“Come to me, all of you who are heavy and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Have you ever felt so worn out emotionally and physically but couldn’t seem to get enough rest in the mist of the mundane?
I have recently been in a season like this.
Just as dawn broke one morning several weeks ago, I crept out of bed to steal a few minutes of silence before the chaos of the day broke out.
Now that the weather was warm, my new favorite place to soak in silence was our back porch. I sat, pen and journal in hand, and then I paused. Just outside the screen, I noticed a bird. A beautiful, red bird. My eye was not on the bird itself, but what it was doing. She was building a nest. She flew back and forth, gathering limbs and leaves that were used to shape a home. Each limb and leaf was placed perfectly, knowing the branch would support the weight. There was no sign of stress or anxiety. No distraction or comparison pulled her off course. She had full confidence that life would soon be placed here.
I think of that bird often and how we have been given the fullness of God’s blessing through Jesus. He has given us His inheritance (Col. 1:12) and a promise, if we walk with the Spirit we will produce much fruit (Col. 1:10).
Most women deeply desire to rest, like that bird knowing all is being provided. However, our culture sends a different message and our exhaustion testifies to this.
We work from dawn to dusk seeming to accomplish all that God has given us to do. Chaos and busyness give us a false sense of productivity for the Kingdom. Without knowing, we are not at all walking with the Spirit, but walking in the flesh. Self-sufficiency and striving leave us breathless for success. We have anxiety about missing divine opportunities that could potentially shape our whole lives. We live in constant tension of wondering if some how we have missed God.
We are desperate for some rest.
A vacation is what is needed. A time to get away and rest from the rat race. We have our vacation, but after just a few days back, we find ourselves in need of another vacation. There must be more to this meaning of rest?
As I was mediating on Matthew 11:28-30, I saw a picture of an old harness, (a yoke) placed around my neck and Jesus’ neck.
The yoke is a harness in which two animals pull together. One harness is often larger than the other. The stronger more experienced animal wears the larger part, were the younger animal, who is being trained and taught, wears the smaller part.
In my vision, I was wearing the larger part of the harness, and Jesus was wearing the smaller part. I was actually dragging Jesus. I was doing all the work, using every ounce of my strength. Sweat was dripping off my brow. I felt worn out and in need of rest.
I realized, in that moment, at the root of my striving and anxiety was pride. Working in my own strength revealed my spiritual immaturity. I considered Jesus a helper rather than life itself. I was trusting in my own judgment over His. Anxiety was toiling the ground while striving was dragging the plow.
“The most effective means the enemy has to keep believers from being full of the Spirit is to keep us full of ourselves” (Beth Moore from Living Free).
The Lord doesn’t want us to just keep trying harder, he wants us to rest in His sovereign plan… to trust that He has it all figured out. I will find rest, like the bird, when I allow Him to move through me. When I surrender to His way and His will, utterly dependent on Him for the outcome. He will provide all my needs and desires.
We can rest knowing God does not need a micro-manager.
“God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” 1 Peter 5:5
Humility and faith go hand in hand, just like unbelief and pride.
Walking in humility takes supernatural strength that only comes when we admit our weaknesses before The Lord.
The Lord has given us an open invitation to lay down all that we have done, and rest in all He has done and shall do.
He wants us to trade our heavy yoke for His yoke, that is easy and light.
Father, I surrender all to you. I want to be like that bird, utterly dependent on you to meet all my needs and desires. I want to be known as women at rest, in-order to invite others to your heart. I thank you that because of Jesus we no longer have to stress and strive, we can rest in the finished work of the cross. I pray for all tired and worn-out women to be awaken to this truth today. Breathe a fresh wind of strength on them today, as we immerse ourselves in your Spirit. Amen
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The Joy of the Lord is My Strength.