Then Jesus said, “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.”
~Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
Last weekend, my friends and I had a “Mommy’s Day Out.” So. Much. Fun. We hung out together for the better part of Saturday afternoon and on into Sunday. Hanging out included going to a Mexican restaurant for an early dinner. When we arrived, the restaurant was crowded and the wait time was long, so we decided to eat at the bar.
As we sat chatting and waiting for our food and drinks, I noticed a couple sitting next to us. They were quietly talking, kissing and seemingly enjoying themselves as well. And then they got up to leave. The girlfriend got up with ease, but the boyfriend got up and almost immediately fell over onto my friend. He grasped for the high seat back, and then rocked too far forward as he tried to overcorrect. This guy was drawing attention to himself as he tried desperately to steady himself. As he was trying to catch his balance, he told his girlfriend, standing next to him, “I’m not OK.” And I’m thinking, “dude, you are more than just ‘not ok.'”
As the couple walked away, I judgmentally rolled my eyes. It was about 5:00 pm at this point. Like seriously, the evening had barely started and this guy was lit. Toasted. Sloshed. The craziest aspect of the whole scene was that the guy was so quiet and indistinct before he tried to leave. I acted disgusted for a few more minutes as I pondered this guy’s situation and then carried on with the rest of dinner.
I didn’t think about that guy again until the following night, as I was deep in a, shall we say, heated exchange with my husband about a specific issue. I was completely exasperated and frustrated. All of this emotion had built up inside of me and I felt like I was just about to explode with anger. And then I thought to myself “I’m not OK.”
Our conversation ended and I went upstairs to my bedroom. I closed the door and opened the Bible. Soon I found Jesus staring back at me from the book of Mark, beckoning me to come and tell him about what was on my mind.
My husband wasn’t the real issue. After praying and thinking, I realized that I had had such a good time with my girlfriends, that it really kind of magnified for me just how stressed I had been and how much I needed a break, even just a short one. The issue with my husband was just the symptom. He’d been doing a really great job of sharing the collective load of juggling jobs, kids and household maintenance. But sometimes life can still be stressful and pressure-filled, even with your partner right beside you.
I was not OK and I didn’t need to tell my husband about it, I needed to decompress and tell Jesus about it. So there I was, the same person who had so quickly doled out judgment on someone else, kneeling at my bedside, uttering those same words to the Lord. In all my busyness and stress and watching other people, I hadn’t taken the time to locate my own feelings and read up on what Jesus had to say about them. In the past few weeks, I hadn’t really taken concentrated time to pray and tell God what was going on in my day to day. I took the time that night though, and it was great. It was what I needed. I gave Jesus my burdens that night.
And the funny thing is, nothing about my daily life changed– the demands of being a wife, mom, attorney, daughter, they were all still there. But man, did I have peace after that time with Jesus. His burden really is light–if I take the time to exchange it for mine. And even in the week after that episode, I still struggled to find the time to devote solely to Jesus, but that devotional time that I did have was a reminder of why and just how much I need him. He can bear the burdens of this fast-paced, filled-to-the-brim life. He will give me rest for my soul as I walk out this life day by day. And I’m more than OK with that.
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