Weather report from heaven: Sunny and bright with an abundance of light, and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Scripture: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Insight: As we continue on with our series on Practical Christianity, today we look at how we can restore our joy and find new energy by placing our heavy burdens on Jesus so we can be set free. In this exercise, like in all things related to Jesus, it helps to be introspective and truthful about how we are really feeling and what we need to fix it. In other words, we need to be vulnerable. Most people today are fatigued and dissatisfied with their lives. This world has been tough on them. They most likely have been deceived about what it is that will make them happy, and they feel empty in their souls. They are weighed down by the burdens of unmet expectations in their lives, in their relationships and their careers, and they are trying to carry the weight of all this in their own strength and it is crushing them. In the verse above in Matthew 11:28-30 we see Jesus offering to place these burdens on Him. He is promising freedom for those who are willing to admit that they need help, and offering to carry their heavy loads. Why wouldn’t we take Jesus up on His offer?
I have been feeling very stressed out and tired these days, but I am always refreshed when I remember God’s promises of help and delivery that are available to us believers like in Matthew 11:28-30. When I am introspective and honest with myself about needing help, and I turn my heaviest burdens over to Jesus I find new freedom to analyze other things I can do to further enhance my life and restore my joy. Here is a list of 10 things I came up with a few years ago when I was in a similar rut. I hope it refreshes you like it does for me to realize we have things at our disposal that can really help us once we have invited Jesus in to take on the heaviest of our burdens, the things that are just to messy and debilitating for us to handle on our own:
- Learn to say no- it is a faithful act to not overbook yourself which leads to fatigue and ineffectiveness. Saying no is a powerful way to protect yourself.
- Relax and refuel when your body is prompting you- nap, sleep, take a bath- take time to restore yourself.
- Exercise- this helps all facts of your life. Release endorphins, gain focus and power through Yoga and other exercises that help you rebalance and restore.
- Do activities YOU love at least once a day- walk, play tennis
- Do social things with people you love and admire- coffee or dinner with a spouse or good friend.
- Carve out alone time to focus on your soul- prayer is always best, but sometimes asking God to reveal things and just being quiet in response is a good practice to get away and recharge.
- Make notes that help you prioritize and then follow them, but learn to celebrate each one as it is checked off the list. Celebrate achievements throughout the Day- maybe even give yourself a treat or 15 minutes of off time before starting on the next to do item.
- If you’re not feeling joy in your life, ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you as to what is wrong. Pray about this. Joy is a promise as a Fruit of the Spirit . Ask God to restore joy in your life. Joy is not the absence of pain, it’s the presence of God. Don’t let your joy be circumstantial or based on something that you can lose or that can change. Cling to God’s promises to find joy that lasts.
- Make sure your perspective is right- Pain in this life is inevitable but misery is optional.
- Unplug from the grid! Stop making your phone or device the center of your universe! This drains you of all energy. Turn it off. Hide it. Break free. Nothing restores your soul faster than reclaiming control over what and who you respond to. It can wait, and if it can’t then maybe it has to go or be changed. People all survived for thousands of years without instant communication vehicles and did just fine. It is healthy to say no to more cell phone usage. This is the quickest and easiest way to begin to let your soul find the peace and rest it needs.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for giving us this wisdom we need to live a victorious life in You. Thanks that your Son Jesus offers to take our heavy burdens upon Himself so that we can be set free. We say yes to that- I lay down my burdens at your feet Jesus. Amen!
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