Monday, April 18, 2016

Lighten the Load

"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 11:28-30 (MSG)

Some of you may have heard this verse before but perhaps not in this version. You may be more familiar with:

“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.” (NIV)

 How many times have we said "Lord, this feels way more than I can bear! You said you wouldn't do this to me." Well, I believe I have found the reason why we truly experience that at times life is more than we can bear. 

Because we are carrying too much...we need to lighten the load.

If you are carrying the emotional weight of your hormonal teenager adjusting to middle school, you're carrying too much. If you are carrying the weight of your finances for the whole family and it is causing you to endure chronic financial stress, you're carrying too much. If you are carrying the burden of an elderly parent that cannot care for themselves alone, you are carrying too much. If you are pulled in the middle of a friendship that is unraveling at the seams feeling like you're the link holding it together, you're carrying too much. If you feel the weight of exhaustion that comes from an overloaded schedule, you're carrying too much.

Do you feel it? It is heavy. It consumes our thoughts. It weighs us down spiritually, emotionally, is too much! You need to lighten the load.

How do we do that? By giving it to God.

When you pray about something, you are leaving it in God's hands. If you notice the weight of the stress burdening you like a ton of bricks pushing you into the floor, it's because you picked it back up.

That's right, you waltzed back into the throne room, picked up that situation that you had you laid down at his feet and said "I've got this God". Only you realized that much later that afternoon, you picked up way more than you could carry and you feel tired, burnt out, stressed out and at your wit's end.

Put it back! That is the great thing about the verse above. We need to learn God's "unforced rhythms of grace". What does that mean? Well imagine our life as a song. Every song has a beat or a rhythm that is slow or fast or just right. Now let's unpack grace. Grace is undeserved favor that rests on us as believers. The Lord knows this life is heavy and the rhythm of our life can get sped up by circumstances beyond our control and within our control. It pounds on our hearts and minds and becomes a burden to keep up with, if we let it.

But when we walk in God's undeserved favor, His open arms waiting to carry our burdens for us, then we are beginning to understand his "rhythm of grace". We begin to  realize that when life is more than we can handle it is because we weren't meant to carry it alone, we were meant to share it with God. We were meant to lay it down before his throne and let Him work it out on our behalf. 

Here is the best part of our loving God. This rhythm of grace He wants us to walk in is unforced. Just as a relationship with Him is. We don't have to accept the gift of this grace. We can continue to operate in our own strength and in our own power and allow the weight of our problems to crush us.

Or, we can operate in the "unforced rhythms of grace" and choose the lighter road. We can even remind ourselves several times throughout the day, week or month to put that problem, that situation, that person back down at God's feet. We will have several times throughout the day where we are tempted to pick those burdens back up, but where grace comes in is remembering that God doesn't want us to carry that alone. It's too big, it's too heavy. He wants us to walk in rest that God has got this situation under control. He wants us to trust that it will be resolved. He wants us to walk our everyday lives in freedom. Freedom from being bound to the heavy yokes that will ultimately trap us into the bondage of  stress that can cause anxiety, depression, or despair. We have the grace to put it back down when we see ourselves picking it back up.

Get away with me and you’ll recover your life...Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.

Oh those words are soothing to my soul. Let's recover our lives and live it to the promised abundant fullness! Let's walk with God and talk with Him. Let's cooperate with Him. Here is the best part- in the resting and trusting- we'll get a front row seat on how He will come through in our problem.

What are you carrying that feels too heavy? Have you laid it down in the throne room for God to take care of it?

Because When You Speak, When You Move. 
When You Do What Only You Can Do 
It Changes Us, It Changes What We See And What We Seek 

When You Come In The Room 
When You Do What Only You Can Do 
It Changes Us, It Changes What We See And What We Seek

These are the lyrics to a beautiful song, "Spirit of the Living God", by Vertical Church Band that can help you in your quiet time today to lay it ALL down.


  1. Hi Michelle, these words of Jesus found in the book of Matthew are so good - but how much more refreshing to read them from the Message. They come in fresh and refreshing way. "Get away with me and you’ll recover your life...Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it." Love this. You can "hear" Jesus inviting and beckoning us to himself - to the unforced rhythms of grace. We so need to live in this. Thank you for writing the words that have refreshed me today.

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