“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Matthew 11:28 (The Message)
These are not amongst the niceties exchanged between friends as we pass in the street.
“How are you?”
“Parched. Just really heavy-laden lately. You?”
“Weary and burdened, actually.”
The truth is that we do become those things, regularly. Or at least I do. A praising heart becomes a languid spirit far too easily.
I will be walking alongside Jesus, matching my footsteps to his, and enjoying the journey. And then I see something up ahead and forget to keep pace with him, racing toward what I assume is our mutual destination. Every footfall becomes heavier, until it feels I am stepping through jelly.
Or, as often happens, I will head off toward somewhere He never planned to go, figuring that I will on meet up with Him later. My steps are intentional in keeping His steady pace, but in another direction entirely. Forcing my own awkward gait, I lose sight of the unforced rhythms that are His grace.
And still….I am always surprised by the result from either choice: weariness. A tiredness that originates from the soul.
“Walk with me and work with me,” implores the God of the universe. “My ways are not your ways, you have no clue about which route to take. And for crying out loud, stop picking up rocks to carry around on the way! No wonder you’re tired!”
I have to stop and remember to read His love letter to me, to take hold of his hand for the same reason that I held my children’s’ hands when they were small. Because although they truly believed they knew better, I had the power to keep them safe on busy streets and complicated intersections. It really is that simple – stay in the Word, love God, love others, serve.
“To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.” – Isaiah 61:7
It turns from praise to languish when I make it about religion instead of relationship.
I’m fried, Lord, I tell him when I get worn-out. And he always collects the burned-out bits and pieces together, brushing the “me-dust” back into a pile and transforms it again.
Beauty from ashes.