I look into the tired and stressed faces of the people around me - including my own staring back at me from the bathroom mirror - and I think to myself there has got to be a better way. God created us to be more than the stressed-out, over-worked, endlessly-exhausted individuals that many of us have become or are becoming.
I have written on this before (January 24, 2017 - You Were Created for More Than This) but I think it is worth visiting again. The only place that we can truly find soul-deep rest is in our relationship with God.
We will not find it in a glass or two of wine at the end of the day, in a false sense of security from our friends on social media, or in an over-scheduled life that tries to fill the empty places. At various points in my life, I have been guilty of doing all of these things. How about you? What do you do to try to find rest outside of God’s best for your life?
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” This verse is pretty straight forward. But first we need to make the choice to slow down long enough to go to Jesus.
Matthew 11:29-30 goes one to say, “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.” Picture a yoke as two oxen connected together by a wooden bar hauling a heavy load. This life we are living right now is a heavy load for most of us. Are we going to choose to haul it all by ourselves? Or are going to choose to share it with the one person who can ease our burden and give us rest?
If you feel like your head is going to explode, pop off and roll across the floor (my analogy for when I am stressed and overwhelmed) here are some practical suggestions that have worked for me in the past:
1) Do a brain dump on paper before you got to bed. Write down everything that should be done, must be done and has already been done.
2) Confess the sin of “I can do it all” and the indispensable person syndrome. Lay your burdens at the feet of Jesus. Be very specific and give them to him one by one.
3) Practice self-care. Become convicted that time with God, a healthy diet, and regular exercise are non-negotiables and a top priority when you are stressed and overwhelmed.
4) Be transparent with friends and family. Ask for extra hugs, an extra portion of grace and an outside perspective to help you separate the important “must-do” from the not so important “this can wait” (or be let go off all together).
Precious Father - May we submit to your yoke knowing that you are gentle and humble in heart. Help us to understand that apart from you we can do nothing. Thank you that in you we can find soul-deep rest. And Lord, may we find it in you today. Amen