My journey in the Healing Arts began with pain; emotional, physical and spiritual pain. I was ready to have my burdens lightened by fully partaking of the Atonement of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I realized that I had been holding on to several false beliefs concerning the Atonement. I now work as an energy release facilitator, life coach and spiritual counselor. Fully partaking of the Atonement by casting ones’ burdens to the Savior is the primary focus of my work. As I visit with my clients, I find that I am not the only one who holds onto false beliefs.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Christ implores, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Unfortunately, most of us do not answer this call. Why? See if you recognize any of these false beliefs in your own life’s experience.
We believe that we are our ‘brokenness’. It is who we are – our self-identity. If we were to be free of our burdens, who would we be?
We believe that we get much needed attention from being ‘martyrs’ to our burdens.
We believe that we are unable to lay down our ‘sword of struggle’ by accepting the healing power of the Atonement. We find purpose in our struggle.
“People are tenacious when it comes to the treasure of their imaginary independence. They hoard and hold their sickness with a firm grip. They find their identity and worth in their brokenness and guard it with every ounce of strength they have…they have tried to lock the door of their heart from the inside.” 1
We are here on earth to overcome, to stretch, to learn, and to grow so that we may someday return home. Just as we wouldn’t expect to gain physical muscles if we never went to the gym, how can we gain spiritual muscles if we don’t lift our burdens and surrender them to our Lord?
We believe that we are not ‘worthy’ of the Atonement
Isn’t Satan crafty? He knows better than to try to convince us that the Atonement isn’t real. Instead, he tries to convince us that it is for everyone else, but not for us. A running thread through mankind is the feeling of worthlessness and self-rejection. How much effort can we exert to the service of our fellowman if we are focused on self-hatred. Satan likes us to confuse humility with belittling ourselves, don’t be deceived! Our Heavenly parents need confident sons and daughters to do their work here on earth!
We believe that we deserve the ‘punishment’ of carrying our own burdens and thus don’t ‘deserve’ the healing power of the Atonement.
We believe that we are only truly repentant if we continue in our self-recriminations, especially if our burdens are self-inflicted.
“Carrying guilt over something that occurred in the past is self-indulgent. It keeps us frozen in a paralysis of will, feeling unable – but in truth being unwilling – to change.” 2
“If you are not willing to let go of guilt then you’ve become too comfortable with not liking yourself.” 3
We believe that it is our ‘duty’ to carry our own burdens.
We believe in our own strength (the arm of flesh) and that we are more righteous if we carry them ourselves.
Because we have learned that ‘we are saved by grace after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23), we often feel that there is more that we must ‘do’ in order to earn the healing power of the Atonement. How many of us are so focused on keeping our shoulder to the wheel that we refuse to ‘take His yoke upon us’?
We believe that we are the Savior when it comes to our loved ones and that we must carry their burdens for them if we love them.
It is time for us to come down from the cross and trust in the Lord. As we take our loved ones burdens upon us, we actually stand between them and the Savior. As a parent of a wayward child, it is so tempting to turn inward with self-recriminations and self-blame. When we as parents lift our own eyes to the Savior, we can point the way for our children when they have been sufficiently humbled. Our worry only invites darkness.
We believe that if we truly love our Savior, we would never ask Him to carry our burdens. After all, He is already carrying the burdens of all mankind! Why would we ask Him to carry ours as well? The last thing that we would ever want to do is to add to his suffering.
Jesus suffered deeply because He loves us deeply! He wants us to repent and be converted so that He can fully heal us. Our Savior suffered every pain and sorrow that we could possibly encounter because of His great love for us. How can we let his suffering be in vain?!
We believe that the Atonement is only for our sins and not for our burdens.
For the better part of my life, I thought that I was fully partaking of the Atonement. I regularly knelt by my bed asking for forgiveness of my sins. Burdens, illnesses, sorrows? Honestly, I had never even considered that these could be lifted from my shoulders. I just figured that this kind of pain was part of my human experience. Although we are meant to go through trials in order to learn and grow here on earth, we have not been asked to do it alone.
We believe the Atonement is not really infinite.
We believe that our burdens and sins are inconsequential. The Atonement is only for the really ‘big stuff’.
How often do we misunderstand the miraculous power of our Savior’s Atonement? We are limited by our finite minds. How can we possibly comprehend infinity? The Atonement is for all.
We believe that the Atonement is a ‘one-time’ event at the end of our mortal probation-before we go to meet our Maker-and not something that is part of our daily lives.
We’ve all heard of deathbed repentance, but I have found that there is also the belief in ‘deathbed’ partaking of the Atonement.
“For some reason, we think the Atonement of Christ applies only at the end of mortal life to redemption from the Fall, from spiritual death. It is much more than that. It is an ever-present power to call upon in everyday life.’”4
We believe that we are not in need of the Atonement-our sins are justified.
“If the burden is guilt, then repentance is the Balm of Gilead. Some, however, seek to cure guilt with self-justification, a quack medicine which only covers the symptoms; it will never cure the cause. Self-justification leads one to blame another for his mistakes.” 5 Every sin must be dealt with as the Spirit directs in order for us to be forgiven and the atonement applied in our behalf.
