Tuesday, May 3, 2016

True Rest - Learning the Lesson

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”” - Matthew 11:28-30 

Like just about everyone else I know, my family and I are struggling with some pretty heavy stuff these days; some life altering decisions. 
And that’s no exaggeration. 
To say that we are all a little on edge, burdened down and anxious is kind of an understatement. 

So, when my friend Shannon posted her monthly Scripture Writing Plan for May (click HERE to download it) the fact that she was feeling impressed to focus on verses that deal with anxiety and fear was a light bulb moment for me. 
Really, it shouldn’t have been, isn’t the answer always found in the directions? The instruction manual? My light bulb should be a big flashing neon sign pointing straight to my Bible…. 
Anyway, bottom line is that it’s time for me to get my act together and really lean in to scripture once again. It's hard to hear from God if I’m not reading his word. Or talking to him. And you can't either.

The verses I shared at the beginning of this post are ones I’ve read more times than I can count over the years I’ve been walking with Jesus. So much so, that in my first reading today, I was like, “Ok, yeah, know that, get that, you take my burdens, you give me rest, blah, blah, blah.” 
Sigh. Nothing new to see here….or was there? 

When I began to actually write the verses on the page of my journal (it’s a scripture WRITING plan for a reason), I changed the phrasing, and copied them down like this: 

Then Jesus said, 
“Come to me, 
      all of you who are weary 
      and carry heavy burdens, 
      and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you. 
      Let me teach you, 
      because I am humble 
      and gentle at heart, 
      and you will find rest 
      for your souls. 
For my yoke is easy to bear, 
      and the burden I give you 
      is light.” 

I love that the physical act of writing out scripture causes you to SLOW DOWN and really SEE it, to soak it in. Because honestly, if I hadn’t, I would have missed the most important words in these verses. 

“Let me teach you…” 

Jesus knows all about a crazy, stress-filled life. He knows about life altering decisions and he knows about our trust issues. 
Boy, does he ever know about our trust issues….. 

He knows because he’s walked this earth, he lived life among us and even though it was a long time ago, do you really think the people of his day were any less stressed and complicated than we are? 
I think no……they may not have had smart phones and Facebook, but they had their own problems that make me thankful for running water and the miracle of a flushing toilet….just sayin’. 

Anyway, point is, he gets it. Gets US. 
And what he knows about us is that we don’t often have a teachable attitude, a heart that wants to learn and live what really matters in this life. What it’s truly all about. 

What we are is prideful. And stubborn. And unteachable at times because of it. 
Because well, we are. Admit it.
We run and run and run and go and go and go and push and push and push and work and work and work and we. get. weary. 
And we carry. heavy. burdens. 
We worship the busy and idolize the work and look for satisfaction in the accomplishments. 
And because it’s not Jesus we are worshipping, it makes us tired to the bone. 

Then we read these verses and think 
“Ok, Jesus, I get it. Take this burden from me, give me rest, trade my yoke for yours (whatever a yoke is), give me the light one. So I can recover and do it all over again.” 
Yeah. We do. 
Because we forget once again that it’s not all about us. 
It’s about him. 
We as Christ-followers are supposed to be learning to be more like Christ, to reflect his character instead of our own. 
And he is “humble and gentle at heart”. 
In him we “will find rest for *our souls”. 

Jesus loves us SO MUCH! 
And he wants to teach us to breathe - to walk in humility; to reflect a gentle spirit, a kind heart; to receive true rest for our self-complicated lives. 
But we have to LET HIM. 
The true rest for our souls that he promises is found when we lay aside our pride and willfulness and the idol of our busy life and let him be our God again. 
Because if anything or anyone other than Jesus is sitting on the throne of your life, you will never find rest. 
Or peace. 
Or light. 

And don't be confused - He doesn’t want us to stop using our gifts and talents. 
He doesn’t want us to stop doing work we love or caring for people we love or even doing the work of living. 
But he does call us to put HIM first. 
To let him teach us that when we do - everything else will fall into it’s proper place. 

And our burdens won’t be burdens at all - they will be joy. 
And our souls won’t be weary - they will be at rest.