Today's post was written by Ann Mainse.
Confessions of a Weary Soul
Don’t you love it when God proves that He definitely has your number? Over the last few days, I’ve been feeling tired… worn out. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally. If I’m to be totally honest (not a new thing, I promise!), I think sometimes I grow weary in well-doing. I know the verse in Galatians 6:9 that tells me not to, but sometimes I can’t help it. Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re there now. You’re doing all the right things, with all of your might… and you’re tired. Drained. It’s like you’re running on a treadmill (very good for you) and your energy level is depleting fast (not so good). You know you’re getting close to the end of your reserve, but the treadmill isn’t slowing down. What do you do? Well, if you’re me, you read what God has put right in front of you (like I said, He has my number). Have a look at where I found myself reading 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. ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Learn to live freely and lightly. You’re smiling, aren’t you? I know I am (I think HE is too). Why is it so easy to get caught up in doing for God and forget that He’d much rather we focus on being with Him? Learning from Him. Living in Him. Why is it so hard to remember that we’re not called to observe a religion but to enjoy a relationship? We just need to come.
Oh, we know that our life is in God's hands. Jesus has our heart. God's Spirit is our fuel. But, sometimes life gets so busy that we forget to top up the tank… to stay plugged into our Source. We forget to listen to His voice. Life gets busy. And busy is not always good.
One of my favourite authors, Jill Briscoe, put it beautifully in her book, The Deep Place Where Nobody Goes: Conversations With God on the Steps of My Soul. Let’s join her for a moment on the steps…
I ran to the Deep Place where nobody goes, and found Him waiting there.
“Where have you been?” He asked me.
“I’ve been in the shallow place where everyone lives,” I replied. I knew He knew. He just wanted me to admit I’d been too busy being busy.
“I’m running out…” I began.
“Of course,” He said. “I haven’t seen you in a while.”
He sat down on the steps of my soul and smiled at me. Angels sang; a shaft of light chased away the shadows and brightened my daily day. I smiled back.
“I’m such a fool…”
“Shhh,” He said, putting His finger on my lips.
He touched my hurried heart. Startled, it took a deep breath and skidded to a near stop. My spirit nestled into nearness in the Deep Place where nobody goes.
My soul spoke, then: He answered with words beyond music. Where on Earth had I been?
Good question (for all of us). How long has it been since we’ve sat quietly with Him? Allowed Him to speak into the deepest place in us? No iPhone. No daytimer. No meals, or laundry or wonderfully needy children. Just Jesus and you.
Where have you been? He asks. The invitation is clear. Your loving Source is near. Hear Him say it again.
Come to Me…
You can see more blog posts from Ann Mainse at crossroads360.com/blog. Crossroads360.com is a multi-channel service providing entertaining, informative and transformative content. In addition to blogs, there are episodes of past television shows as well as exclusive web content. Their channels include KidsSpace, God Stories, Music, Explore Faith, Nostalgia, Everyday Life and News.
In these days when John Deere and Massey Ferguson are common names on the farm, the yoke has become an unfamiliar implement. Before the tractor was invented however, the yoke had been used for millennia to link oxen, horses or other animals together to plow the fields or to haul heavy loads. Although there are different types of yokes, they are essentially molded wooden beams used to bind animals together so that they work in unison. Often the yoke was molded so that a larger, more experienced animal could be linked with an animal that needed to be trained.
The idea of a yoke would have been well understood by Matthew’s audience, both literally and symbolically. They understood the concept of a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1) The religious leaders known as the Pharisees had taken God’s laws, the commandments given to Moses, and added to their own rules to them, rules that were so strict that they were a burden to follow. In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus is telling his listeners that what He expected of them was not as difficult as the expectations of the Pharisees. It is not that our load is taken from us when we decide to partner with Jesus, but He helps us to bear it; if we yoke ourselves to Him, He will teach us and share our burdens. If we follow Him, learn from Him and do things His way, we will find rest for our souls. When we come to Jesus, we are free from the law, not the laws of the land we live in, (Romans 13:1) but the extra religious laws like those that the Pharisees imposed. Today, that would be seen as the legalism of some churches—burdens that God had not intended for us.
The Pharisees rejected Jesus because they didn’t feel that they needed Him; they believed that they were already righteous, because they followed the rules so closely. But to those who wanted it, those who felt weary and burdened, Jesus offered the gift of rest. (Matthew 11:28) We need to come to Him, to believe and to accept His gift. Let me emphasize that we are coming to the person of Jesus, not a church or a religion. Following religious rules is not the way to find rest for our souls. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6) We can receive this gift of rest from no one else.