When I was in my 30s and working through some stuff of my past, I decided to pick up a rock, write a couple words that signified my burden, then carry it in my purse. It wasn’t extremely heavy, but it definitely added to the normal weight. I never opened my purse without thinking about the rock. And it became a reminder of the weight I carry when I decide to keep a burden with me. Carrying it is tiresome and distracting.
When I was truly ready to set aside the burden and move on with freedom, I took the rock out of my purse, prayed over my past, then placed the rock with a bunch of other rocks in my yard. I rarely noticed it again. It was among the many other rocks—none which I carried around on a daily basis. I’d asked God to prompt me when I was figuratively picking the rock up again. If I was going to carry a spiritual burden, I would make it a physical burden, too, as a reminder of the unnecessary weight I was placing on myself.
As I was recently working through a Bible study, I learned about the process of cultivating a vineyard, including the fact some rocks in the soil are left, because they help the roots and growth process. They affect the stability and drainage.
Rocks can be burdensome. They can be necessary. Distinguishing what is needed in different situations is key.
Perhaps the two are connected at times. We need to leave some burdens behind. Other burdens help us. We don’t need to carry them all the time, but we can pull them out when they will help. Our pasts can weigh us down, but they can connect the dots and give structure for a growing season. They can help us and others alongside us grow.
All we have to do is trust God to decide how to use every single piece of our pasts.