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Are You Carrying the Burdens of Others?

Posted in A Class Act by Linden Barrick on July 30, 2012
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Are your shoulders broad enough to carry your burdens? There are times when we feel like we can conquer the world, but all of us have times of weakness when we feel like we can’t handle all the pressures and responsibilities of life.

Yesterday, Pastor Tag Kilgore offered an inspiring message on weakness. The third category of weak people he mentioned is those who carry the burdens of others.

But wait, aren’t we supposed to help others? Shouldn’t we lighten the load for someone in need? Why would doing so make us weak? At first I thought, “Tag, you’re way off base.” But the longer he talked, the more I realized the message made sense and actually pertained to me and to many people I know.

I beg forgiveness if I’m misrepresenting Tag’s intent with the following examples. But they say perception is reality, and this is what I gained from the ideas he shared.

Considering my students and all teens, this is how I would describe one example of carrying someone else’s burden. Sally and Joey are dating. Their young love is evident in the joy flowing from in their eyes. Yeah, it’s enough to make me queasy.

Then the inevitable happens: they fight and break up. Sally tells her friend Betty how horribly Joey treated her and that her heart will be bruised forever. How will she ever trust another boy again? Betty doesn’t only sympathize with Sally; she becomes personally involved in the situation. Her anger boils and she plans revenge on Joey.

Surprise! After a day (or an hour) the lovebirds make up, and all is well between Sally and Joey. Unfortunately, Betty hasn’t been part of the make-up process, so her bitterness remains, a burden that weighs her down and affects her life.  She has taken on the burden of others, and now she faces consequences because of it.

Do you think this could only happen to teenagers? Consider your job or your church. Are there a few people who volunteer or are volunteered to do the majority of the work? Church members frequently become overburdened, serving in every capacity they can. Some do so for the right reason, they are being called to fill a particular position, but not everyone.

Here are some reasons people might accept the burdens of others:

  • They feel the job won’t get done well if someone else does it.
  • They want to know everything that is going on.
  • They desire power over others.
  • They hope for a sense of belonging by being involved.
  • They thrive on the praise they receive for their hard work.

These are all rather selfish or egotistical reasons, don’t you think? And I have to admit I’m guilty and so are many other people I know. Unfortunately, we sometimes neglect our own responsibilities – family, work, leisure – to claim burdens that don’t belong to us.

Is it because there’s little acknowledgement of a job well done when we fail to go above and beyond the norm? Rarely do we get praised for going to work, buying groceries, or scrubbing a toilet, so maybe we seek it by taking on too much.

Humans are impatient. We don’t want to wait for God to tell us we were good and faithful servants. We want that praise now, so we seek it from other humans. But false praise it is.

Are you carrying someone else’s burden? Or have you been successful at avoiding that situation?


4 Responses to 'Are You Carrying the Burdens of Others?'

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  1. Chris said,

    Wow…I really needed to read that.

    • Chris,
      I’m glad I was inspired to write it so you could. It’s amazing how many times I start reading or listening to a blog or message and think it doesn’t pertain to me, but then I realize it’s exactly what I needed. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. I’m definitely guilty of many of the reasons you list in “why we accept burdens.” For me also, I need to wait more patiently… attempting to alter God’s timetable inevitably causes me to take on more than He intends. Thanks for writing this post!

    • Sharon,
      Patience…ugh! I certainly need more of that. Saying “yes” can be such a natural reaction for someone who sometimes suffers from “people-pleaser” disease like me. Stopping, praying, and waiting for God’s will to be clear is something I really have to work on. Thanks for the reminder!

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