Faith, life, relationships, Uncategorized
Comments 3

May{Be} I’m Tired…

'Furrows and my fav oak' photo (c) 2009, Doug Symington - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

She was a doer, a server, a yes-girl.

She had many talents and a Holy Spirit-softened heart for the lost and searching.

Her intentions were good: she loved Jesus and wanted to be useful in leading others to him.

But she wore the fretting and anxiety when she was with me.

I was her “Safe Person” who always leant help and flew to her aid when the details of her commitments to church piled upon her like storm clouds.

I witnessed the exhaustion registering in her eyes, the fear of failing those who expected her to “come through” just one more time. It was a newsletter or costumes, decorations for the sanctuary or puppets for the Sunday School program…. Just one more thing to do.

I watched her cry and wonder if she was doing it right, doing enough, doing.

And the well of love for Jesus ran dry–she scraped bottom finding only dust.

Because something shadowy moved in between her and her Jesus. Something that looked a lot like Jesus but lacked his grace: the approval of others.

This approval was represented by a pastor, a leader who micro-managed instead of shepherded, who made aloof smiles of disapproval while asking for more, who himself had traded the adventure and acceptance of serving Christ for the graded system of religion.

She got lost down there in the dry depths of the well, until one-day, she had nothing left to offer and pastor turned his back on her.

And the words of Jesus could finally echo across the bare walls of her dry prison:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? (the message, matthew 11:28)

In other versions of this passage, the invitational word is placed like a crystal in gold at the onset of his offering:

Come.

Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Come to Jesus, worn-out ones.

Come to his rest, all who are shaking with fatigue.

Come cry out your tears of exhaustion and listen to his heartbeat and find the rhythm of grace you’ve been designed for.

***

Perhaps you’ve been in a dry, worn-thin place. Perhaps you feel like wheels are spinning beneath you but you aren’t going anywhere.

Jesus designed a productive, engaging life for you. Your place in the functioning body called the church is vital, but doing without being will only lead to a breakdown.

The idea in the invitation to rest in this passage is something like pressing the pause button, remaining and waiting while suspended in calm. It is learning to be quiet and still, to rest until the time is right to push “play”.

The idea is about trusting Jesus more than needing approval of others. It’s about waiting for his timing even when that doesn’t fit with the agenda others (or you) are placing on your shoulders. Its about being with Jesus.

***

In John 15:9-11, Jesus explained the dynamic connection that we have with God through knowing him:

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love. When you obey me you are living in my love, just as I obey my Father and live in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your cup will overflow!” (TLB)

When we live within his love, we are choosing to be involved in this supernatural current of grace and abundant love and joy! It isn’t up to you or I to complete the circuit–our job is simply to plug in.

Live within my love.

What an invitation! What a gift to come out from whatever religious system we’re operating under: approval, works, self-loathing, compliance…

And find a cup overflowing.

And find we are overflowing.

So May{be} I’m tired.

I’m happy to admit it, because I know that Jesus is true to his word — there is a rhythm of rest and a joy overflowing when I live and allow myself to be in Jesus’ love.

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3 Comments

  1. Floyd says

    How many got used up and burned out and tossed aside by the legalists? More than I suspect we’ll ever know this side of heaven. Another subtle tool of the enemy. After growing up in that kind of environment, I decided to follow the call of God, not the call of man… it just took me a while to come around.

    Thanks for speaking up for what is one of the most serious problems being ignored by the church.

  2. Danelle says

    Do you know what really spoke to my heart? The shadowy presence that sneaks between us and grace. Approval. It is a disease that leaves us in the ICU.
    Beautiful post Alyssa.

    • Yes it does, and it’s so sneaky that it’s moved in and filled up the place with all it’s junk before I notice it’s presence! It is a deception that indeed cripples us…

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