"It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it."
-Lou Holtz, National Championship Winning Football Coach and ESPN College Football Analyst
I know we can all think of a time when we planned a trip to somewhere nice and thought of all the activities that we wanted to take part in when we got there. We began filling up our suitcase with different types of clothes and shoes to fit every occasion. To our surprise, no matter how hard we try to zip it up, it just would not close. Being tempted to give up, we start taking things out to make room. As we start putting things back in place, we realize that the clothes and shoes had been previously thrown in the suitcase with no strategy, taking up more space than necessary. After repositioning our belongings, we found that everything we had packed before was now able to fit in the suitcase after all.
We face these same problems periodically in our minds. As humans, we tend to allow things such as doubt, anger, resentment and pride to cloud our judgement and affect our actions. It's hard, nearly impossible, to make sound decisions when our mind is being infiltrated with so many negative influences. Take the servant with only one talent for example. He let fear keep him from being productive with what he was given. When his master returned he was displeased with his servant's works, or lack thereof, and called him "wicked and slothful" (Matt 25:26). Some of us deal with anger issues. The wisest man to ever walk the Earth, Solomon, spoke on this very issue. He said, "Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools" (Ecc 7:9). Anger can cause us to do things that we will later regret. It can cause us to hurt loved ones or take justice in our own hands, rather than letting God be the judge. I know I have said some things that I wish I could have taken back, but it was too late. Situations are only made more difficult by acting out of anger. The best course of action is to stop, look and listen. We need to STOP whatever is it we are doing, or planning to do, so that we can take another LOOK at the situation after we have had time to cool down. Finally, we should LISTEN to what God has to say about the matter. His wisdom far exceeds anything that we could ever hope to attain. He knows the outcome and possible ramifications of our actions if we continue the course we are on. So, when we feel life bringing us down, we should ask ourselves: "How Am I Carrying My Load?"