Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30 The Message
God extends the invitation time and time again for us to come to him. Come away from the necessary busyness, amusing distractions, heavy weariness and noise of life to spend time with him. His arms are open wide to receive us, but too often we’re just too distracted. Too busy. Too …
It could be that we don’t feel deserving of His attention and love. Or, we may feel like our situation is beyond repair – no hope, no healing, we've messed up too badly. Or, we just don't know where to start. So we leave the invitation rebuffed.
I can remember feeling like I was on a constant merry-go-round of urgent demands, ever expanding expectations, routine monotony, heart pounding noise and stifling stress. Inside I was screaming, “Lord, how do I get off?”
I think it was Dr. Richard Dobbins who said, “When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, you will change.” Sure enough, he was right. When the whirl of the merry-go-round lifestyle became too much to bear, I did something different.
There are two choices – cold turkey and just jump off, which I don’t recommend, or make different choices one by one. I chose to take God up on the invitation to “come to me.”
It wasn’t that I wasn’t going to church or having time in the word and prayer; it was that the pressure of the other things were stealing my attention, my joy, my ability to navigate through life effectively. The tentacles of inner pain were choking the life out of me. I had to deal with it now.
I took the risky steps to simplify my life by curbing some demands on my time and energy. I had to make more time for thinking and processing the “whys” of what I was doing. I had to soak in God’s word and presence to help loosen the root of rejection that was causing my striving and pain. I had to run to Him with open arms to receive His healing grace and accepting love. What a difference!!
Jesus invitation to you is still open. He doesn't take it off the table; it's an open invitation -- "come to me, run to me, be with me and I will teach you the unforced rhythms of grace." It's in being with him that we learn to walk and live in grace toward ourselves and then to others. It's in being with him that acceptance and love are able to soak into the deepest recesses of our souls.
What might this mean for you? It might mean giving yourself permission to make your peace of mind and heart a priority so you will be able to more effectively be a woman, wife, mother, worker, minister or friend.
Give yourself permission to say “no” to another demand, let a routine chore wait, a ringing phone take a message, turn off the digital demands to see what is really lurking in your mind.
It might mean humbling yourself and asking for help – counseling or someone to share the load. Or, investing in yourself by going to a retreat or women’s conference or a personal sabbatical.
We, as women, need to refill the tank of our heart and soul with God, friendships and nature. We need time to process life, time to think, time to heal, time to be refueled. If we don’t we become depleted, weary, worn down and hopeless.
Stepping off the merry-go-round of life starts with one invitation and your decision to respond – “come to me…” He will even give you the ability to make that first step. What will you do with his invitation?
One step you could make is in accepting the invitation to go to the PennDel Women of Purpose this year. Lisa Terkeurst, author of Uninvited, is the main speaker this year. This is a good investment of your time and energy and a definite step toward accepting the invitation to “come, be with me.”
PS 2: Some of you may need a prolonged time of healing. I recommend my friend, Adessa Holden’s, book – Finding Healing. She now has a workbook so it can be used for personal processing or done in a small group. You can purchase it on Amazon. )