My grandad has a saying for almost any situation, with more than a few anecdotes to impart alongside each of them. One of the ones that has stuck with me is about holding ourselves to too high a standard, piling on expectations which lead to more pain than we deserve.
“There’s enough negativity in the world, framed as encouragement to be better (which actually has us believe we’re not good enough), without us adding our own to that.”
If read a certain way this can sound like telling me I’m doing something wrong, willingly holding onto stuff I don’t need to. But it never feels that way. The love and care my grandad shares the words with ensures it is a reminder to lay down expectations I have within myself if they’re not helping. Maybe for a day, maybe a week, maybe longer. Lay them down and let go of those fraying strands, embracing faith that it will all be ok. Because it will.
Something that helps me receive the message in the right way is that my grandad always has a relatable story to share, but also knows when a moment of silence is just what is needed. I know I can try to fill up the space in a conversation, especially with people I don’t know well. My grandad? He seems to know the right time to tell a joke, the right time to repeat something misheard, the right time for silence, and the right time to pick up the phone and spend time together.
Laying anything down is difficult. Good things we don’t want to let go of because they make us feel warm and fuzzy. Bad things we want to try and fix ourselves. Indifference can be just as difficult to release because it doesn’t feel like that much weight most of the time. It adds up. Trying to hold everything, especially problems and pain and resentments that can build up, can weigh us down until we’re barely able to move.
We are one person. One human. It’s not up to us to carry everything. As a follower of Jesus I know I can lay my worries and frustrations at His feet. But I also know He wants me to share with people around me that I trust, and share honestly. The more they know, without simply shifting expectations to think they are the solution, the better prepared everyone will be to help me ride the difficult waves when they crash down over me.
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Do you find it difficult to lay things down? To let things go?
How do you let people know when you’ve got too much weight to bear?
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Even if you’re not a follower of Jesus, it is still important to share when we are struggling. Sometimes just saying out loud what is not true helps remind us what is. I still struggle to lay things down, but know it’s better when I do. That’s a good first step.
Peace to you my friends.