Often times I feel like I have too much going on in my life — too many hurts, too many stressors, too many things on my list that need to get done, too many errands to run, too many people to call, too many emails to respond to — it all feels like too much.
And then your typical Christian would tell you to pick up your bible and read God’s Word, or go to church, or a typical Catholic would tell you to pray through the rosary. And for crying out loud, don’t let anyone see that you’re struggling because — you’re a Christian and you’re supposed to have it all together! Slap a Christian fish on the back of your car and make us look good!
Because if that’s the case, then maybe this “Christian” gig isn’t for me.
I NEVER have it all together!
We hear people say things like “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” – but I disagree with that. I think LIFE will give us a ton more than we can handle, and God is just waiting waiting waiting for us to run to Him and say “Take this!!!! ALL of this! Calm me down, God because I’m about to completely FREAK OUT over here!” I don’t believe that God is sitting in the heavens like someone who is getting cream poured into his coffee just waiting to say “woah” when it’s just the right amount.
I think it’s our responsibility to notice when it’s too much for us – and then do something about it. You know what your too much feels like. Maybe you’re feeling it right now and you’re “escaping” from your too much by scrolling through Twitter or Facebook. You’re going to the wrong place – I know because I do it too. (but feel free to finish reading before you close your browser tab!)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
The Bible overwhelms me – I don’t know where to start on my own. So instead I go to some of my favorite Christian blogs or read my favorite devotional, or even read another chapter in a book that is helping me grow through some of my personal issues. (see a list of my favorite resources at the bottom of this post) When one of those resources touches on a passage in scripture that hits me right between the eyes, THEN I go to my bible and I dig deeper. I read the footnotes. I read the correlating passages that are written in the margins. And then I close my eyes and pray.
My prayers aren’t going to sound like your prayers.
My faith isn’t going to move and breathe like your faith.
My learning isn’t going to mirror your learning.
In the passage from Matthew listed above, Jesus talks about His yoke being easy. I learned from Jen Hatmaker at the #reckless2013 conference that “yoke” is a term that means “specific ways or methods.” The religious leaders were all bent out of shape about praying this way or that way, don’t hang out with the sinful people, do this, don’t do that. When disciples of rabbi’s literally followed and mirrored the rabbi, the specific things that rabbi did were called his yoke. Hello!!!! TOO MUCH! It’s like trying to learn a complicated line dance for someone with no rhythm… it’s just too much.
Jesus says, “my yoke is easy” — oh thank God… literally.
“…and my burden is light” — good because I have enough burdens already!
The bottom line is that it’s your responsibility to go to God. He is there waiting for you. The way you go to God doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s way, or sound like everyone else’s sounds. And following Jesus isn’t complicated. No training is required, you can just jump right in. Following Jesus isn’t too much, it’s the RELIEF from the too much that you have everywhere else in your life.
And for the record, a Christian fish on the back of the car tells me that person knows he is a sinner and that he isn’t perfect. He knows he has to RUN to Jesus because that’s where the burden is light and I’m totally down with that way of thinking.
Give me all your burdens… um, GO FISH!
Go Fish or Go Home!
I once saw an ichthys bumper sticker THIS BIG!
… I know …. too much.
Ann’s favorite resources: