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Best Left Behind  

Some things can’t or shouldn’t be taken into the new year. When the calendar flips its page into January...some stuff has to stay in the year just spent. Certain tax benefits, unclaimed sick days and turkey left over from Christmas, all have to remain in 2019. But there’s more. Allow me to lengthen the list of items we should drop at the doorstep of this new year.  

Chances are we’ve accumulated a sack of mistakes, worries, fears and pains over the past year. And we carry that weight every day.  We’ve fretted over money. We’ve fought with our family. There have been moments when panic replaced trust and there were things done, which were best left undone. These stones of the soul weigh more than we can carry. These should be discarded – but too often we bear them habitually month after month.  

So, if you’re carrying a spiritual weight, hear this invitation of grace. “Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Pet.5:7) The Spirit offers good news and invites us to throw our burden upon Christ. That sounds great! Throwing off our load should be easy. The fact that we carry our burdens through many months or years suggests that it is not. May I offer four words that help me take this truth off the page and put it into practice?  

First – Recognize what needs to be left behind. What are the stones of your soul? Itemize them. We can’t cast off what is unnamed. And after you’ve listed the obvious ones, ask God to take you deeper. There may be fears or patterns that have burrowed themselves into the crevices of our spirit. God can root them out.  

Next – Reject the martyr’s mentality. It may just be me, (though I doubt it) but there’s a tendency to hold on to our burden because, “It’s mine to carry. I’ve earned it. I deserve it!” Out of a false sense of punishment or penance we try to carry our own weights. Remember, there’s only one Redeemer and it’s not us. When we bear that which has been paid for with precious Blood, we withhold from God His right to dispense grace.  

Another word - Reach out to His compassion. The verse is clear. We can offer God our anxiety because He cares for us. Peter doesn’t point to God’s power or wisdom – but to His heart. He doesn’t rebuke or scold us for having such a large load. His face is tender. His voice is gentle. His heart is mercy.  

Finally - Receive the grace of His invitation. Joy, freedom and confidence are lighter than shame, guilt and regret. If you’re under a load that’s been carried far too long – it’s time to let it go. Jesus whispers to the soul bent low, “Let Me carry that for you.”  

No doubt 2020 will present a new set of stones and burdens. But we need not carry or horde them until the next new year! Trust Him today. Trust Him daily.