“I can’t take it anymore!” Have you ever thought that? In those moments, we feel overwhelmed and stretched so thin we think we are going to break. We desperately want to feel differently, and if you are like me, you start looking for a way to escape.
Scripture: “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.”
Truth: When we are overwhelmed, we just want to feel better fast. So we binge watch The Office, go get ice cream, and sometimes engage in behaviors that we know are hurtful to us or the ones we love. It’s the numbing of emotion, the temporary lifting of pressure that feels so good. But it doesn’t last, does it?
Jesus offers us something different. Something lasting. A new yoke. His yoke, which is easy to bear. A yoke is a piece of wood fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the cart that they are to pull. What an invitation! Jesus is showing us a new way to do life. Life with him. When we learn to do life connected to Jesus (notice how he says “let me teach you”), everything changes.
Prayer is the place of exchange. It’s where we come to Jesus and yield. We trust him with our anxieties, and he fills us with his peace. We give him our fears, and he comforts us with his love. We look to him to meet our needs, and he gives us assurance of his provision. We give Jesus the burdens of our lives, and he gives us the restfulness of his, over and over and over again. And over time, instead of being numbed, we find we are healed.
- Write down everything burdening you right now. This might be your job responsibility, the needs of your family, multiple household duties, a broken relationship, covid-related stress, a painful past, anxiety about what is happening in our country, grief related to a loss.
- Over the course of the next week, talk about each of these things with Jesus. Why is it burdening you? What is at the heart of your struggle with this area of your life?
- When you are done, imagine putting that struggle in a box and Jesus extending his hand to take it from you. Can you give it to him?
- Ask him what he wants to give you in exchange. What does he say? Imagine him reaching out his hand to give you a different box. Can you accept it?
- What does it look like to move forward in life having exchanged boxes with Jesus?
Jesus, thank you for inviting me into a different life. Teach me how to live in connection with you. I am ready to learn. In your name, amen.