The Mystery of Rest
If I knew how to go about having a nervous breakdown, I just might try it. What does that look like? I wondered. Do I simply throw all my loose papers, receipts, syllabi, and my mile-long to-do list high into the air and quickly walk away? Do I boycott grocery shopping, auto maintenance, and dental appointments? Should I tell everyone that I have officially quit, resigned from, and dismissed every commitment I have ever made? Do I toss my computer, cell phone, and Day-Timer out the window and retreat to the confines of my bedroom?
We all know the passage from Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
But do we know how to come to Jesus, how to take His yoke, and how to find the rest He alone offers? I told a dear friend last night that I feel so heavy-laden (ever try to carry a sofa on your back all by yourself?), that if I don't find relief for the 2.9 million worries and 3.1 million decisions I have to make, I may just have to check out as a fruit loop.
Do you know what she told me? First she said (my very elaborate paraphrasing), "You are not God. You were not built to carry these things, and if you try, your emotional, spiritual, and physical energy will quickly drain leaving you completely depleted and exhausted."
Yep, she nailed me.
Second, she encouraged me to fall flat on my face before the Lord and ask Him for help. I countered with, "Friend, I do that ALL. THE. TIME," and it goes like this: "WAHHHHH!!!! Lord, help me, please!!!!"
"Are you flat on the floor?"
"Do you pick the sofa right back up after your agonizing plea?"
"Well, [sheepishly], yes. And I even tell God that I will try harder to figure all of this out, to prioritize....with His help, of course!"
Ever know the Word, but not know THE Word? I know all the Scriptures that will encourage my heart when I am feeling especially vulnerable and stressed. But there seems to be a disconnect being knowing and acting on that belief by encountering God.
What does it really mean to take up Jesus' yoke? Contextually from Matthew 11, Jesus' yoke provided a sharp contrast to the yoke of the Pharisees. Generally speaking, a yoke is associated with any burden, however. So you fill in the blank with what most burdens you in this 21st century world we live in.
Notice how Jesus admonishes us to "learn" from Him. I enjoy seeing myself move in tandem with Him, to be guided and steered by Him, and to operate as He would operate. But this doesn't happen without deliberation.
All of the worries, concerns, and list of things that I must do really won't go away. They have to be done, dealt with, or decided. And as a single person and head of household, the weight I bear is heavier to shoulder, but the godly provision also increases. To allow these "issues" to debilitate is not of the Lord.
Notice how we don't find rest from (our duties and obligations), but we find rest for our souls. The word for "soul" in Greek means two compelling things: 1) breath of life; 2) our feelings, desires, and affections and our moral beings designed for eternal life. Can we connect the two? We learn humbly to fall with our faces flat on the floor and figuratively to breathe in the very breath of the eternal God. Can you do this?
With the infilling of His Spirit, we are then empowered to function not from our fortitude and strength, but instead by His. With humility and love, God gently eases the sofa off our backs and acquaints us with how to manage the "sofa" His way. The only yoke we bear is to walk alongside Him as He leads.
On my computer screen, on the fridge, and in my van, I have a clip-art picture of a pilot in the cockpit of a plane giving a thumb's up. I imagine myself as co-pilot. The thrill of doing life as co-pilot comes with excitement, yes, but also with much relief. It's when I try to grab the controls that I lose my breath and grow anxious. Amidst the storms and turbulence, my Pilot reassures me with the sweetest smile, "It's gonna be a wild ride. I've got this one, Babe. Just hang on."
Oh, to believe Him and trust Him more.
"HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY,
Blue Letter Bible. "Gospel of Matthew 11 - (NIV - New International Version)." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 16 Jul 2013. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=11&t=NIV >
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