We believe that we will be unable to ‘change our ways’ and so we feel that it is pointless to even try to access the Atonement. We have given up hope.
“Preparing for the Celestial Kingdom is not based on controlling our evil desires with superhuman restraint and willpower, for then the evil is only caged and locked inside us like a ticking time bomb, just waiting for the right temptation to light the fuse. That is the natural man’s way of trying to be good. It is the difference between relying on the mortal plan of merely controlling our bad habits, and allowing Christ to change our heart and give us a new birth so that we no longer want the sins. And nothing but the blood, Atonement, and grace of Jesus Christ can do that.” 6
We believe that in order to partake fully of the Atonement we will have to relive the pain of our past and that will be more than we can bear.
“The Lord is the ultimate caregiver. We must surrender ourselves to the Lord. In doing so, we give up whatever is causing our pain and turn everything over to Him. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee” (Psalm 55:22).
We believe that if we acknowledge our need for the Atonement it will make our burdens ‘more real’. We can no longer live in denial.
We believe that we can keep our sins a secret (even from God) and that if we partake of the Atonement, our sins will be revealed. Addictions, in particular, bring a heavy burden of secrets and pain.
“Man’s tendency is to hide from his sin, seeking refuge in the darkness.
There he indulges in self-pity, denial, self-righteousness, blaming, and hatred.
But I am the Light of the world, and My illumination decimates the darkness.
Come close to Me and let My light envelop you,
driving out darkness and permeating you with Peace.” 7
We believe that partaking of the Atonement means that we are weak, that we have failed in our ability to carry our own burdens. We have admitted defeat.
Pres. Ezra Taft Benson has admonished us, “We must cleanse the inner vessel by conquering pride. We must yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit. Put off the prideful natural man, become a saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord and become as a child – submissive, meek, and humble.”
We believe that the power of the Atonement could not possibly be enough to heal the depths of our personal pain; our pain is much too deep and all-encompassing for true healing to ever be reached.
By coming unto Christ, every soul can see, feel, and know of a surety that Christ suffered and atoned for our sins that we may have eternal life. All of us have times in our lives where we are offended, hurt, and yes, even victimized. It is easy to blame God for these events in our lives. The truth is that we are mighty spirits who chose our life experiences in the premortal realm.
We believe that carrying our burdens gives our lives purpose, that it is our ‘life’s work’.
Enduring adversity is not the only thing you must do to experience a happy life. Consider the Lord’s uniquely individual invitation to ‘take my yoke upon you.’ When I think about pulling in a yoke with someone much stronger than me, it would benefit me in two ways. First, I would feel some relief in having a stronger partner helping to pull the load. But also, having a stronger and swifter partner would push me. It would help me to develop my muscles and increase my endurance. As we walk with our Savior, we are able to reach higher and stretch further. He is helping us develop the strength to fulfill our eternal destinies!
We believe that our shame is much too great to allow us to face the Savior with our sins and burdens.
When we express that we are ’embarrassed to death’, we are not too far off the mark. Shame is an extremely low vibration. When we are in the energy of shame, we become stuck. We have no motivation to move forward. There is a huge difference between Godly sorrow and shame. Godly sorrow or mature guilt is actually a constructive emotion and motivates us to repent and come unto Him.
We believe that if we heal from our wounds through the Atonement, it will let our perpetrators ‘off the hook’.
Sometimes we feel that we are living in a cage with the bars representing the traumas that have occurred in our life. Even though the traumas are no longer occurring, we continue to live in our cage. Our Savior’s Atonement is the key that unlocks the door of the cage so that we may fly free. But, the cage feels so safe and comfortable. And so we choose to stay back in its dark corners and deprive ourselves of the wondrous beauty that is just outside the open door. In this way, we do not receive the miracle of the Atonement in our life.
We believe that the miracle of the Atonement is actually just an abstract concept. It is not really accessible to us. In fact, how exactly do we ‘partake’ of this awe-inspiring miracle?
It seems a very daunting task to learn ‘how’ to claim the healing power for us personally. Or, it could be just the opposite. Like refusing to look upon Moses’ serpent or wash in the River Jordan to be healed, we refuse to accept the simplicity of surrendering our burdens to the Savior. Although there are many tools, techniques and modalities that help us facilitate the surrendering of our burdens to the Savior, pure intent and faith are the keys. As we have a righteous desire in our hearts to partake of the Atonement, it really doesn’t matter how we proceed to do it; it only matters that we have faith enough to ask. We often hear calls to ‘not procrastinate the day of our repentance.’ Let us not procrastinate the day of our healing through the Atonement of our Savior.
“And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son” (Alma 33:23).
I testify that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer, our Friend, our Advocate, the Great Physician, the Great Healer. In Him, we can find peace and solace. Through Him, our wounds will be healed.
1 – ‘The Shack’ by William P. Young
2 – ‘Pace of Grace’ by Linda Popov
3 – ‘Living the Heartlife’ by Steven Wand
4 – ‘The Triumph of Zion’ by John Pontius
5 – ‘The Worth of Every Soul’ by Gerald Curtis
6 – ‘Jesus Calling’ by Sarah Young, May 20
7 – “The Touch of the Master’s Hand,” Ensign, May 2001, 23