I know that for a believer, spending time in God’s Word is vital. But sometimes I find myself at a loss for what to study. How to study it. What resources to use. Should I be coloring symbols into my Bible? Or just meditating on a single verse? Too often my black-and-white, rules-based thinking has me reading chapters and chapters but really not applying or taking anything away. So, I confess. It’s a challenge for me. A challenge well-worth the time and effort to struggle through and that yields great rewards, mind you, but still hard at times.
Throughout the week, I find myself dwelling on spiritual things. Often, in fact. Small flashes of deep thought that I often push to the side so I can concentrate on the task at hand, promising myself that I’ll return to it. But if I’m honest, I usually don’t.
It’s there, though. The undercurrent of questions, theology, and praise. But then I read Nehemiah 1:4 and I’m humbled because Nehemiah is thoroughly devastated by the harsh reality that God’s people and Jerusalem are facing. He feels it so deeply that he “weeps and mourns for days”. DAYS. I can’t imagine myself pulling out of my self-absorbed reality for hours, let alone days. So I sat there, my pen paused over my journal and I felt overwhelmed to find yet another place that I’m failing. And I thought, “What keeps me locked in my world of self so completely?”
And then Matthew 11:28-30 faintly echoed through my mind. And it resonated. “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.”
It’s so where I am right now. I am weary. I’m weary of my worries, of expectations within and without, from my constant churning thoughts that never seem to come to resolution. I’m weary of living in a world that is not fair and my struggle to respond correctly to each injustice. I’m weary of grasping for creative strength, only to have my fingers graze the end of it and fall to nothingness. I’m weary of my helplessness to change the truly terrible things my friends are enduring–and weary of the fear that I will not be the friend I should to them. I’m weary of feeling inadequate at every turn. And I’m weary of my weariness.
But even as I wrote all of that in my non-judgmental journal, I looked back and saw something. I focus on my “weary” a lot. I identify with that part of the passage the most and so I latch onto it and let the encouragement and promise in the words that come after follow through. Jesus says He’ll give rest. And just keeping it real, rest seems like an unattainable goal to me right now. I sometimes despair of ever feeling true rest in the depths of my soul. Life seems to demand too much.
But I have a sneaking suspicion that that’s because I’m focused entirely on myself. I fancy myself self-sufficient and capable, but the truth is that I get overtaken by the “weary”. Christ offers rest because He offers to take our burdens and directs us back to take His yoke to guide us in what’s really important. The catch is that I have to be conscious of Him enough in my daily routine to relinquish to Him that which He is already sovereign over. Gah! For me, that’s a harder thing to do than I’d like to admit. And that realization exposes my heart. My pride and my grip on control. My lack of acceptance of His grace.
There is a comfort in the promise that we can learn from Jesus. Inherently, that means we’re not expected to know it all. And in a weird way, there’s freedom in that dependence. I find that really does make me feel better to put my life in that light.
So this week, I’m going to try to be a “pray without ceasing” person and be less independent and more dependent. We’ll see how it goes. 🙂