How much is the weight of the world?
When you read that question what thought came to mind? Did you try to come up with a single figure or did you not even bother to try?
What’s the cost of carrying your dreams?
Did you come up with an answer?
Over the past year, I’ve been feeling the weight and cost of my life’s journey like never before. Since last summer, I’ve been on one, progressive journey to knowing Who God TRULY is and what His purpose for me looks like.
The summer of 2015 was one of the busiest I’d seen in a while. I was planning for the second Opposite Sex Revealed event, I was booking back to back photography gigs, Next Up Media Consulting was building momentum – then BOOM! It happened. Something I NEVER in a trillion years thought would happen in my lifetime; but there I was June 2015 traveling back home from an out of town shoot, alone at night when I had a complete breakdown.
Yes like Mariah Carey, 2007 Britney Spears, gone-to-Africa Dave Chappelle breakdown right there as I was driving home. I almost lost it as a tsunami of emotions, thoughts, regrets, and pressure proceeded to overwhelm me. I prayed that God wouldn’t allow my car to crash as I desperately tried to see through the tears and rain clouding my view. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, like I wanted to escape and teleport home… I felt alone, embattled, and afraid.
I called my parents to ask them to pray and help talk me through this thing as I reached unmentionable speeds trying to make to the hospital. Before my call, they were enjoying a nice visit from my brother AB and then in a nanosecond found themselves gathering their thoughts as they began praying and prepping to leave their house. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally turned off of on my exit and made it to the hospital. I hardly put the vehicle in park as I jumped out and rushed to the emergency room receptionist. I felt like I was going to stop breathing at any moment and left it up to my parents to give her my sign in information. The next morning, I checked out of the hospital tired, shaken and confused.
WHAT IN THE WORLD JUST HAPPENED?! Before I could allow myself to recover, I found myself back in the same old hustle and grind months later like nothing had happened – and this time I was in a relationship! I thought, “I can handle this, it’s just one more thing added to my life; I’ve got a pretty good handle on work, so I’m equipped to manage a relationship.”
Notice some key words so far??
“I” – this and “I” – that?
It wasn’t long before “I” had another breakdown at the top of the year and it clicked. “I” was never meant to take on all of what I was struggling to juggle! Yes God gives us dreams and goals, but many times we start taking on more than He originally intended. Yes God gave me the love of photography, but He didn’t mean for me to take on a gig EVERY weekend knowing I still had a full time day job, was involved in the community, and had loved ones to tend to. That was Jocelyn taking on too much!
Take a quick moment to read “Feather Weights”, a 2-minute morning reflection by a guy I met many years ago.
He superbly sums up what I’d been experiencing and WHY I was going though so terribly.
What weighs more, 100lbs of feathers or 100lbs of bricks? This is not a trick question; they weigh the same! But the breakdown of the weight is completely different. The weight of one feather is next to nothing. But the weight of a brick is at least a couple of pounds. The enemy doesn’t always attack us by dropping bricks in our lives. Sometimes he drops feathers. A feather is so miniscule that we barely notice the increase in weight. But overtime the weight of each dropped feather begins to add up, and without realizing it, the weight of everything going on in life has increased beyond our strength. He wears us down, feather by feather, and waits for the right moment to send that one feather that tips the scale. “Drop the feathers”. I finally understood. The feathers of all of my responsibilities began to build up, and the things that I had originally considered to be a blessing became a burden.
By not praying and tapping into the source of our strength, the work of the Lord can start to outweigh the Lord of the work, and we begin carry the weight of things that we were never meant to carry. Any blessing; any responsibility can be turned into a burden, if we try to carry it ourselves. Psalm 81 tells us that God is our strength, and that he removes the burdens from our shoulders. In order to be strengthened while having our burdens removed, we must follow the pattern of Jesus and spend time with our Heavenly Father through prayer, worship, and praise. With this new understanding, I started to spend more time with God.
Over the years, I’d grown accustomed to the constant balancing and juggling – thinking this is what God wanted me to do. There were MANY times my family told me I was doing too much. My friends told me I needed to slow down. Apparently so was God, but I was so focused on MYSELF and finding MY purpose that I sinfully overstepped God as if to say “I got this, I create my own destiny.” I neglected to pray and seek HIM for direction.
He PERMITTED (not caused) my emotional breakdowns TO allow me to physically SEE how good I was on my own. Which didn’t add up to a speck of sand.
He took away lenses of His spiritual covering in order to show me that while I AM responsible for taking steps towards my destiny, HE ALONE is in charge of it.
He is Jehovah Shammah, He is Jehovah Shalom, He is Jehovah Tsabaoth, He is Elohim and aside from Him there is no other entity that can guide me in my purpose.
If you are someone who has had experience with anxiety or worry or people pleasing – STOP. Yes these types of experiences are real but they don’t have to be a permanent fixture in your life. People who are overstressed or have “inexplicable” anxiety suffer from the same issue – they aren’t FULLY trusting God with their lives. I can say it because as you just read (or skimmed) I’ve LIVED it. It’s a process relearning how to trust God as an adult and it won’t happened overnight.
Fact: life as an adult can be scary
Truth: it doesn’t have to be.
Trust God with your future. He knows what He’s doing. Don’t let YOU trick YOU out of your purpose.
Blessings — Joc