Ever have those minutes where your sleep is restless and you sigh more in the day than usual? And then, you take stock because the worries aren’t worth the stress of it all. You don’t need to live like that! Figure out what’s causing this uneasiness and dump it like a cheating boyfriend. Right??! 

Except, when you finished cataloging the parts of your day, you realize your life seems to be doing ok. There’s really not much to cut out. You add another sigh and dig a little deeper. “What is it? What’s creating this funk?” You ask yourself where’d you come across these droopy shoulders, only to realize the weight spread oppressingly across them comes from those around you whose hurts are so big and too much for you to carry. Your sighs are seeping with empathy, and the cracks in your heart are from their pains.  They are hurting and you are wanting so badly to hold them and hug them and love them and tell them “even this is going to be ok. This? It’s not small. I won’t say it’s small. But it isn’t so unbearable that it will pull you down. This? God has even THIS.” 
And then you sigh heavily and curl up on the couch. Your sleep is broken. Your mind is always just off task. And you would give anything to rip that aching from your friend’s hand and heave it into the abyss where it probably came from in the first place. “Here satan. Have it back. Go sell crazy someplace else; we’re all stocked up here.” 
You know what I am finding? I’m finding God doesn’t want me to shoulder the burdens of others anymore than he asks me to carry my own. That’s mercy. His mercy says “Here I am. Take this.” And he hands us his yoke. A burden of peace. A smothering of grace. A whole gravy boat of beautiful. A tidal wave of “lean not on your own understanding.” 
That’s what I want. To trade my ashes in for his beauty, even if the ashes were never mine. Because really, no ashes are ever mine. Jesus took those singed pieces of our souls and died on the cross and payed no mind to our uncomfortableness over the whole thing. 
We want to take from him with our left hand and give him something with our right. But who would want what we have to offer? I want Jesus and that is all. I want him and his peace and his joy. Take your ashes. Take your anvils. Take your crutches. I’ll take Jesus.