Have you ever lost something so important to you that you could not rest until you found it? How would you describe what you felt when you realized you lost it? Got it? Are we all experiencing that drop in the stomach and sense of dread?
So the other day, I was drinking my coffee shopping for a birthday gift in Target while pushing my twins around in the cart. About half way through the store, I realized my coffee was gone (DhumDhumDhum!). Forgive the drama, but this was serious! Of course, I wheeled the cart in a 180 and retraced my steps until I found it.
It took twenty minutes.
I had put the mug down to pick up a pair of baby leggings for my little girl and having been distracted, left it there and walked away (they were really cute leggings). Basically, I had picked up a load to bear and laid down my one source of relief in the process! And yes, friends, sometimes coffee is my source of relief in the “time of the storm.” And yes, medical community, I am aware that caffeine is not good for anxiety…I hear you. But I still need my coffee to stay awake and keep my kids alive.
So here’s what I think…
Somewhere along the journey here, I think I laid down my sense of peace and picked up instead the worries of daily life with grown-up responsibilities—and the terrible thing is, I have no idea when or where that happened so it’s really pointless to turn this cart around and sift through my entire past. All I know is that somewhere my peace was lost or traded for fear and anxiety. I KNOW in my head that He is the source of true refreshment and joy and hope and rest. But in my heart I fight it. Because, obviously, if I stop worrying about all I have on my plate then I will lose the momentum to get it all done (even though I am doing a poor job of getting it done anyway). But if I stop to rest I honestly may never get going again and the important things on my list may never happen. I will officially drop the ball and the world will know! They will know that I AM NOT PERFECT…OR AWESOME!!! Scandalous. These things start to feel heavy.
We might try to give them to Jesus, but we end up picking them back up again as burdens to wear on our backs, as heavy yokes. Take a minute to think about what would happen if you actually trusted God to carry the weight for you. How would you imagine those areas of your life actually getting easier? Could He bring clarity? New ideas? Help you work efficiently? Give you wisdom and insight as new situations arise?
Try to pinpoint it…What do you need from Jesus, as you look at all the weight you are carrying? What do you need from Him (I mean think about it, do your kids think twice before asking for what they need/want?—it’s ok to be self-centered here for a minute) Here Him asking your most vulnerable childlike heart, “What do you need, baby?”
I will be the first to admit that l am not naturally good at releasing my cares to God. Maybe you aren’t great at it either, but maybe that is the point. Maybe He wants to teach us how to throw them away in exchange for something much, much better—freedom. He said we would have to learn it from Him. And learning takes time.
Read this again and commit it to memory:
Matthew 11:28-30 says
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and 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.”
Jesus…He came so that we could find peace—not just eternally, but so that we could be free from worry and doubt and anxiety! And yet, even after finding His peace I laid that gift down in exchange for all this weight at some point. What makes matters worse is that I CONTINUE to do it over and over, in almost every daily situation creating habitual anxiety and worry that plagues me like…well, the plague.
I get so distracted by the meaningless things in front of me (like leggings) that I lay down my sense of relief in order to meet what seems like a pressing need only to realize later that the price was too great and what I had given up was of dire importance. I traded COFFEE for leggings (admittedly a terrible metaphor—so sorry!) Worse, I trade the peace of Jesus for anxiety…how does this happen?
Let’s backtrack…envision a situation that you felt a lack of peace this past week. Looking back, was there a point where you could have paused, stepped out of the emotion of the moment and regrouped, reassessed? What if you had gone to Jesus as your source of relief in that moment? Can you even imagine a different outcome to that situation—not wanting to make you feel guilty here, but to encourage you to dream of possible future responses?
OK, now let me give you some hope…you CAN’T actually do this on your own, just start living easy and light—how’s that for a pep talk.
You. By yourself. Can’t. Not even if you try really hard can you change the striving, worked-up, anxious part of who you are UNLESS you commit to God’s Spirit digging through your soul and giving you a life-altering understanding of His love and purpose for you. Doesn’t this make you feel better (and maybe a little scared)? Hope is the PRODUCT of the Holy Spirit’s PROCESS working in you, and therefore Not. Your. Job. (Hallelujah!)
How does Paul say this happens in Romans 15:13?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
- Who is the source of our hope? God–who is a God of Hope
- What starts the process of obtaining joy and peace? Trusting him (not just praying a prayer of salvation–this is a new level of trust…Paul means ACTUALLY trusting Him…all the time…for everything)
- How does this overflow of hope happen…something we do? Look at that last part… Hope comes by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Be honest. Some of you are like me and you’re saying, ‘Well that’s annoying…You mean there’s nothing I can actually do to work on this myself….it’s just something I have to trust HIM for?’ Yes. I think so. Sorry…no shortcuts here. You actually have to need Him to do what He said He would do. And it’s HARD to change this part of us–the part that trusts (or doesn’t actually).
But the beautiful thing is that we CAN be changed by the Holy Spirit in our lives teaching us to approach Him as His children. We just have to position ourselves to let Him work…but sometimes even just THAT is easier said than done. We try to pray more, read the Bible more, but really that’s not what He’s asking us to do. It’s much more simple than that–and YET incredibly difficult for us.
He just wants us to come to a deeper level of trust that extends way past our comfort level.
For me, it is time for a METANOIA—a word that gets translated as “repentance” yet really means “changing of mind” that I think only His power/control and my COMPLETE and total trusting and yielding can accomplish. You say you have already “trusted Christ.” Well if that’s past tense for you, I wonder if you really understand what I’m saying. Here it is again.
What he has been showing me is that there’s a constant new, deeper, call to “Trust Him MORE” at every change of seasons, maturity level, day, moment of life.
Have you misplaced your true source of relief? Sometimes our ability to carry an easy and light load requires a complete reworking of how we see the world and ourselves in it. Now that’s a big task—a worthy one, but overwhelming right? But Jesus is so gentle with us He just whispers “come and learn from me.”
OK…here I am, Jesus…help me hear you and teach me.
Jesus. Jesus. How I trust you; how I’ve proved you o’er and o’er.
Jesus. Jesus. Precious Jesus
….oh for grace to trust you more.