As we drove home from a weekend away in the mountains, I felt a heavy sense of dread and sadness. Laying my head back on my seat, I told my husband, JJ, “I don’t want to go home.”
The stress and strain of countless commitments at home and at work were taking a toll on me. If only I could return to that little mountain town where no one knew me or needed me.
J.J. asked some clarifying questions, and then suggested I make a list of everything on my plate so I could ask God what needed to be cut back. At first I resented the fact that he had just added one more thing “to do” on my already-overwhelming-list of things I’d never get done. But I knew he was right.
Later that week I wrote out all my commitments and concerns, along with a list of deadlines and dates on my calendar, including every appointment, event, conference-call, and meeting I could think of for the next six months.
And I prayed: Please, God, show me where I need to make changes.
I assumed the Holy Spirit would suggest big adjustments in my schedule, but that’s not what happened. God didn’t tell me to make cutbacks at work or in ministry. He didn’t show me our family had too many activities. He didn’t challenge me to take a sabbatical, although I was hoping He would.
Jesus showed me it was worry, not my workload, that was making me weary.
You see, during the weeks leading up to my “meltdown,” I let my thoughts dwell on the possible negative outcome of several different circumstances and decisions, all at the same time. And without realizing it, I had spent as much time thinking and worrying about concerns, commitments, circumstances, and deadlines as I did working on them.
It was not only how I spent my time, but how I spent my thoughts that left me depleted.
It wasn’t until I brought it all to God, and wrote it all out, that I recognized what was happening.
Instead of escaping to the mountains where no one knows us or needs us, Jesus invites us to come to Him so He can give us:
Rest for our weary hearts and minds.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)
Freedom from the captivity of our concerns.
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14a)
Are there are worries that are making you weary? Do you hear Jesus gently inviting you to come to Him, seeking and trusting Him? No matter what, remember this sweet friend:
God’s heart is big enough to care and strong enough to carry all that concerns you.
Can I pray for us both? Lord, when concerns consume us, help us remember You are there inviting us to come to You and talk about all of it. Everything that’s weighing us down. Show us if it’s our commitments or concerns, our worries or our workload, and help us trust You more with both. Amen.