Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
I’d been feeling overwhelmed and down-in-the dumps for quite a while. So last month I escaped for a week to a writers’ conference, where someone else planned and prepared the meals and cleaned up after. There was nothing I had to do but eat, write, and rest (and call my hubby each evening to say goodnight and “I love you”).
Then I came home—and back to reality.
But my trip wasn’t all for naught. One of the things I’d acknowledged while I was away was I hadn’t been taking time to pray, read the Bible, and meditate on it—to be still and listen for God’s voice. No wonder I felt adrift in a sea of too-much-to-do-and-not-enough-time-to-do-it. I’d be off and running, checking off tasks from the day’s list of things to do as soon as my bare feet touched the morning floor.
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The Amplified version uses the term “overburdened.” That I was—and weary, so very weary.
So the first thing I did when I returned home was to put God back where He belongs and began my day with prayer and Bible reading. I love lists and schedules, but I’ve found a Bible reading schedule with dates doesn’t work for me. I get behind, feel pressured to catch up, then give up.
But while I was away, God reminded me of the Quiet Time Bible gathering dust on my bookshelf. It’s organized with manageable readings and questions to help me ponder what I’ve read. If I miss a day, it’s no big deal because I just pick up where I left off. No catching up.
I forced myself to center down, focus, and read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. I responded to what I read by writing my thoughts and my prayers in my journal. I opened my heart, and out gushed what had been dammed up, what I’d been denying and refusing to see.
God knew all this, of course, but I needed to see it. How can I be so dense and obstinate? I wondered.
I’m learning to be still—rest—and listen for God’s voice in the quiet.
Do I hear Him every time? Not audibly, but His Spirit “eases, relieves, and refreshes” my soul (Matthew 11:28, Amplified).
I ask for guidance for a life-changing decision, and I see glimpses of how He’s leading me (Psalm 23:3). I ask for wisdom, and I recognize things I hadn’t before but were right in front of me (James 1:5).
And, in an “Aha!” moment, I realize I want an “Aha!” moment for all my struggles, all the problems and decisions I bring to my Shepherd. But sometimes—most times—God wants to lead me through a growth process instead.
Are you feeling weary and overburdened? That life is sometimes too much? That your plate is too full?
Don’t wait. Turn to your Shepherd now. Let Him lead you to a place where you’ll find rest, where He’ll refresh your spirit, and you’ll learn to cast all your “stuff” on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
Remind me, Lord, not to rush headlong into my day, but to take time to fuel up my spirit with You. Amen.