When we are exhausted by life, there is a common symptom: complaining! We begin to feel that nothing is good enough, that no one is on our side. The food isn’t right. The music is too loud/soft. Angry, sometimes bitter, emotions flourish like weeds in our soul and we start to see only the bad, the unpleasant, the hard.
When I hear myself whining too much about too many things, I know it is time for an attitude adjustment. I sometimes speak myself aloud – “Jerry, just give it a rest!” If possible, my next choice is to find some time to pray and praise, to ask God for a reset of mind and heart. In those choices I find renewed hope, the sun shines brighter!
Do you know that God cares for you?
We fret, stress, and struggle trying to make life into what we think it ought to be. All the while, the Lord says, “Give it a rest!” “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.“ (1 Peter 5:7, NIV) Jesus also reminds us that for all our worrying we cannot ‘add a single hour to life!’ God does not ask us to minimize our concerns or to pretend that life has no stress, but He invites us to let Him care, to entrust those things that we cannot control to Him. By faith we can choose to enter into a place of rest, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
In the Psalm that celebrates God care for us (23) there is a wonderfully strange line – “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies!” David says that God makes dinner for him right on life’s battlefield! Dinner can be respite at the end of a busy day, a time to reconnect with family and renew body and soul. God says that when the war of life rages, He offers dinner – renewal, hope, rest, and restored strength.
On this Monday morning draw strength for the challenges of this new week from the Spirit. Present yourself, your needs, your responsibilities to Him. Please know this: God’s rest is not about retiring from life, about finding a place away from engagement with the world. He wants us to learn to work with Him. When we learn to work with His strength, we multiply our effectiveness. When we strive, fret, push, and press ourselves to prove to Him that we deserve His blessings our efforts become dutiful, exhausting, and often more about appearance than substance. There is a better way!
Find it as you meditate on Jesus’ words. “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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV) He wants to come alongside and bear the weight. Will you allow Him to do that? There is rest waiting. No, not the kind of rest we find in a hammock in the backyard on a Summer afternoon. It’s a sense of fulfillment and purpose that comes from knowing He is pleased with us.
Our word from the Word is that same passage from The Message: “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)
Abba, the conspiracy of evil will attempt to
draw me into hurry and worry.
In that place, I know that You are not honored,
nor do I do my best work.
So, remind me often that You are here, near,
and ready to prepare dinner in the middle of the battle.
Teach me to work with You,
To release to Your care those things over which I have little control,
To walk obediently so that Your peace can keep me.
As You bless me, may I be a blessing to others.
In Jesus’ name. Amen