Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Cure for "Double Yoke Syndrome"

Hope in a Prison of Despair

I have 2 posts that I am publishing within the next few days on the deadly sin of sloth and how sloth is the number one producer of despair. Sloth steals your joy, steals your peace. It seems fitting that before I publish these posts I should first post this article from my archives on how important the virtues of faith, hope, and charity are in protecting the soul from despair in general. Where faith, hope, and charity thrive there is no room for despair. These three Theological Virtues, along with the Cardinal Virtues form a "protective armor" around the soul, defending us from the vices. 

When you read Jesus' words, "for my yoke is easy and my burden light" does "oh no, Lord, your yoke weighs a ton" automatically pop into your mind? No matter how hard you try to push the thought out or ignore it? If so, this post is for you:

The food we feed our minds and the things we tell ourselves make a great deal of difference in whether our cross feels light or heavy. Half the problem with feeling doubly yoked is what we believe about ourselves and others mixed with what we may not believe nor trust about God. I joked around in a previous post about people feeling doubly yoked but there's a great deal of truth mixed in with my rather lame attempts at humor. Many people do feel overwhelmed and weighed down, but the truth is that feeling heavily burdened is often the result of a lack of hope.

Despair is the heaviest thing in the whole universe. Even a little bit is hard to carry.

What we believe or disbelieve about ourselves can leave us locked into patterns of living that make it more difficult to respond to God's freely given grace. If we don't believe that we, or others, or even a situation, can change we have the tendency to slam the door on grace. Very often there are hidden areas of hopelessness in our lives that God yearns to touch deeply with his grace but because of the things we believe about ourselves and others we keep the door closed through our own hardness of heart. A strong and stubborn belief can be a hard obstacle to remove. It can be done but we have to ask God to open up these painful wounded areas to hope. As in "Lord, please pour your hope into this area. I have difficulty believing I can/she can/he can change and I hand it over to you. Touch this part of my life with your grace. May the light of  hope cast its rays on the dark corners of my heart and may your love be the balm that heals this brokenness within me. "

Basically, when we don't trust fully in God or his word, we end up with hidden areas of despair in our hearts. We discount grace. We believe in a cheap grace that is not powerful enough to effect change in ourselves or others.

Hope is a "power" virtue and a "living" virtue. Without hope touching every aspect of our lives parts of us crumble and die inside. The easiest way to destroy someone? Strip them of their hope. Anyone who has ever lived in a state of despair can understand the debilitating effects of a lack of hope. Hope grows things... hope nourishes faith and love and brings about their full flowering.

Those of you who are gardeners have probably heard of "companion planting". This is when we group certain plants together to increase their strength and ability to survive and bear fruit. The same is true in the garden of your heart: faith, hope and charity work together to nourish the soul. These are virtues that God has infused in our hearts. Here on earth, they work in tandem. Strip one away and the others begin to fail.  When virtues fail like this we leave space in our hearts for the Seven Deadly Sins to set in. They are the "weeds" in our gardens and if not removed tend to take over the whole thing.

When I began praying for hope to light up all the areas in my life I felt hopeless about I began to see huge changes in my life. It doesn't matter the size of the issues you are despairing over, large or small He wants to open these areas to the light of hope.

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe, plans to give you a future full of hope."              Jer. 29:11

"And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."               Rom 5:5


  1. I have to be honest with you Mary. I read your title as "Double Yolk Syndrome" and thought of the times I broke an egg to find two yolks inside. It's very difficult when the recipe says "three eggs". Does a double yolked egg count as one or two?

    But to return to sanity. You're so right that our yoke is heavy. Let's face it. Being Christian is very difficult. Can we honestly always love those who hurt us, and turn the other cheek? I know I can't.

    And you're so right about despair creeping in when things go wrong; and we begin to lose hope. When things are bad, really bad; and we begin to despair; our Faith is often strenghtened rather than weakened. The fact that we continue to pray, however weakly, shows that at least we believe there's Someone there listening.

    Thank you for a wonderful post.

    God bless.

