“How can I be praying for you this week?”
The realization of my current condition set in as that simple question was asked. It was intrusive. It required me to really reflect on how I was doing. My best friend had reached out to me, out of the blue, to let me know she saw through my facade and wanted to join me in it all.
“I can tell you’re burdened with stress and weariness… How can I be praying for you this week?”
I had been called out on a condition that was no longer secretly mine. My friend could see it, and so I had no choice. I had to answer honestly. So I asked myself, “What do I need prayer for this week? How am I really feeling?”
That was the single word that came to mind. She had been right. She had seen it: stressed and weary. I don’t know about you, but when you picture the way you hope someone would interpret you or describe you, those two words are not the top of my list.
But they were true. They were real. They’re ugly and uncomfortable and not “my best foot forward,” but right now – they’re me. And how I was doing – stressed and weary – was fully known by my dear best friend. And I was still fully loved.
Do you know how refreshing it is to be fully known and still fully loved? That is this dear friend to me. She knows my brain, she knows my heart, she reads my soul. And when she sees that I am burdened, she doesn’t just sit by and wonder. She barges in, asks the real question and expects the real answer.
(Side note: Dear friends, I hope and pray that each of you have someone like this in your life. We need to be partnered with fellow sisters and brothers in Christ that aren’t afraid to barge in, ask the tough questions, and wait around long enough for the tough answers. If you don’t have that person in your life, can I encourage you to begin praying for that.)
I’m so thankful to have that friend partnered with me in carrying that burden. Thankful that she barged in rather than sit back and wonder. She is the literal representation of another who wants to barge in to your weary and stress-laden lives. Who yearns to carry your icky burdens in this life and trade you for a lighter load. Who fully knows you and still fully loves you.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:27
It was the text message I needed to remember to take a moment and ask myself, “How am I really doing, and am I trying to do this on my own.” The answer to my own question was “yes” and my answer to her question was “weary.” That is not a coincidence. That is purely how it works.
We were not meant to live lives full of burden and stress and weariness. Or live lives on our own. Yes – life is not going to be perfect, easy, and happy all the time. That was never promised. But what is promised is the offer for a lighter load. One that allows us to walk through this life with joy and peace and a perspective beyond that of the stress and struggle this world offers us up.
When we try to go at it alone we are guaranteed to be hauling a load that was never meant for us. It’s like giving the heaviest trailer to the smallest pony. It doesn’t fit well and so we struggle unsuccessfully trying to carry what was never intended for us. And we quickly become weary and stressed that we’re not “thriving well” and our shoulders slump under the heavy burden.
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
My friends, Jesus calls out to all of us – all who are weary and burdened – because He knows. He knows we are tired and stressed and slumping under the heavy loads we are adamant on carrying by ourselves. And He offers rest. He offers to trade us. He runs up besides us, barges in, because He sees our true condition, just like my sweet friend saw. And He wants in. To take it away and give us a lighter load.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. -Matthew 11:30
You know the interesting thing about translations? Sometimes the true meaning of words gets lost along the way. In verse 30, when Jesus offers an easy yoke, so often that is taken as an easy, carefree life. One void of hardship, sadness, or trying times. What the original language meant by “easy” is that it fits perfectly. Jesus is offering a yoke that is specifically designed for you. One that is designed exactly for you. Not your neighbor. Not your friend. Specifically for you. His yoke is not easy in the way that you will never experience difficulty, but easy in that He only gives you what He knows you can carry. But we have to be willing to give up the heaviness we lug around and let Jesus trade us for the more fitting load.
Are you weary? You’re not alone. I’ve been there. I am there. But so is another. And He offers to take on the tough stuff and trade us for a load that fits us better.