Is your soul weary? Are you exhausted and worn-out? Are you tired of trying to live up to outlandish ideals? Is your quest for perfection causing burnout? Are you constantly fighting back tears because you are just so overwhelmed?
Can I encourage you? Just rest.
Just be for a little while instead of constantly trying to do.
“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” says the Lord in Matthew 11:28.
Over and over again we read in Scripture that God brings us REST. We were designed to rest. Our bodies cannot function on no sleep. God, the maker of all the Heavens and the Earth even chose to rest for an entire day after making creation.
Yet we don’t allow ourselves to rest. We don’t allow ourselves to just stop and soak in the Lord’s presence. In our feeble minds we equate rest to laziness and so we continue to push harder until we are burned out. We let fear rule our actions and think that if we don’t do it all, then it won’t all get done. We trust our own doing more than we trust our Almighty God.
We have created a culture that is constantly aiming to be bigger and better. We have been sucked into the lie that if we do not "go go go" all the time then we are missing out on what God has for us. We have higher expectations of ourselves as moms and wives and students and employees than the Lord ever intended for us to have. We expect to be able to do it all and keep a smile on our faces while doing it.
But the truth it, we cannot do it all. We cannot have ten kids and tend a garden and bake cookies for all our neighbors and have a doctorate degree and have washboard abs and lead a Bible study and look pretty for our husbands and cook all our meals from scratch and have a clean and organized house. With a smile on our faces on top of that. We just cannot do it all. Yet this is what we expect of ourselves.
Have you ever stopped to think that if you are feeling overwhelmed in certain areas it’s because you have too much on your plate? This has been what God has shown me recently. For me, I had this ideal in my mind of what it would look like to be the perfect mom/wife/homemaker/insert all other roles here. And I found myself SO overwhelmed by what all that entailed. And instead of seeing my feelings of being overwhelmed as a clue that I might be expecting too much of myself, I instead was convinced that I needed to work harder at having a good attitude and get healthier in my mind and get more organized to do it all.
That is loco my friends. Loco.
But I met with a friend the other day, and she told me two words that shed so much light: Be Released.
Be released from the unmet expectations. Be released from perfectionism. Be released from trying to do it all on your own. Be released from trying to save the world while making sure your family is fed and happy. Be released. And just be.
Bloom where you are planted instead of trying to plant your seed in a million gardens. (Did that even make sense?)
Sometimes I feel like we take on a lot more burden than we are supposed to. It’s like a self-righteousness of sorts. We believe that if we don’t get that batch of cookies baked for our neighbors right this instant that they will be doomed. We believe that if we don’t homeschool our children with the perfect curriculum then their minds will turn into mush. We believe that if we don’t keep our houses just so then our kids will end up in counseling over a messy house. We believe that if we don’t get that blog post written in a timely fashion then people will suffer. Because hello, the whole world is depending on US. We are the end-all, be-all for the whole world. If we don't get it all done, then the Earth will spin right off its axis.
But the truth is, we serve a BIG God. Our role in this whole “save the world” thing is pretty miniscule compared to what HE is up to. If we don’t ever plant the world’s largest church or author a best-selling book then God’s not going to die. (Spoiler alert: In the end, He never dies. He wins. Just FYI.) So relax. And just breathe. God has it all under control. God would much rather have us just be what He has called us to be and bring Him glory than for us to have gained the whole world and forfeited our souls. Forfeited our joy. Forfeited our love. And He does not desire to have his children burned out and taking more on their plates than He wanted them to take on. He wants us to trust Him. He wants us to find rejuvenation in His arms. He wants us to say no to the things that seem good and be all-in for the things that He has for us. And He wants us to act in obedience and REST.
So let us keep our eyes on Him my friends. Let us continue to seek HIS will for our lives, and not the world’s will for our lives. Let us go to Him in regards to schooling decisions or ministry ideas or our callings rather than looking at what everyone else is doing. And if God IS calling us to plant the world's largest church or author a best-selling book, may we do it heartily, cheerfully and not think so highly of ourselves that we neglect basking in the Lord's presence and resting.
The to-do lists will continue to grow. The responsibilities will continue to increase. The burdens will continue to get heavier. And life will continue to have seasons where we feel overwhelmed. But in these days where we are overwhelmed, let us not give in to the temptation to work harder and try harder. Let us instead go to the One Who brings us rest and restoration.
And by all means, let us stop using Pinterest and Instagram and Netflix as our source of “rest.” Social media and television are the Ibuprofen to the dull ache of our hearts. The dull ache of exhaustion and perfectionism. Let us set aside these distractions and bask with the ONLY ONE who can refill our souls. A binge session on Netflix is NOT what our souls need when they are weary, even though it feels so good. Because once you snap back to reality, you will still be frazzled and exhausted.
No, if we are weary, let us go to the Lord. Let us go to our Creator, our Maker, our Father, our closest friend. Let us refresh ourselves in His presence and receive truth and life.
Let us disconnect from the distractions and the constant busyness and just plug in to God. Let us rest in the shadow of His wings. It's safe there.
I love what David says in Psalm 23: "The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength." Do you need new strength today? I know I do. Let's bask in His presence today. Let's be refilled today. Let's turn off all the distractions and just sit quietly. Let's read and meditate on His Scripture. Do what you need to do to let God fill you up. Go lay on your closet floor and just close your eyes for a little while. Cry in the bathtub for a little while if you need to. Do whatcha gotta do. And let Him renew your strength today. Praying for you today, fellow weary soul.