"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
What a sweet invitation to come to our Father and find the rest our souls seek.
In a world that is fast-paced, careers that are fast-tracked, and meals that are fast-food, God calls us, with urgency, to slow down and rest in Him.
Our lives are full and our schedules are over booked. Every minute of our day is scheduled with someone to meet, somewhere to go, or something to do.
Our overbooked schedules lead to overwhelmed lives. When our lives are overwhelmed we lose sight of what matters most.
Being in ministry I can often allow myself to overcommit, and then I find myself feeling overwhelmed at my busy schedule. It is easy to get caught up in wanting to do all that is good that I sometimes forget what is best.
A few years into ministry I found myself feeling very overwhelmed. I was trying so hard to make sure that all the “arms” of the ministry were functioning properly, the programs were running smoothly, my one-on-one ministering was not slacking, plans were being made for the following year, functions were being handled for the current year, on top of being a wife, a mom, and squeezing in a client or two throughout my week.
Yes, I was burned out, spent, tired, and done. I found myself dreading at times having to “do” ministry. My soul was tired and I was desperately seeking rest and a reprieve.
When I minister from an overwhelmed schedule I wind up serving out of my own strength rather than the overflow of God’s strength in me. My overwhelmed schedule, even if filled with good things, leads me to neglect the best thing, my time with God. If I do not continually fill up on God and His Word I quickly become depleted and eventually discouraged.
I began to question if I had misunderstood God and His calling on my life. In my spiritually dry state my passion for ministry was being smothered even though the desire was still there.
When we have nothing to give, even if we desire to give, we cannot give out of a depleted state.
I realized I had been striving so hard to please people and had forgotten that my purpose is to please God.
Sometimes being obedient to God and His calling requires a sacrifice. In that season of my life the sacrifice was to step away from ministry in a leadership capacity. Being a people pleaser, that was a hard sacrifice to make. I did not want to let my team down. I feared what others might say. I worried about the things that might be forgotten.
God taught me two very important lessons during that time:
1. I MUST rely on God for EVERYTHING. Even if God has equipped me with talents and skills to accomplish certain tasks, I cannot function long term without Him.
2. Ministry is NOT about me. As I reflected over the ministry during my season of rest, God showed me how much my motives were more about me than they were about HIM. I first serve God, and then I serve others. Me, self, is not even part of the equation.
Making this sacrifice and entering into a season of rest did not mean I misunderstood God and what He called me to do. He is the One who planted the passion in my heart to minister to women. He would not give me that desire or passion if that were not what I am supposed to be doing. But, for that season the WAY God was asking me to minister to the women He brought in my life looked different than what I thought it should, or what I had been used to.
Sometimes we need to step back and reevaluate HOW we do what God has called us to do. The ‘what’ and the ‘why’ may stay the same, but how we go about serving God may look different as we go through different seasons of our lives.
Every season has a change. Sometimes we may be called to be the servant and other times we may be called to be the leader. Then there may be times when God invites us to just rest (permission to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect His strength).
Can I offer you some encouragement? If you are feeling weary or heavy-burdened come to Jesus and find rest for your soul. Set aside your fears of letting go. Trust that if God is asking you to lie something down, it is only because He has something better planned for you.
Jesus, thank you that I can come to You and find rest when I am tired. Your Word says You lead me beside still waters and You restore my soul. May I seek You first when I am weary and be strengthened by You.