It’s been a long week.
I feel like I hardly got anything done. I haven’t been home to do anything. I’ve worked both of my jobs and I’ve helped get ready for my best friend’s wedding but I still feel like I have gotten nowhere.
Except, I have been working through an email series by Carolyn Watts called “An Invitation to Rest”. I found it after reading a blog post called “When life takes a detour“. It was very timely for my current situation, so when I got to the bottom of the post and I saw the link for the “five day contemplative course” I thought, “This is for me.”
And it has been.
Carolyn Watts has said some very fitting things these past few days, from encouraging me to notice what the words of Matthew 11:28-30 says to helping me figure out how to trade my yoke for Jesus’.
While reading the first of the emails, the words from The Message version of Matthew really stood out to me.
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.Matthew 11:28-30 The Message
Tired, Worn Out, Burned Out
This is my life right now. Tired, worn out, burned out. It’s like this was written for me. I’ve been trying to rest, but it’s so hard to rest in such a state of unrest.
But then can these emails and I was encouraged to “Come”. The Bible invites us over and over again to come to Jesus.
I have a bad habit of not spending enough time writing and spending time with Jesus when life gets busy. When life gets busy is really when I need to do that the most. I need to learn to come to Jesus and give Him the stress I’m carrying around because it’s heavy and I can’t carry it on my own.
Jesus promises to give us rest. In my head, I tend to have this picture of a baby sleeping calmly in a hand that can only be God’s. When I try to picture Jesus comforting me as I give up my burden for His, that is the picture I see of the rest He gives. It’s peaceful, calm, and soothing. For a moment, I can breathe without anxiety or fear. I’m still working on giving it up for good, though, because for some reason, I keep picking it back up again.
When reading the verses, notice how it doesn’t say we are to have empty hands? Instead, we are to trade our burden for His burden, our yoke for His.
“A yoke is an instrument of work. Experiencing Jesus’ rest doesn’t mean a perpetual vacation. The key to it being light is whose yoke it is, who is in it with me, and whether I am in step with him or pulling ahead or lagging behind.”Carolyn Watts
In reading the rest of the email, I came to the conclusion that I have been struggling with carrying the weight of expectations.
Expectations for myself, expectations I feel others have of me, expectations I have of others, and expectations of things, people, or places remaining constant.
I had the expectation when I went to get my nails done yesterday for the wedding that they would turn out fine. They did, but I was not expecting to spontaneously get a big bruise on my middle finger. It’s on the right side, thankfully it’s no longer blue like Andrew’s shirt (as it was last night), now it’s mostly a deep purple that isn’t very noticeable, but still hurts.
Expectations are sort of like that bruise. Not very noticeable, yet they still hurt when pressure is applied to them.
Sometimes, I expect something to be a constant and when it’s not, I carry that burden of failure, or grief, or fear of the unknown.
Expectations set us up for heartache when we expect things from someone or something that’s not God. They can affect our marriages, other relationships, work load…everything, when you think about it.
Part of what I want to learn from learning to come to and rest in Jesus is learning how to give up my unfounded expectations. By doing that, I can give up all the weight of my burdens, and exchange it for the yoke of learning to walk alongside Jesus and maybe, just maybe, be able to rest more fully in the love of our Father.
Today was my last day receiving the five-day email course, but I will continue to learn from the words I have read. Would you join me in this journey? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject if you choose to be refreshed by this course. Leave a comment below!