There are many days I long to stay at home and curl up in my comfy socks and sweatpants and shut out the world. Especially when the weather starts turning cold and the rain is as relentless as my to-do list. I long for warmth, peace and quiet and above all I long for REST. I become weary of dragging myself out of bed and pushing myself through another non-stop day. Even beyond the physical exhaustion I feel, the real issue often becomes the emotional exhaustion.
Jesus spoke to this in that most beautiful moment when he intimately unveiled his heart: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
All I need in order to qualify for this blissful soul rest is to be burdened and weary.
Check and check.
Exhaustion and burn-out are real things. I experience them every year as a teacher. Sometimes multiple times. But it isn’t just my job. Sometimes the demands of family or ministry, a lingering illness or a large undertaking like a move - these things can drain us to our core. We all have responsibilities we can’t escape that relentlessly whittle away our strength and fortitude.
Beyond that we also become burdened by all we think we need to be: the roles we play for others and the fear of letting them down. As women we so often try to be everything to everyone and this pushes us beyond healthy limits. And the weariness sets in. Life loses it's vibrant colors.
And that’s when Christ’s voice and His heart remind me of how beautifully He foresaw this most debilitating human state - and how He has provided for it.
If, like me, you are burdened by heavy expectations, by endless responsibilities, by the enslaving fear of not being good enough or by the compulsion to constantly do more - then you qualify for His rest.
He is gentle.
He is humble in heart.
He isn’t interested in making all of the external noise stop but rather with quieting the inner turmoil. Peace for your soul. Even while the storm rages on outside. I like to picture a peaceful lake with barely a ripple on the surface. He invites me to go there with him - every moment of every day. No reservations or plane tickets required. There in the peaceful quiet I can see more clearly and learn from my Lord. He longs to remove my burdens and breathe new life into my spirit. Rest, renewal and a life of inner peace are the unbelievable birthrights that we have simply by answering Christ’s call and coming to him. He restores our souls.
Today, if you’re feeling that you have to push extra hard and you are weary from your burdens, be encouraged that there is a place to go for beautiful soul rest. Gift yourself a quiet moment, take several deep breaths and savor that knowledge. The Message version of our Lord’s promise is worth taking time to meditate on today:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Lord, may we learn to live according to your rest-filled, peaceful, unforced rhythms of grace.