Lately I've been doing a lot of reading.
Seems like being sick has a way of slowing life down, and reading is a good way to pass the time.
So I've been learning, listening, lounging –
And I read something that I wrote four years ago that really spoke to me again.
I thought I'd share it with you today…
I had just read something that a friend wrote that triggered a deep response in my heart. She was talking about *letting go* of a particularly difficult situation in her life.
About how hard it was for her to do that.
How relinquishing control was often a moment-by-moment process.
How well I related.
So tired, wanting and waiting to release the burden of care that she was carrying.
Yes, I got it.
Those of us who are parents will totally understand the weight of love and concern that we have for our children. (By the way, those of you who aren't parents still care for other people deeply – you will also understand what I'm talking about).
And we should care.
If we ever took that job of parenting seriously, we will care…deeply.
But sometimes we can get overburdened, overwhelmed, overcome by the things we care about. Especially when we face the ugly fact that we have little control over another person's circumstances, pain and suffering, thoughts and feelings.
I often find myself being the "emotional burro" of the family.
Might I just say in my defense that I come by that role naturally.
I am the first-born child, and oldest daughter of a first-born son and an only child (my parents). I am also the first-born grandchild of two first-born sons (my grandfathers) – and the oldest cousin in my family. (Might I just add that both of my parents were also the oldest grandchildren and oldest cousins on one side of their families).
(Sign me up for Overachievers Anonymous)
The weight I carry for others – especially for my sons, my family – can be heavy, heavy at times.
Now, as a believer and a follower of Jesus, I know that I am not in charge. (I'm not, right? Funny how I keep having to check on that…)
The Lord is in infinite control of all things, and all people.
So, I know that my spiritual mandate is to allow Him to have that control.
To exhibit my yielding to His sovereignty by trusting and obeying Him.
I really, really try to do that.
But I am struck by the spiritual irony that I am now actually striving to rest.
As I pondered what my friend wrote, I thought about that word *release*.
The definition of lease is this (taking out the specific legal stuff so it makes sense emotionally!):
A contract by which one party conveys (transfers) [something or someone] to another...
In that sense, God is asking me, inviting me, even commanding me, to do just that.
To make a contract with Him to convey all my *stuff* to Him.
When I thought about that, releasing my burden actually becomes...
Stopping once again to hand over to Him all those things that burden me.
To once again move into that place where I abide with Him.
Where I allow the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to comfort and calm me.
I re-lease in order to once again find peace.
It's not easy for this crazy first-born.
Very often I find myself *taking back* all the people and situations that I thought I had given to the Lord.
(Evidently, some of the things that I think I "nail to the cross" are actually just thumb-tacked…or loosely held on with Post-It notes…just sayin').
But, God is calling this overly responsible, overly conscientious mother to give it ALL to Him.
Today, though with a troubled heart and an anxious spirit, I will re-lease it all to Him who loves me.
I will transfer my troubles, my worries, my situations and circumstances, my health, my finances, my family – my past, my present, and my future – every detail, every moment – into His loving and capable hands.
Praying you will, too.
Lord, to whom would we go?
You have the words that give eternal life.
Is there a burden that God is asking you to re-lease to Him?
One more time
He lightens up my load,
In the night of deep despair
my faith keeps telling me
Waiting to answer prayer
one more time.
(From "One More Time" by the Downings)
A Conversation with Jesus (based on Scripture):
"I know that you are weary and carry heavy burdens, Sharon."
"Oh Lord, yes, my burdens are heavy and I am so very tired, so weighed down by the worry and care and concerns that I bear."
"This is why I bid you to come to Me.
I will give you rest."
"Rest sounds so nice, Lord. And yet, it seems impossible to my weary soul."
"Then take My yoke upon you. Let me share the burden.
Let Me teach you the meaning of true peace.
I am humble and gentle, and I will be tender-hearted as I lead you, and you will find rest for your soul.
My yoke is easy to bear."
"Lord, what do you mean? Yokes are heavy and confining, they weigh you down. And the yoke of caring right now is overpowering to me."
"Oh Sharon, don't you understand? The yoke is not a symbol of pain, but of partnership. I will carry the load if you align yourself with Me."
"Yes, Lord, I do strive to walk on my own path."
"Sharon, the Father has entrusted everything to Me.
Including every detail, every moment of your life.
So cast the whole of your care – all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns – once and for all, on Me.
For I care for you affectionately and I care about you watchfully.
I love you."
"I love You, too, my Jesus, my Friend."
"Then cast your cares on Me, and I will sustain you. I will never let you be shaken. I will not permit you to slip and fall. I will never allow you to be moved.
And all will be well.
(Based on Matthew 11:27-30, 1 Peter 5:7, and Psalm 55:22)
"Thus it is the duty and interest of weary and heavy-laden sinners, to come to Jesus Christ…Whoever will, let him come. All who thus come will receive rest as Christ's gift, and obtain peace and comfort in their hearts.
But in coming to him they must take his yoke, and submit to his authority. They must learn of him all things, as to their comfort and obedience. He accepts the willing servant, however imperfect the services. Here we may find rest for our souls, and here only.
Nor need we fear his yoke. His commandments are holy, just, and good. It requires self-denial, and exposes to difficulties, but this is abundantly repaid, even in this world, by inward peace and joy. It is a yoke that is lined with love.
So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations to be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke of pleasantness. The way of duty is the way of rest. The truths Christ teaches are such as we may venture our souls upon. Such is the Redeemer's mercy; and why should the labouring and burdened sinner seek for rest from any other quarter?
Let us come to him daily, for deliverance from wrath and guilt, from sin and Satan, from all our cares, fears, and sorrows."
(Matthew Henry Commentary)
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