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Editor’s Note: Vocations director Sr. Sheila Lehmkuhle, FMM reflects on the idea of letting go of our burdens and offering them up to God. 

Sometimes, in work and life I feel inadequate and anxious. I don’t know what to do. When I was in the novitiate, I remember my novice directress telling me to take my concerns, cares, worries, and responsibilities and visually put them on the altar to be consecrated and made God’s work, not my own. God is always ready to take our burdens off our shoulders, and they are not burdens to God.

Think of the people you help in your ministry or someone you live with.   You give them your time, your loving attention. And yes, sometimes it costs you, but their burdens do not belong to you. They are not yours and you are not the one who must continue to live with them. Yet, your attention and listening to the other eases their suffering whether you take on the burden yourself or not.

A saving grace of the charism of our congregation is that Eucharistic adoration is a part of our daily life. We also pray together and go to daily Mass. These all give me time to confront myself before God, whom I always experience as lovingly present with attentiveness and without judgement, in mercy and in love. It is like being lovingly embraced by a great, strong, and wise father. I am invited to put everything into Jesus’ hands. When I turn it over, I know, at that moment that all shall be well.

I invite you to do the same. Let go of what does not belong to you. Do not think that everything depends on you; it doesn’t. Put your burdens on the altar at Mass or adoration and leave them there. Leave them in God’s hands to be transformed and made whole.

“Do not be afraid; I am with you.” (Isaiah 41:10) These words of God to Israel echo through time, and most profoundly through Jesus, Word of the Father, as he walked this earth among his disciples and followers telling them again and again, “Do not be afraid. I AM with you.” Jesus continues to be here with us now, in this day and age, in this moment. Put your trust in God. Give everything you have to God and, in the end, all shall be well.

Reflection Questions: When have you felt most anxious or insecure? How did you overcome these sentiments/feelings? What are you still called to overcome?

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Sr. Sheila Lehmkuhle, FMM lives outside Chicago, where she serves as vocation director for the U.S. province of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. Before entering religious life she taught in rural Kansas through a diocesan volunteer program and has since lived as a missionary sister in France, England and Vietnam.

*Featured image: adaptation of photo by wikimedia user ProtoplasmaKid – creative commons