these are things I cannot figure out on my own, or accomplish through sheer force of will. I had to give them into the hands of someone more capable, who knows what to do and can guide me.
I think that's a little part of what it means when they say God doesn't give you more than you can bear. I don't think he expects us to address these big burdens alone, and sometimes he doesn't expect us to address them at all – he knows that many things are his work, not ours. The list of things he just gave me to address isn't more than I can bear at all – it's totally doable. I'll only get overwhelmed if I start taking back things that are to much for me, that he hasn't given me to tackle right now.
I almost feel like I should do this every month; it would help me to focus on just what the Lord has put on my plate to do, and to lay everything else down until he tells me to pick it up. But next time, my sacrifical altar goes outside, so I don't smoke myself out of my room again. 😉