LEARNING TO REST
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” - Matthew 11:28-30
Come. Learn. Rest. Jesus’ gentle invitation to rest, to simply be with him is refreshingly welcoming during a season of much activity. Come. Rest. Yes! I want to turn off my racing mind, empty my agendas, let go of my preoccupations. While resting and unburdening is the goal, Jesus’ invitation reveals the how. It’s as if he is showing me to be less concerned about stopping and rather, to welcome a shift.
One of the gentlest shifts in my life is perhaps the greatest. It happened after receiving communion some years ago. I was kneeling next to my dad. I happened to look over and noticed him grimacing in pain. During that time, I struggled mightily with my dad about measuring up, about being enough. Looking at him, I felt the full weight of that burden. At the same time, I was given a glimpse of grace. I saw how Jesus was looking at him with tenderness and love, how he shared my dad’s present needs and struggles. It took some time to let this yoke of Jesus rest upon me. Yet, gradually, I began to truly see my dad as if for the first time, beyond the problems and prejudices that clouded my vision and shaped our relationship. That began a shift in the way I regarded my dad, a shift with domino effect in the way I see God, others, and myself.
The shift continues for me today. It begins with asking for the gift of seeing through the eyes of Christ and feeling with his heart. It may not happen on my timeline, but grace happens. I don’t know how, but learning to couple my eyes and heart with Jesus’ gives rest. Like two oxen sharing the same yoke, I somehow receive a bit of his meek and humble heart. Being near the One who simply wants to be with me – look at me, delight in me, sit with me, hide in me, share my loneliness, burdens, self-judgment, hurt, or worries for others – calms my restless heart.
Jesus, may I borrow your eyes and heart once today, to regard someone with whom I am burdened, especially if that person is myself.