I should be finishing the lessons for our April Ladies’ Retreat in Conway. After that, I have a huge list of errands which must be completed by 2:30 so I can make an appointment.
Both good and necessary things.
But I am choosing differently this morning. Yesterday I skipped this time because I woke up much later than I intended or desired. I was behind from the moment my eyes finally stayed open. I had to rush to get ready for a much anticipated blessing time of coffee and sharing with a sweet sister. Again, a good thing.
I skipped this time yesterday and felt it all day long. After the laughter and tears—the sister bonding and knitted of souls, I catapulted myself into my list of to-dos. I spent hours mired in my mother’s paperwork and on the phone, lost in the voice menu jungle of organizations that can’t spare humans to interact with their clientele. All of that created such a feeling of anxiety that I was crabby and frustrated and complaining. All I could see was what I DIDN’T accomplish and what MORE needed to be done and the TIME THAT WAS SLIPPING AWAY. And how do I decide to spend the remaining of my days (the immediate being those left of my precious school vacation, but after that, the real store of days numbered for me)?
“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28ff
Such peaceful words. Restful words.
Today I vow not to strive. It is Errand Day, my least favorite and most avoided type of day. I am a homebody at heart. I would rather spend the entire day at home, studying and meditating on God’s holy words. Maybe I should be a monk. Really, I am at my most content while writing the things of God, praying, communing.
The reality of my life, of anyone’s life, is that there are intrusive tasks and deadlines that must be managed. If managed well, they bless us with opportunities, material goods, financial relief, strong and whole children, relationships, health. Ministries.
The Rest Jesus calls me to involves a yoke. His yoke is a yoke of learning, of submitting to holy and learned leadership. The rest comes because I am not the one driving, deciding, planning. The burden of knowing what to do and where to go falls on Him. He is the stronger one in this side-by-side relationship. Ahh…I love that Rest blessing. I don’t have to be in charge. (Let me sit back for a moment and enjoy the quiet relief…)
But a yoke also implies work. A farmer doesn’t hook an ox up to a yoke to graze lazily through the fields. He hooks it up with anticipation and deliberation—there is a task to complete. How is it that we rest and work at the same time? I need to understand this today and live it, because yesterday afternoon was just…yucky.
It’s a heart thing. Jesus takes this opportunity to point me to an attribute of His heart. It is gentle and lowly. The rest we find is for our souls. Not our bodies or our time—our souls.
The work that we do, the work of living and managing, can be a work of rest for the soul. How do we do that? Jesus says it is by slipping into the gentle yoke of leadership that He holds out to us. The work becomes His work. Led by Him. Chosen by Him. Accomplished with Him by our sides.
I have been here, typing a way, for some large amount of minutes now.
It’s still Errand Day. All this meditating and pondering God’s truth did not make it go away.
But it does make it easier to face.
I’m getting up now. I am grabbing my list. No, that’s a poor choice of words. It implies hurry and resentment. I will take up my list and let it become Jesus’ list. I will slip into His yoke and let Him guide me through its completion. The car ride will be led by Him. I will sing praises and pray along my way. I will allow the bank tellers, the tax secretary, the store clerks, the septic inspector all see Who it is that leads me today, Who it is that accomplishes these tasks with me.
I will move about my day in Rest with Him.
“For He is our peace…” Ephesians 2:14