Why does life feel so heavy?
What is your current list of burdens? Finances? Health? Joblessness? Family dynamics that cause the walls of a house to feel like they are closing in? Concern for family members? Wondering about the future?
We are burdened as a nation, even more so this week as self-quarantine guidelines lengthen and increase in restriction. How then, in the midst of these circumstances, can we live in such a way as to experience Matthew 11:28-30?
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.
Notice the first three words: Come to me.
In my natural self, I don’t come to God, and neither do you. Each of us has a natural inclination to live independently from God. Each of us can be easily lured into loving something more than God (an idol) or letting something else bring comfort besides Him (self-medicating).
In the early days of self-quarantine, I got lazy in my prayer life and Bible reading. After all, who needs God to watch television and do my job online while still wearing pajamas? My heart lost its desperation for His power once the challenges of a day out in the world were eliminated. But that way of life got old really fast. I started to miss Him.
This is much how the Israelites acted in the Old Testament. As it turns out, we are all born wanting to do things our way. Over and over again, the Israelites “once again” turned their backs on the God until life got so bad that they would “cry out” to the Lord and repent. Without knowing who you are, dear reader, you too are prone to idolatry and self-medicating like the Israelites, and me.
We don’t come to Him.
What are my idols and forms of self-medicating? Unless I roll out of bed and intentionally give the day to God, I am prone to tackling a to-do list and using the check-offs as an idol, as a way to feel good about myself instead of being satisfied with my value as a child of God. When someone hurts my feelings or makes a decision that makes me feel unsafe, I tend toward the snack cupboard or chocolate as self-medication. When overwhelmed, I like to watch a movie. I am heartsick about the days I lived in my own strength and I went to bed saying, “This day stunk, but at least I got stuff done.” I am heartsick over the moments I was hurting or overwhelmed and turned to snacking or a movie, instead crawling into the lap of my God who saves all my tears in a bottle. This is my list. What is yours?
We are at risk of wasting this quarantine by fueling the idols and medications that call out our name. Our lists differ, but the enemy of our souls knows our weaknesses. He has been watching us live our lives since we were born and we have revealed our propensities by our actions.
And he wants to take us out.
All of the miracles in the Bible are preceded by God asking a person to make a small step of faith and then God showed up immediately and big. Moses held out his staff before God parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21). The priests stepped into the water before God parted the Jordan river (Joshua 3:13). The paralyzed man had to stand up and take his mat for Jesus to heal him (Luke 5:24).
A staff, a toe, and standing up.
God asks for small acts of faith and then He shows up. In the coming month when life gets long and the house seems small and burdens feel heavy, come to Him.
Don’t know how? Invite Him in.
You don’t need a lot of words because He knows the details, just invite. Kneel, or hold out your hand, or step off the couch and pray something like:
God, I need you. I invite You into everything.
You can stop there if that is all you can muster. Or, you can keep going.
I invite You into everything….every person for whom I am concerned and every situation that worries me (name people and situations), and all I am doing today (name parts of schedule). I invite Your power to work miracles today (and tonight while I sleep). I need you to show up.
Inviting God in, shifts the weight from your shoulders to His.
We still have a yoke to bear — the self-quarantine, the relationships in the home, our job online — but the responsibility for the battles we face become His responsibility.
If you invite Him to fight for you, He will.
Picture Explanation: The man of the house had a birthday this week. I have officially decided all birthdays during the pandemic are bland, but we did our best. We celebrated on two days. On one, a daughter surprised her daddy by showing up in the backyard for dinner in social distancing style. On the actual day, we celebrated again. Our son held a candle for dad to blow out as the birthday man made a wish according to social distancing guidelines (instead of blowing all over the cake). I invite God to show up big and bless the next year of my husband’s life in ways that contradict the low-key celebration a pandemic caused.
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