Guest Blog Series: Carrie Erikson
Written by Carrie Erikson
I am currently 20 months into co-pastoring our church plant. Most days I love this life. Most days I feel honored and blessed to lead this church and these people alongside my husband. Some days that is not the case. There are days I feel a burden that weighs me down and chokes my heart with heaviness.
The interesting thing about these feelings is they have nothing to do with my life. Marriage is great, kids are happy and healthy and our church is growing and thriving. People are coming to know Jesus and being discipled each week. No, this pain is not my own, rather it is the burden of caring for people. The burden of truly loving people. The burden of the text that reads, “my husband wants a divorce, what should I do”. The burden of the phone call from a crying mother who just lost her baby. The overwhelming burden that we carry each and every day when we choose to love people.
Loving people is hard. It would be easier to keep people at arm’s length, to never truly get up in their mess and do life together. I have tried to live that way and it is safer, but it sure is lonely. Getting to live life with people is an honor. Being with people at their best is wonderful but it is only that much sweeter when you have also walked through the deep, dark parts of life as well, side by side. Living this life is an honor, a high calling. We can’t forget that or take it for granted.
If we aren’t careful as pastors, as leaders, as those whom God has called to lead, we can assume that this burden is ours to bear. If we are honest, none of us are qualified. Even on my best day there is no way for me to solve problems or fix people’s messes.
And that’s where the self doubts come in: I am not qualified, I don’t have what it takes, there has got to be someone better to lead these people. Just that quickly it becomes about me. The burden begins to take on a life of its own. It is heavy and it weighs me down so that I am not at my best for myself, my husband, my kids or our church. When I attempt to carry this burden alone, I fail.
Take a deep breath. That’s it, go ahead. Relax your shoulders. Close your eyes. It is not your burden to bear.1 Peter 5:7 encourages us “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” He knows we don’t have what it takes to carry these burdens.
So what is our job as leaders? It is our job to love. There are times people can’t get their burdens to Jesus, they aren’t strong enough. That is when we step in and help to carry those things to the feet of Jesus.
One lesson I have had to learn the hard way in this journey is that someone else’s crisis is not my crisis. It can’t be. I would live my life in crisis. In leading and serving people, someone is always in crisis. It is our job to exchange the burden for the yoke of the Holy Spirit and let him do the heavy lifting. That can only be done if we take time to lay down those burdens. To rest in the Spirit and lean into His presence. In his presence there is fullness of joy. That’s it. We can lead people into the presence of God. We can take them by the hand and lead them there.
Next time we are tempted to be the Savior, let us remember that job has already been taken.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Carrie Erikson is the co-pastor of Mercy City Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, alongside her husband Matt. Carrie has worked in the Special Education Department at public schools in Georgia and Nebraska for the past four years and has recently felt the call to go into full time ministry as Mercy City continues to grow. She has been writing her blog since 2012, and is currently working on her first book. Carrie’s heart is to see people find hope in Christ, no matter what their circumstance or situation. It is her heart’s desire that people can find freedom in God’s faithfulness. Matt and Carrie have been married for 15 years and have four children. Carrie has traveled to seven countries and all over the US bringing a message of hope to people. It is truly her heart’s desire to see every knee bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
IG: @ carrieerikson