Rest for the Weary

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I loooove sleep.

I long for it. I crave it. I will do just about anything for it and I’ve always been that way. I’ll jump at any chance for sleep.

I discovered sleep is one of my biggest escapes from life. When I can sleep, I don’t have to think, feel or act.

I don’t have to make decisions or face life’s difficulties. It all goes away and I get a reprieve.

But lately, sleep hasn’t been the same for me. It doesn’t accomplish what it used to. I’ll still sleep whenever I can, but something has changed. I sleep…but now I rarely feel rested.

What used to be my escape, no longer works. I wake up feeling even more burdened than before and I’ve learned why.

Sleep can only give me the physical rest my body needs. I need to seek God to receive the proper rest my soul needs.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30, “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.” (NIV)

I’m in a challenging season of life right now. There have been major losses, constant stressors, and life changing events with even more on the horizon. Sometimes I can’t breathe because of the overwhelming circumstances and my “escape” (sleep) isn’t helping anymore.

Because I need Jesus.

I need His easy yoke and His light burden.

I need His comfort, peace, and strength.

I need to trade in my sorrows for His joy.

Amongst all of that, right now I need rest. The physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual rest that can only come through Him.

When I turn to Him, rather than my mere attempts for rejuvenation, my weary soul is renewed. The burdens impressed on my heart are lifted. My vision is clearer, my intentions are purer and I am truly a better person, because He has provided me with all that I need.

He shows me how to be like Him…gentle and humble in heart. When I’m rested, I can receive that instruction; that gift He so freely wants to give each of us.

When I let Him have control over my circumstances, I can rest in His plan for me.

When I allow Him into the depths of my heart, I can rest knowing He sees it all and still loves me.

When I confess and turn from my sin, I can rest in His forgiveness.

Rest is a loaded word with so many meanings for me right now and they all involve Jesus. Trying to do it on my own just plain tires me out. I can finally see through the fog enough to know I need more Jesus.

Although it’s one thing to come to this realization, it’s another to fully practice it. I wish I could say that once I realize I need Jesus, I immediately turn to Him. But I don’t. I still struggle with wanting to control areas of my life that are so difficult to surrender to Him. It’s a daily battle…sometimes an hourly battle. One that continues to make me weary and that I continuously need to work on. My soul needs rest.

How about you?

Have you been in this burdened, restless spot in your life?

 Have you wanted to hold on to some control over your life?

  Was it hard to surrender? Is it still hard to surrender?

 Do you know what is standing in your way?

Together, let’s go to Him…the Only One Who can give us rest.

Mistake after Mistake

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Boy, do I make mistakes.

Sometimes it feels like I make so many and will never be forgiven for them. My mind is like a movie reel that replays the mistakes over and over and over again.

“What did you do that for?”

 “Didn’t you learn last time?”

“Why do you keep screwing up?”

It’s almost as if each morning I wake up and plan to make so many mistakes even before the boys leave the house for school. Of course, I don’t plan on that, but it happens; and it happens way too often. And that movie reel just keeps playing…

“Again?  Really…again?”

Now, generally, when I make a mistake or do something unkind towards someone, I apologize and ask for their forgiveness.  Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t…at least not at that moment. And that pierces my heart. I guess I want their approval so I can forgive myself.

When I know I’ve messed up, I do try to live differently. But just like every single human on the face of this earth, I continue to screw up. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes just with myself.

I am imperfect and I am a sinner.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m in no way justifying what I do and what I continue to do. I actually feel like Paul writing to the Romans. Starting in chapter 7 verse 15:

I do not understand what I do. For what I WANT to do, I do not do–but what I HATE, I do. (Emphasis mine)

Verse 17 says:

 As it is, it is no longer I, myself, who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18) I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19) For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

Skipping to Verse 24:

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  25) Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! 

We are born into sin. We are not immune to it. We sin on purpose—we sin without knowing it—we are just plain and simple: sinners.

But the story doesn’t end there.

 Right after Paul speaks of the wretched man he is, he writes this in Romans 8:1-2:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

 Every single day, I need Jesus.

Every single moment I need His forgiveness.

I need Him to set me free from sin and death.

Not so life can be perfect; not so I can avoid trials; not so I won’t make any further mistakes; but so when I do screw up (and I will), I can repent, turn from my ways with God’s help, and be free. That’s my goal.

Repent. Turn from my sin. Change my ways. Be forgiven. Be free.

Free from eternity in hell—free from the bondage of sin—free from that movie reel that insists on playing in my mind. The list goes on…

Without Jesus, I am nothing. Absolutely nothing. But with Jesus, I am forgiven, saved, loved, accepted, and totally free.

“Utterly dependent, but totally free.”

I’m guessing many of you also struggle with your own sin and guilt. It seems easier to forgive others than it is to forgive ourselves at times. The Good News is that Jesus died for all of us to give us freedom from sin.

He knocks at our door waiting to be invited in. He’ll never push His way into our lives. He wants us to ask Him in. His invitation is beautiful…

“28) Come to me, all who weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. 29) 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.  30) For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

What a precious gift! An invite to a life where we don’t have to carry the burden. We can lay it at His feet and walk away. Not to go simply go back to our sinful lifestyle, as if we’re given a license to sin; but for us to lay our burdens down, turn from them, and walk in freedom towards a better future.

Have you accepted that invitation from Him? Have you accepted the free gift of salvation and eternal life that only comes through accepting Him as your Lord and Savior? If not, I invite you to ask Him into your life today.  That is my prayer for each of you…to experience the beautiful forgiveness that comes from the sacrifice He made upon that cross.

Jesus doesn’t  want us tied up in the shackles of our sins and mistakes. He wants to give us freedom. We only need to accept it.

May you be blessed as you ponder these questions.  May you find the peace that passes all understanding…the complete peace that can only come from Him.

God bless you, my friends.