Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lighten The Load

by Donna L. Watkins
Originally Published in A Healing Moment in 2001

Many people seem to feel that they have too much to carry in life. The burdens are too great, the path is too rocky, and there is no place to find joy in life.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Butterfly Garden - San Jose, Costa Rica
In America we have a lot to bear. Advertising causes us to add many "requirements" to our list of things that need to be done or bought. We have many more worries since "The News" keeps us informed of a long list of things we should concern ourselves with.

Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:29)

In the past when I ran the ARR (American Rat Race) daily, I would read that verse and my mind would settle on the word "REST." Oh! How my soul longed for rest. My mind! My body!

Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions. I have been learning that our body controls our mind. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7) It's easy to see how anger affects the body. Blood pressure rises, the muscles tighten, and as the process continues we feel like we're going to burst with frustration unless we let go and let God take it from us.

When we "learn of Jesus" as mentioned in the Scripture above, we can have rest. Jesus never scurried even though He had the greatest of missions and very little time to accomplish it all.

We must slow down! We must take some of the burden off and replace it with the yoke of Jesus, which is full of rest. We are yoked to the "World Of Not Enough" and live in the "Town of More." We've been deceived into thinking that our lives are to be used to acquire more things because we never have enough.

While this process goes on, and our life passes away one year at a time, we yearn inside for something else. Something more than more. We yearn for Peace and Joy and Rest and Happiness.

There must come a point where we say, ENOUGH! We have to decide what we really want in life. What is our heart really yearning for? For me, when I came face-to-face with poor health that prevented me from entering the daily ARR (American Rat Race), I realized that the maze I thought was life was only a prison. In 1987 when I spent 6 months on the couch not being able to do all that I was used to doing, I realized that who I thought I was had been based on what I got done. And the list was very long.

I had to re-evaluate who God said I was and spending time with Him had to be ENOUGH. If I never got to do anything else ... if I never got well ... was God enough for me? We were created to fellowship with a Living God, yet I was running around the maze to do all the things that made me feel accepted, with only a few minutes a day allotted to my Creator and Father.

I had to decide what I really wanted in life and then allow God to make it happen for me. My willingness, His strength. I've come a long way down the road and yet there's still a decision to be made for each day. How am I going to spend it? What will bring true health and purpose to my life? What will only satisfy the whispers of the devil to me?

We have made many dreams come true. The move from Alabama to Virginia is a dream come true. We're working now on having some acreage of woods with a stream, a wildflower meadow, a pond, and a small house in the midst of it. If you don't dream big, you fall far short of where you can go.

Some folks tell me I'm "lucky." First of all, I don't believe in luck, no such thing! I believe in God joining us to make something happen if it's in agreement with His will. I believe we can accomplish anything if we first set our minds to it. That's what we do each day when we choose what the day will hold. We accomplish more, even with health problems, if we set our mind to a task.

I had to have woods to find my peace and in 1987 while I spent 6 months sick on the couch I prayed and prayed for a home in the woods. We built that home on 1-1/2 acres and moved in 1990. We had only made $11,000 the year before. It doesn't match on paper, but somehow we made it happen. We didn't have any money in savings either, nor did we make much more the next year, but determination to get out of debt seemed to increase our income as we put every penny towards credit card debt, car payment debt and the mortgage. By 1997 we had all our debt paid off including our $90,000 mortgage. God is incredible!

We sacrificed much over those years. We wanted to be out of debt more than eating out, renting videos, buying new clothes, or anything else. We're not lucky! We just put our money where our heart was. You can make dreams come true, but not by wishing.

Sometimes you have the reality of your dreams in the attic or closets. Many people "wish" they could do this and that and never think about the resources they may have to make it come true. We sold a bunch of stuff in Alabama to pay for the cost of the move. Here we are in the process of selling things that I had from my Great Grandmother and Grandmother that I somehow thought I needed to keep. They are now antiques and we will have several thousand dollars to put towards that land we want. It's certainly not much -- it certainly won't buy the land -- but we have found that if we do our part, then God does the rest.

If you're tired of the heavy burden, you might look around and see what you can eliminate. What you own, owns you. It must be cared for, and a place to store it has to be found and cared for also. Every square inch of a home requires money to have it. If half of it is used to store things that aren't really needed, then there are dreams hidden everywhere that are not being found.

A lighter load of "stuff" makes a tremendous difference to mental health also! Lighten the load - today! Look around. Make the decision. Ask God for direction. Get a friend or relative involved to do the same and have a big yard sale. Make some dreams come true - start somewhere!

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Cozy Home Cottage said...

And all of God'd people say, "Amen!" Thank you for posting this, Donna. It came over me like the Balm of Gilead, refreshing and calming to my soul.

Charlotte in WV

Mack W. Payne said...

Thank you for telling your story. It offers hope to us all. I found hope in James Allen's great book As a Man Thinketh so much that I have a goal of giving away 1,000,000 copies. Please help at

sharingsunshine said...

Hi Mack! That's a great book. I had mentioned it in a previous post on the blog ... and maybe more than once, but I remembered this one.

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