At one point during our year-long mission trip to LaCeiba, Honduras, our job for the week was to build a house for a family who was new to La Iglesia GranComisìon. A previous team had poured the concrete floor, God bless them! We were tasked with putting up the walls, using cement board. The tricky thing was that the only way to get to the site was by a single-lane horse trail through the jungle. That meant we had to haul all our building materials by foot through the jungle! We also had to haul all of our food and water, since we would not return to the church for lunch, as the walk was 45 minutes each way.
Did I mention we also had to take a portable generator?
My sidekick that year was the infamous Laura Bell! Some of you may know Laura. She worked in IT at CedarCreek for years and is truly one of the smartest, funniest people I know. We (It was probably my idea that Laura went along with, knowing it was destined for failure!) decided that we could “fashion” a yoke for the two of us to haul some of the heavy items out to the site. It consisted of a pole of some sort, the use of some creative padding for our shoulders, and hanging the weighty items on either end to carry. We were determined to manage this ourselves (i.e., without men)—because even though we were girls, we were smart girls! We had chosen our yoke and were determined to make it work!
Several missteps and mis-configurations later, we decided that we were smart enough to know, for the sake of our backs, shoulders, and bruised legs, that hiring the kids who were always hanging around us “gringas” to haul the stuff out was a much better plan. We were not good at carrying such heavy burdens or creating yokes to share the weight. Our coping strategy did NOT work!
Jesus, on the other hand, is a master craftsman. The legend that Lauren Snyder shared about the fame of his hand-hewn yokes is a compelling one, as is the metaphor he used later to describe his desire to ease the burdens of our lives.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
When Jesus says, “my yoke is easy to bear,” he’s telling us, “my yoke fits well.” He is offering to help us with our burdens. Why are we so reluctant to accept his help? While the desire to be independent and “do it ourselves” seems to be a human characteristic, I think we in the United States have made this mantra into an idol. We want to do it ourselves. Just like the toddler who demands, “No! Me do it!”—we want independence. We want the credit. We want to appear in control of all our circumstances. And I believe that leads to a meh life because we can’t.
We just can’t.
I don’t know about you, but my hands get tired from clutching my circumstances, trying to force the outcomes I want. It’s exhausting, and futile, because truly, we control almost nothing in our lives!
A meaningful life can only happen when we invite God into our circumstances. When we let go of outcomes and invite God to have his way, we can relax and enjoy the ride. Sure there are ups and downs, the bumps in the road that are part of life on planet Earth. But with Jesus as our focus, things fall into glorious places. One of my favorite Bible verses to meditate on comes from Psalm 16, and says:
Psalm 16:6 (NIV)
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
As I welcome God each morning into my day, I try to focus on all he has given me. I pray about all the day may offer me—opportunities to serve the people God puts in my life. This sets the attitude of my heart for whatever might come. I can rest in Jesus. I let him hold my heart. I can trust him with it, so I can risk loving those who aren’t always lovable, kind of like me!
What burden(s) are you clinging to? Can you release it to Jesus?
Make a list of the things that worry you today. Write them down—really! It helps define your cares when you see them in black and white. When you get them out of your head and onto paper, often they seem less difficult. Ask Jesus to share these burdens with you. Listen for his voice. Do what he says. Rest in his presence.
Jesus, my sweet Savior, thank you for bearing my burdens. Thank you for knowing how heavy they are, and how incapable I am of dealing with them. I trust that you love me. I trust that you are good. I trust you to carry that which weighs me down. I give it to you now, and I’ll try not to take it up again. Thank you for forgiving me when I do, and for never tiring of me coming back to you once more when life overwhelms me! I love you! Amen.
This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.
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