Grace St. Catherine lives with predictability. She loves to pounce in the snow chasing snowballs. Ice cubes tend to be a desirable evening treat. Pawing a tennis ball under the TV table offers much hide and seek delight. Meals and snacks always begin with prayer. And, when Grace grows weary her behavior becomes rather feisty. She bites more, growls deeper, and really really wants to sit on someone’s lap. I notice she is weary by her predictable patterns.
Weary – feeling or showing tiredness, reluctant to see or experience any more; tired.
Understanding Grace’s patterns lead me to consider the shape of my life. Lately, Matthew 11:28-30 stirs within my soul and I find myself soaking in each word spoken by Jesus. “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.”
When I look into the spheres of my existence I notice the parts of my life where I experience weariness. Feeling weary arises from a variety of situations and factors.
Here are a few for consideration: We experience weariness from the prolonged covid season of masks, shots, tests, and illness. Waiting in long lines of traffic, at the market, and for appointments often create weariness. Miscommunication and relational discord develop weary emotions. Experiencing the consequences of someone else’s poor choices generates a weary soul. Persistent health challenges while awaiting resolution lead to weary hearts. Vocational unease and confusion generate weariness. Technology fatigue from staring at electronic screens develops a weary mind. Weary living emerges from financial strain and uncertainty. Even, at times, changing weather causes physiological responses and weary bodies. All of humanity experiences weary living at times.
In what parts of your life do you feel weary?
When I feel weary I find it challenging to think straight – my head feels a bit cloudy. Physical exhaustion often accompanies weariness in my life. This leads to forgetfulness to eat and lack of sleep which unfortunately companion well with the weariness within my soul. These predictable patterns alert me to parts of my life where I encounter weariness. And, like Grace, I just long to be held by my Savior and sit in His tender accessible embrace.
What predictable patterns help you notice when weariness exists within your soul?
I think for most of my life I believed the false narrative that I was not allowed to feel weary. I erroneously thought that if I felt weary, I must be striving in the flesh and not living in the grace of God. Yet, when I meditate on Jesus words in Matthew 11, I realize Jesus does not condemn the experience of being weary, rather, it is as though he recognizes human limitations and welcomes the awareness of this state within the soul. Whew! What a relief.
Jesus very kindly extends an invitation to those in weary places: “Come.” He welcomes us when we identify burdens of life and feel weighed down by their varying demands. His summons offers relief as He promises rest. Rest takes a variety of forms: sleep, resolution, sustenance, connection, healing, companionship, etc. Very simply, Jesus calls His followers to approach Him when weariness sets in from the rigors of life and, with Him rest follows.
Not only does Jesus show hospitality to those encountering weary parts within their soul, He suggests practices to engage in the weariness. Jesus tells us to “take” and “learn.” To take Jesus’ yoke requires that we attach ourselves to Him. Just as a farmer yokes a young oxen to a mature working oxen, Jesus tells us to put on His yoke, connected to Him, and let Him do the work. We learn from Jesus as we walk beside Him, following the path He creates. He “plows” the field and we walk alongside Him watching and learning how to live. Jesus invites His followers to take and learn from Him.
In what ways can you practice taking Jesus’ yoke and learning from Him today?
This Scripture offers one of the few instances in which Jesus describes His own character. He puts into words His very nature: “gentle and humble in heart.” Jesus is not a fierce task master – He gently leads. On our behalf, in His strength, He guides and carries the burdens we bear. Jesus receives the heaviness within our soul and lifts it from bearing down upon us. In His kindness Jesus meets the sojourners of this world with His lifting presence. Not only does Jesus reveal His gentle posture toward the weary, He also shows humility or lowliness. Jesus describes himself as approachable and accessible to each of us. No task is too great or too insignificant for Jesus. Whatever is important to us, is important to Him. Jesus assesses the weary situations in our lives and extends His meek, tender, and unpretentious presence.
These characteristics of our Savior enable us to rest more fully in His care and attention. As we grow in gentleness and humility we become more like Jesus. He transforms us into more kind, tenderhearted, meek, and submissive disciples. Our focus looks to God and others. The heavy weights in life lighten as we learn from Jesus and lean into His strength and guidance. He bears His yoke well while we align our hearts and minds to Him within the yoke at His side.
Let us pay attention to the weary parts within our soul and remember Jesus precious call. “Come,” “Take,” “Learn.” Receive God’s beautiful posture of meekness and patience as we journey through this broken world. Allow God’s simple hospitality to hold the heavy spaces for you. Connect yourself to Jesus, trusting Him to carry the weighty loads of life and provide guidance along the path. Experience ease within the yoke of God where burdens are light and companionship is promised. Encounter God’s rest for your soul, being confident of His steadfast extravagant love. Embrace the weary parts in life as an opportunity and invitation of God to know and experience His character more fully.
When predictable patterns alert you to the parts of your life where you experience weariness, go to Jesus, take His yoke, learn His ways, and rest in His strong and tender embrace. You are loved.
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Matthew 11:28-30 – “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (The Message)
Isaiah 40:28-29 – Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Dane Ortlund. Gentle and Lowly – The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers. Wheaton, IL. 2020.
Bill Johnson. The Resting Place: Living Immersed in the Presence of God. Shippensburg, PA. 2019.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Jordan St. Cyr. Weary Traveler. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z36k-BXIags
Thrice. Come All You Weary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=552CM7Syslw