“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.” Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)
On my walk today I stepped over an ant carrying something much bigger than itself. Do you ever feel like that? It’s easy to become overloaded in life. There are more opportunities to fill our days than we have hours in them. Choosing the ones that matter most can be difficult. Saying no to the rest can feel uncomfortable and sometimes impossible, depending on who is asking. So how do we choose?
I’m probably not the best person to give anyone advice on saying “no.” I’m a recovering people pleaser. “No” hasn’t been a part of my vocabulary for very long. But as I get older, I see time and activities from a different perspective. And people pleasing? I desire to change that to God pleasing instead.
The ant I stepped over was designed to carry things several times bigger than itself. We were not designed to do that! God promises to help us carry the things He puts in our lives, not everything we pick up. He calls it “His” burden and yoke. He walks alongside us carrying the brunt of the weight for us. That extra stuff we say yes to, and overload ourselves with, He doesn’t promise to help us with that. He wants us to ditch it and not pick it up in the first place.
I wish I knew that better when my kids were growing up. Many of those years were a blur of activities; sports and plays and such, multiplied by five. All good things. But those good things when stacked one on top the other became a heavy load to carry. Rushing, anxiety, and no time for quiet contemplation became a lifestyle. One that is not conducive for being still and knowing God.
If we are to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, can we do that while rushing around? Can we teach our kids that? Jesus often went to the garden or another quiet place to be alone with His Father and He took time to rest. He was never in a hurry, and always had time to give His full attention to divine appointments with others along the way. He didn’t care about pleasing people, He cared about saving them from themselves and pleasing God.
What will be on our schedules today for us to carry? Why don’t we give them a second look, right after we check in with God, and compare our lists with His.
It’s OK to say no to things, so we can choose a better yes.
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