“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, NIV)
Bible Fairy Tales
I couldn’t read those words without letting my eyes glaze over – they had no meaning in my exhausted, depleted state. They no longer rang with the promise of hope or resonated with a desire for a life less overwhelmed. The invitation was for someone else, and the promise of rest for a future so distant to be made irrelevant in my day. There was nothing easy about following Christ, and the burdens I was bearing were crushing me with their weight. This was just one more passage in the Bible meant for someone else, with no relevance in my daily life.
Can you relate?
Do you also dismiss Jesus’ invitation to rest as a fairy tale?
Are you living a life heavy with burdens, exhausted and depleted?
Is there anything left that flickers hope at the thought of learning from Jesus and finding the way forward might be possible?
If you had met me last year, you would have seen a high-capacity, energetic, problem-solving, powerful woman who was killing it at her work in the church & looking after her family at home. But you may not have seen me dragging myself out of bed in the mornings, dreading the days, forcing myself to spend my evenings on the phone drumming up donations or volunteers, and isolating myself in effort to preserve as much energy as possible. I knew I wouldn’t last long at the pace I was going, with the weight of responsibilities I was carrying and with no end in sight. Yet there seemed like nothing I could do to slow down, pass on some of those responsibilities or make time for rest. So many people were counting on me, and the faster I offloaded one task, four more were passed on to me. The minute one problem was solved, four more cropped up, needing my attention. I knew I need change, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t move forward.
I was stuck, I was dying and I couldn’t see a way out.
Until my body gave out, my mind went on strike and I found myself all but bedridden for the better part of a month. Suddenly those around me were forced to deal with my absence and it became glaringly obvious I wouldn’t survive if I went back to the way things had been.
I still didn’t know how. I no longer had energy or mental capacity to problem solve on my own. Everything – even getting out of bed – was too overwhelming for me to consider. Well meaning advice felt too hard to even try. I no longer cared what people thought of me, or even tried to keep up appearances. There was no bouncing back, no swift recovery and I gave up hope of ever being “normal” again. I quit my job, barely caring about the ministry I was leaving behind, and went home to take care of myself.
I didn’t get better. The “rest” I so desperately needed was not solving my problems. And when I got to the point where an intervention had to be staged because my own children were afraid of me, I knew something had to change. I just couldn’t muster up the energy to figure out what.
And then, I found the secret. I may have needed a whole-life makeover, but that was well out of my reach.
What I could do? One little thing.
One day: get out of bed. Every day.
The next week: leave the house.
Soon: walk to the end of the street and back.
Little things that seemed so small, so inconsequential that they could hardly make a difference. Yet those little things began to pile up into a big thing – a new life, and one I want to live.
It’s the little things that make the big changes.
Big change is hard – even impossible – but there’s a little thing you can do today to move away from burnout and towards a life of abundance.
Maybe you already know what that little thing is.
Maybe you could use some guidance.
I credit my healing journey with the help of over 16 people who graciously walked beside me, set up signposts or pointed the way towards my next little thing. You might need some signposts yourself.
Over the next 31 days, I’m going to share some of the signposts that moved me from the fetal position to a life I’m beginning to love. Some of them may resonate with you – and some of them won’t. My prayer is that this series will help you discover the next little thing on your journey, so that you too can one day read Matthew 11:28-30 and instead of dismissing it, embrace it as a truth God is making real in your life every day.
Throughout October, I will be posting daily Little Things thoughts and challenges. Sign up to receive updates in your inbox!
One Little Thing Challenge: Day 1
Find a journal, notebook, or binder to use for your One Little Thing challenge this month. I will be providing printables throughout this series to prompt you to prayerfully consider what the next little thing is for you. You can write these out in your own notebook, or print out the prompts to add to a binder.
Printable Journal Cover (2-sided):
Prayer for today: