Ask the Counselor: How Do I {Really} Release My Burdens to God?


releasedReader Question:

I have asked others this question and there seems to be no answer. It seems silly, like it should be easy for me to figure out, but I can’t.

I am bipolar, mostly the depressive side of it, suffer from debilitating Fibromyalgia, have several emotional/mental issues, and right now am at my breaking point. For the last fourteen months I have been in a very severe depression, with two deaths in the family that seem to have triggered me, making things worse.

I am a Christian and my faith in God is strong. I have a church but because of my conditions, I find it hard to go very often. But if I could attend, I have a very loving church family.

Here’s my problem: I have faith in God, and I absolutely know he is real, and I believe every word of the Bible as the only truths I really know. But I need to let go of my intensely heavy burdens. I can’t carry them another minute. It’s going to break me if I do.

I have prayed so many times, telling God I will give him my burdens and that I will no longer carry them, and I will follow his way, and only his way. But I don’t feel my burdens lifting. I can’t seem to really give them over. And I have the worst memory. I fully intend to talk to him the moment I wake, and seek him for everything, all day long. But I actually forget to do it. I know it sounds crazy, but my mind and memory are really not working. I can’t remember even the most important things.

So what am I doing wrong? How do I really give these burdens up and lean on God for everything?

Counselor’s Answer:

First of all, thanks for sharing—that takes courage, and I applaud that.

My first question would be are you taking or have you ever taken any medication for your bipolar or fibromyalgia? If not, I would strongly suggest an evaluation by a reputable psychiatrist. You have a lot of mental health and physical issues playing into this. I also wonder how long you have had these conditions and if you are being treated currently by a medical doctor or a therapist? I would suggest both.

You can’t do this alone and if you don’t have the strength or energy to go to church, you aren’t getting the support you need. Depression is isolating and that is the worst thing for you.

Let me say this: there is nothing wrong with you! You have obviously incurred some losses that have triggered a reoccurance of the depression, and losses need to be grieved. These ruminating thoughts can be the result of brain chemistry being out of whack, in which case a good psychiatrist could evaluate if medicine could help. If you are taking medication, perhaps it’s not working properly or you are experiencing side effects causing memory loss.

I have no doubt you are trying to release your burdens to the Lord, but even as you do you still feel an absence of peace. Brain neuro science and attachment theory are telling us a lot about how the brain wires itself in response to the messages it receives. The exciting thing is we now know we can rewire neural networks and change old maladaptive patterns. This requires deliberate and intentional effort. I help clients do this by using the Spiritual Disciplines. Silence, solitude, mediation, prayer, fasting and contemplation. These quiet moments of attunement toward God connect us to him in a way that begins this rewiring process. It also helps us to hear the truth about who we are to God. I also use Philippians 4:4-7. It has all the components of an attachment relationship—ours to God. Key in on these verses: The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing. And the peace of God will guard your heart. You need to practice this daily for 6 weeks. Also develop some positive Biblical counterstatements to refute the lies you may be believing about self, God and others. Write down any negative attributions you make about yourself and then replace them with god’s truth. Do this every day for six weeks and watch for improvement. Another great resource is the book Anatomy of the Soul by Dr Curt Thompson.

I’m praying that God uses some of these resources to help you move into the better life He has in store for you.

One thought on “Ask the Counselor: How Do I {Really} Release My Burdens to God?

  1. Another good book for this person is “The Christian’s Secret Of A Happy Life” by Hannah Whitall Smith. She has suffered greatly also. I also have suffered tremendously and I am learning that the giving over of our burdens to the Lord is an act of the will. It is in the emotions that we tend to live. We don’t feel relieved yet so we must not be. This is not so. First we act with our will and continue to leave them with Him until we do have peace. But we are to keep our will steady and sooner or later, like a good parent our will will rule over our emotions which are like children who scream and carry on. Hope this helps a bit.

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