• Come to Me, And I Will Give You Rest

    I am tired, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, tired. And I know I am not the only one. I hear you. I see you. You are tired, too. And we have very good reason to be. We are living busy lives full of responsibilities that we willingly took on. And on top of that, life has happened to us. It wouldn't take very long for you to come up with a list of things that have happened to you, that you never asked for. And when you add that to the list of things you were already busy taking on, life begins to feel very overwhelming.

    As a believer for 14 years, I know what to do!! Turn to God, read His word, search the scripture for the answer. Yes, I've got this... give me 5 minutes and I'll be good to go, easy as could be (there really SHOULD be a sarcasm font for blogs, People!). Here it is. Matthew 11:28 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” And THIS is where my trouble begins: half of me sighs in absolute relief. There is my Lord, my Jesus, telling me to come to Him, offering me the rest I so desperately desire, recognizing my weariness and my feelings of burden in my life. I can visually picture Christ with outstretched arms offering a place of emotional shelter that no one on earth can give me no matter how much they may want to. But then there is the other half of me that FREEZES at this scripture. “C. O. M. E.” Come? You mean there is one more thing to add to that long list from above? You mean that the scripture from the Lord adds a requirement on to me in order to have the “rest” that I acknowledge can't ever come from the world? Lord?

    So what is this tired woman to do? I believe that the word of God is truth, and has to be taken whole. I cannot keep the verses that suit me, and ignore the ones that require something of me, or that I struggle with.

    Throughout the years I have learned different strategies, spiritual disciplines, methods, and ways to draw closer to God in shorter amounts of time that work with chaotic schedules and when I'm exhausted. Now... I am in no way saying that long prayer times, weekly Bible Studies, waking early to have long, uninterrupted quite time with God, ect. should not be done. But this list is for those times when I am so tired that the word “come” in Matthew 11:28 makes me want to throw the kind of tantrum my 5 year old throws when I tell her “no” to cake for breakfast (again)!

    WAYS TO COME TO CHRIST, EVEN WHEN YOU ARE TIRED

    • Playing worship music while doing daily chores or errands to keep God at the forefront of my mind instead of the monotonous task at hand.

    • Breath Prayer: Please tell me I am not the only one who drifts off to sleep while praying because I'm so tired. So when I came across “breath prayer”, I fell in love. It is a prayer to God that can be said in one to two breaths. It can be scripture (usually a shortened version of a scripture). ex: “Give thanks to the Lord, For He is good” (psalm 136:1). It can be a reference to what is on your heart. ex: “Dear God be with me, I need you in my life.” My favorite way of using it is to continue doing it throughout the day using the same breath prayer over and over. But you use it how you need it. It is prayer. It is a conversation between you and God. On a personal note, my current breath prayer has been from John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you”.

    • Literally rest in the Lord: Before napping or going to sleep spend time with God. Pray, meditate, worship, read the Bible. Make sure that the time before rest is focused on God. You may find that your rest is more restful and that you wake thinking about the same thing you went to sleep thinking about: your savior and not your stress.

    • Set a timer for 5 minutes.  On a piece of paper list as many things as you can think of that you are thankful for.  Don't stop until the timer goes off.  End your five minutes in prayer with God, recognizing that "Every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17).

    • Just do it!! (Do I owe Nike money now??) This one pains me to say it folks, but sometimes you just have to “do it”, no matter how tired you are. You may already have spiritual disciplines that you KNOW will work. So just do it. Take a deep breath, ask the Lord to sustain you through this, ask for His grace, put one foot in front of the other, and do “it”. And when it's done, give the glory to Him. Because with God, all things are possible (Matt 19:26).

    Now I have said all of that so that I can really say this: I have seen this verse multiple times over the years. It's been discussed in books, in Bible studies I've participated in, and it has been dissected by pastors that I admire. But very recently God opened my eyes to something just as important as what Jesus said; He opened my eyes to what Jesus DID NOT say. There is no list given by Christ. Christ says “come”, and then Christ says why we should come, but He does not say how we should come. Therefore, my tired brothers and sisters, the smallest act of drawing closer to God, the tiniest movement in His direction, is coming. So do it tired, but do it with deliberate intent. Because through Christ, we have the freedom to come to Him, without it having to look one specific way.

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