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Learning to Rest–Again!

Very often, it just happens that something I read or listen to something that just fits in my life perfectly. The recent audio, Find Rest to Your Soul was just one of those—there have been several this month, I just now am taking the time to reflect on this one especially.

Starting afresh has been a juggling act at times. My priority is spending time with my kids, teaching them, nurturing, and caring for them. This has to be put into perspective with supporting them, keeping the flat in livable condition, and studying. There have been days when I felt I just dropped the ball, again and again. If it isn’t one, it’s the other, and something always comes up short in my mind. Not that I have anything to complain about, I have a great support structure in the way of friends who are simply amazing and the kids are thrilled that I have quality time with them. I just let my overly perfectionist ways get the better of me sometimes, wishing I could do it all, and do it now.

Life isn’t like that. Growth is gradual, goals are reached in increments, and life isn’t perfect—ever. It’s all about my reaction to life that makes the difference, though. I’ve been working on being a more positive person, seeing the good, staying praiseful and learning to trust for the rest. It’s not an easy path, but I feel I’m making progress. This audio, though, reminded me of another truth:

Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”1 If you’re meek and lowly, you’ll “find rest unto your souls.” In other words, you don’t try to be more than you are, or more than Jesus is. He’s setting the example. “Just be meek and lowly and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

So if you find out you can’t pull your load today, maybe it means you’re trying to pull too much. All you who labor too much, too hard, and are too heavily laden, relax, be meek and lowly! His burden is light. Don’t try to be too much, and He will give you rest. Don’t try to do more than you can. Don’t try to be more than you are. Stay humble and lowly, and then you’ll find rest to your soul. Keep looking to the Lord—the light—and His burden is light!

“Don’t try to be more than you are, or more than Jesus is.” When did I stop just resting in His arms? When did I start thinking I needed to be more, to try to somehow attain to some level that He’s not even asking of me? If I really search my heart, I know it’s been many, many months since I started on the road to ‘self-perfection’ in some way. I stopped listening to what the Lord told me that He saw me as, and started to listen to those who told me or made me feel that I wasn’t enough in some way. I started to see this some time ago, but it didn’t really sink in until this month.

There is another quote in that audio: “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” and don’t push others to work too hard or do too much or carry too big a load. Share the load! If you’re strong enough, you can help share theirs; and if they’re strong enough, they can help share yours. I think the tendency for those of us who are overachievers, or who are physically able to carry a big load is that we expect the same from everyone else. I’m an overachiever, but I’m not physically able. I tend to look at those who can do so much, who have unending stamina, never get sick, as somehow attaining more than me. It’s only made worse if the expectation is that I should reach that same level.

It’s a lack of maturity to expect life to be fair, to expect everyone to be able to carry the same load, to label those that can’t ‘keep up’ as ‘weak’. It’s equally immature to expect that I can do as much as everyone else, that I need to attain to someone else’s idea of what ‘keeping up’ means. By putting myself into a little ‘guilt’ box every time I needed rest or a break, I took myself out of the Lord’s restful arms and on to the path of stress and burnout.

I don’t think this will be a lesson easily learned for me. There will still be tears when I feel I’ve failed the Lord, my kids, my work, or myself. But because I know it will take time to change, I’m going to give myself time to change. I’m not going to beat myself up about the lacks, but focus on the change. I’m going to focus on staying in that place of rest, counting my blessings, and reminding myself that I am the way He made me, and as such, I will let Him do through me what I can’t do myself.