  2. Victor,
    God works all things to our good so no doubt He can use despair for our good as well. As for your question: don't you know the rule that you "don't count your chickens before they hatch"? Therefore, it counts as one egg :) (Sorry, I just couldn't think of a quick comeback for that one! Brain is set on fried today and my thoughts are all scrambled.`) God bless!

    1. Brilliant reply, Mary. Thanx. I honestly did miss-read your title and wondered what you were talking about.

      It's a very good post though. If we lose hope we can lose everything; including Faith. The devil looks for the first signs of losing hope to start working on us and lead us astray.

      God bless you.

  3. Hi, Mary. I'm not too sure if this is the right place to post this comment, so feel free to remove it if it shouldn't be here :-)

    Reading your post, the words, "despair" and "yoke" lighted up for me. Feeling despair and the heaviness of a yoke we visit upon ourselves through our negative actions is something we all identify with.

    So, imagine my shock when I realized that my long struggle with depression some years back was due to praying the wrong prayers and making the wrong sacrifices.

    You see, there were people in my immediate family who were hurting me but I thought the Christian thing was to forgive and continue being part of that abusive relationship. I prayed for strength to persevere, to say the right words, to NOT say the wrong thing to stir the hive(!). I tiptoed around incendiary topics, swallowed my hurt - putting it down to my sensitive nature, and when they insisted on things that troubled my spirit, I thought it was just my pride that was smarting.

    And as the years went by, I continued to pray for strength to continue the sacrifices of staying in that relationship. I hammered and hammered on heaven's door, begging for help. But the depression, turmoil and despair spiraled out of control. I couldn't understand why.

    Today, one year and ten months of finally being freed from depression, I understand that there is such a thing as praying good prayers that were wrong and making the wrong sacrifices. The yoke that I carried was mine and not my Lord's, and its weight almost crushed me.

    What I did all those years seemed to be right, good Christian acts but they were against the Will of God. I failed to grasp that it was not doing the right that mattered but doing His Will. I assumed they went hand in hand. And that took me to the edge of the cliff.

    My heart goes out to those who walk these same rutted paths, doing all that is right, yet so wrong.

  4. Hi Caitlynne Grace,
    Sometimes our "yokes" are not ours at all but unwieldy burdens placed upon us by others, burdens far too large for most people to carry. When we are young we shoulder these burdens because we do not know any better. After all, our families love us the most right? And we wonder how love can be so darn heavy all the time. What we fail to understand is that certain things weigh down the heart to such a degree that life itself becomes burdensome. These things are not our true crosses. Have you ever read the book "The Snoodle's Tale"? This children's book speaks powerfully of the false loads we unwittingly carry on our backs. I know where you are coming from, believe me - dysfunctional families are the norm rather than the exception these days. I don't know if you clicked on the link in my post : An Unholy Mirror but your words really struck me and I think you'll be able to relate to what I'm saying there. I am so glad you were healed of depression. Sometimes what we believe are "good Christian acts" are really just us covering the sins of another. I've done this so many times I've lost Our own sins on the other hand...

    Thank you so much for your comment, Caitlynne Grace. I am sure whoever reads it will get a lot out of it. I know I did. And I bet many people will be able to relate to your words here.

  5. "When we are young we shoulder these burdens because we do not know any better."

    Oh Mary, how true you have spoken. I didn't know any better then, because I was young in the faith. I am a cradle Catholic, yet I didn't know my Lord. Because of this, my will came first; the Divine Will was rarely a close second!

    I have broken free now simply because I am no longer young in the faith. I have grown in faith to the point that I am very aware of HOW VERY LITTLE I KNOW EVEN NOW, and that makes me cling more to God and His leading. This is such a paradox :-D When I was weak, I thought I knew it all; now when I know I have come some distance, I realize I know less and less each day!

    Reading your recent posts haven't been easy. They reminded me of loss and the sadness of the years gone by. But those words, simple as they are - "When we are young we shoulder these burdens because we do not know any better" - is the gentle love of the Father for me today. I end this with a smile on my heart :-) God bless you for this, Mary.

  6. I have noticed the same Caitlynne Grace - the more I learn about God the more I realize how very little I really do know. You're right - it's such a paradox :) We have to cast down our own understanding in order to lean upon His.

    God bless you too!