Lord have Mercy on My Rough and Rowdy Ways
Saturday, June 9, 2012 7:02:26 AM
I want to define these three words and maybe then you'll catch a glimpse of what I am talking about.
Encumbrance: an onerous or difficult concern; "the burden of responsibility"; onus, load, but there is also a Legal aspect, which is a burden or charge against or on property such a a lien or mortgage, or the legal responsibility of a dependent. It can even be defined has a handicap, restraint, impediment, or hindrance.
Burden: something that is carried. (the most basic definition)
Practicality/Practice: the aspects of a situation that involves the actual doing or experience of something rather than theories or ideas. Of, relating to, governed by, or acquired through practice or action, rather than theory, speculation, or ideals: gained practical experience of sailing as a deck hand.
Now you are thinking (most likely), "encumbrance and burden is the same thing." You are right in theory and wrong in the here and now. I'm going to insist we use both these words for their main use. Encumbrance is more often used (at least in the world I've come from) in contracts, legal proceedings and building plans. Burden, in it's most simple definition is something that is carried it can be physical or emotional, but for the sake of the discussion it is neither positive or negative, it's just heavy whatever it is. Practicality is the way these things actually play out in a person in his or her actions everyday. In short, how he experiences his life.
Now think that there is an encumbrance (real or imagined), a legal obligation, attached to every burden you come across (the handicap/impediment that is attached to every bit of information, relationship, object). These encumbrances can fall in to numerous categories: social norms, expectations, personal likes and dislikes, or seemingly awkward relations or events. This encumbrance is suddenly the only thing the person (you) see. A situation comes up and it is filtered through a strainer that separates the simple situation from this encumbrance, hence you say something like, "I've been invited to this party and I want to go, BUT if I go than it will mean this, and this person will think this, and it will not look good if this happens and this person is there when this hypothetical thing occurs so I better not go to the party." When the real situation, the only situation in front of you at that moment is where or not you are going to say yes to a party. And all that reasoning may be very proper, very good, full of boundaries. But let's cut to the truth of it. What an encumbrance is is self-insurance because of FEAR. In practice all this looks like is a lonely Friday night every time.
A Burden, on the other hand, can sometimes appear to be an encumbrance but it is not. And it is deserving of healthy reasoning, planning and prayer. It is simple and it is customized. You are invited to a party and there is a check in your heart and burden for a situation you may encounter if you are to attend the party. Well, you have been invited and God knows you have, so you need to ask him what he thinks. Should you go to the party? You also, in God's economy have freewill so you can go if God does not raise a reason for not attending. There is no FEAR, but a simple opportunity to look at the thing directly in front of you, hand it to God and say, this may be a problem, it may be a blessing. I need you to sort this out. And I need you to tell me how to think about it. God will usually bring to mind scripture. There is no internal dialogue or anxiety. This, in fact, is what it means to take every thought captive.
An encumbrance is actually contractual pride, I want to talk about this more later, but I've been thinking about it quite a bit and I want to give it proper space. But at the crux of this idea is that you put yourself under legal obligation to everyone, including yourself and you play God. A Burden is something God gives you for a person or event to use for good, always for good, otherwise he would have never drawn your attention to it.
Then in the practice of it you will be led in to a spacious and good place, not bound in perceived obligation. And it is here you can be simply yourself, knowing no more than you aught.
My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty. I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But you have stilled and quieted my soul."