When is the last time you felt truly carefree?…
Was it a place you remember?
Was it a person you were with?
Was it a time or season in your life?
For me, the moment was sitting outside on my back porch watching my children play, a mug of warm (luke-warm) coffee in my hands that I had heated up throughout the day because I never had time to drink the whole cup. A frozen dinner had been thrown haphazardly in the oven and I had no one that needed my immediate attention. Life was, in that particular moment, calm and quiet. The weather was perfect…a light breeze blowing through the trees by our house and WAIT…were those vultures in the sky?! Circling over my toddler twins? Why yes they were. In a moment my peace was shattered and I went into emergency mode. Now, I know my three year olds probably could have held their own against these pesky predators, but I had seen Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” in my formative years and well, it had me seeing images of my kids’ eyes getting pecked out, etc. etc…
I hustled the children inside to safety and threw a couple rocks for good measure at these buzzards who I would not allow to eat my children. My carefree moment was gone…in a moment (my coffee still unfinished, I might add), replaced by fear…probably not-so-well-founded fear. And once again I withered.
The enemy of our soul truly seeks to steal, kill and destroy us, but I am convinced he often does that in small doses. He stealthily steals our moments of peace one by one, replacing them with fear, anxiety, busy-ness, materialism, and weights of the world that we wear so naturally like running errands, making appointments, family obligations, church commitments, and overall, the things we do that just make us “amazing” in the eyes of everyone around us.
I never did finish that cup of coffee. In fact…most days I don’t.
After all, I am the one who has to solve the problems that end up in my lap, in my home, in my email, and sometimes in my bed (at night…at 2:00am…there’s always SOMEONE needing me—good heavens). Overwhelmed doesn’t seem to cover it. Tired can’t even begin to explain this soul exhaustion that has been the culminating result of seven years of parenthood so far with about four to go until all children are in elementary school. My house is loud and rowdy and there is an injury about every five minutes—not exaggerating. We actually installed a metal first aid kit on our wall so the kids could dress their own wounds, and our oldest wants to be a doctor…also convenient.
There are moments when I feel like I am having an out of body experience, like I could see the mess and the crazy, but there was nothing I could do to stop it. And when we go out I feel like people must think something is wrong with me that I can’t keep four young children under control in the store or restaurant. Last time I had the twins in a store, one of them blocked my vision asking for a certain cereal while the other laid on the bottom of the cart and wheeled it away with his hands making a clean get away all the way to the next aisle before I turned around and said, “Where’s my shopping cart?” And it’s in those moments I try to laugh but sometimes I just feel like I am GOING TO LOSE MY EVER-LOVIN’ MIND.
It was in the middle of one of these moments of crazy that I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, reminding me of an offer that Jesus made us while walking through His own daily craziness. 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.”
I desperately need an easy and light load to carry because I feel like I carry everything on my shoulders…and it’s HEAVY and it’s not good! And I honestly can’t remember the last time I rested…slept yes (in between runs to feed the baby, calm a dreaming toddler, or change wet sheets), but truly rested? It has been a while…like, hmmm…years. The problem is I have no idea how to actually rest! I mean, it is easy to say “give it to God” but how to you take it from Him, His yoke of rest.
Don’t you want that? I do.
I want that supernatural rest that comes from carrying things loosely, from giving my burdens to Jesus. More than this thought, we are commanded to do it…over and over in scripture. But to me it reads like a humble, kind imperative more than a strict command, like a doctor’s prescription, or the way I feel when I tell my kids to calm down when they are upset. It’s like an invitation to something better.
Two times I had a doctor prescribe rest to me …both times I was pregnant so it was wasted because I couldn’t get comfortable enough to rest anyway. Rest seemed and still seems like a foreign concept to me, but also at the same time, distantly familiar. It was like I used to know it but it’s gone, like the way I feel helping my children with their homework (heaven help me, I don’t remember a thing from math and my oldest is just in first grade! Wait ‘til she gets to polynomial equations— I don’t stand a chance.)
The point is, sometimes the things we used to know often seem the most elusive. When was the last point in your life that you felt truly peaceful for more than a moment? When was the last time you were in a state of peace?
I think the Holy Spirit is challenging us to explore the offer God provided to us in Scripture to release the things that are weighing us down, load them onto the back of our Father, and truly experience the carrying of a light load even in the middle of all of our daily responsibilities. He wants to walk with us through different areas of our heart and see what needs to be “cast on Him.”
Don’t you want to wake up with joy, ready to not just muddle through the best you can but take hold of the day with fearless joy? I know I REALLY want that. I know I have not had that in a long time, even as someone who “trusts” Jesus, which seems too honest for me to admit. I want to live without sighing under the pressure of work, expectations, and disappointments. I want to be free from fear and anxiety. It has to be possible.
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 2 Timothy 1:7 HCSB
We need to be able to cast off our own fears and weights of this world so that we can be free to accept the gifts and mindset of God through the Holy Spirit! Instead of being afraid, God is calling us, His children, to walk in POWER, in LOVE, in SOUND JUDGMENT…this should be our normal state. This is His offer to us. I don’t know about you, but am ready to take him up on it.
So let’s do a quick snapshot of where we are right now…
What words describe your “normal” state currently:
What daily experiences do you think contribute to the positive emotions? Take a second and list them out…
What do daily experiences you think the negative emotions stem from most often? Take a second and list them out…
So many people out there will say “self care” is maximizing the positive things and minimizing the negative, the stressful…I don’t think this is God’s approach. You know why? BECAUSE the hard, stressful things are the NECESSARY things! It’s not like I can just “minimize” my children (even though they can be stressful) or minimize the need to take care of my students (I love those “kids” I teach like my own children too).
So how is His approach different? That’s my question…Are you living “easy and light” right now—walking with an easy yoke and a light burden? Are you living in a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind? If so, what is your secret? If not, what do you think is holding you back?