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Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.
~Matthew 11:28~ TLB
I have always excelled at taking care of others and getting things done. However, I have never been very good at nurturing my own heart or taking care of my own personal well-being. Because of my failure to care for my own needs, I easily become exhausted and overwhelmed with stress at times. Although I do my best to hide it well because I am usually so good at working hard, pleasing others, surviving and pushing through, when running on empty, I can still become irritable and short-tempered. I was burned out and utterly miserable. I longed to find my spark again. I desperately craved to experience God’s peace and joy in fresh, new, intimate ways.
Women are heroes when it comes to loving and caring for others. However, I often wonder, why on Earth is it so doggone hard to give ourselves permission to rest and refresh? Especially in those difficult when we’re overly stressed out and need it most?
Our beloved Savior, Jesus says to us, “Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.” (Matthew 11:28) TLB
Notice that Jesus does not tell us, “Come to me with Hulk-like strength, jubilant, cool-as-a-cucumber, care-free and untroubled.”
On the contrary, He tells us the exact opposite. We are invited to come to Jesus when we are tired, stressed and weary. It does not matter if you are confused, anxious, angry or stressed. Our beloved Jesus tells us to come as we are. Perfectly imperfectly, we are His.
God does not want us to do more for Him. He longs to take care of us and whisper to our weary souls’ tender words of love and peace.
Let’s Get Practical
Perhaps you find yourself asking: How on Earth do I get practical about rest? How do I take better care of myself and draw closer to God?
I found myself asking these very same questions, too. So, I began to search for the answers and, to my utter delight, God helped me discover myriad ways to detox stress from my soul with uplifting Scriptures. The Lord has been showing me many beautiful and simple ways to care for my soul, to spark love, peace, and joy, and prayers to feel God’s peace again.
Here are three:
1. Just Breathe
Whenever you find yourself feeling too tired and stressed to pray, rest in knowing that Jesus is interceding for you on your behalf.
Nothing and no one can ever separate you from His love. Not even your unrest. He will never, ever get tired of you. EVER! The greatest blessings we can experience is God’s complete understanding and compassion. And His presence.
“Who then is the one who condemns? No one.
Christ Jesus who died … is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
~Romans 8:34~ NIV
Soul Care Tip: Are you a tea or coffee lover? I am! Did you know that research has shown that even the simple act of brewing tea and the heavenly aroma of coffee is mood-lifting? Go ahead and put a fresh pot of coffee, take a deep breathe and smile. 🙂
So, enjoy a nice hot cup of your favorite coffee or tea today, relax and just breathe. As you do, rest and bask in the thought of Jesus interceding for just for you.
2. Keep a Prayer Journal
When you find yourself feeling tired and overwhelmed, instead of struggling to reach Jesus, simply invite Jesus into your world. Research in a New York Times article shows us the power of writing our own personal story; it leads us to make behavioral changes and improves our overall happiness. Even writing just 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference!
“For the word of God is alive and active …”
~Hebrews 4:12a~ NIV
Soul Care Tip: When we journal with God, we are giving Him space to rewrite our stories. Do you ever get “aha” moments as you are writing? Where will you journal today?
3. Take a TLC (Tender Loving Care) Break
It is perfectly OK to have limits. Everyone does. Be honest if you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged.
Remember Elijah? He did everything right — even defeating the prophets of Baal! Yet his problems did not go just up and go away. Although Elijah’s faith in God was strong, he still felt the pressures of stress.
So, what did he do? Elijah ran away and slept! However, God in His loving kindness did not lecture Elijah. Instead, God showed Elijah mercy and grace and took care of him. When Elijah woke up, he found fresh bread and water that God left just for him.
Not only did God care for Elijah and feed him, God sent Elijah an angel — to touch him — not once, but twice!
God knew exactly what Elijah needed. He needed physical rejuvenation first in order to hear God’s gentle whispers in a breeze. God gave Elijah much needed TLC.
Soul Care Tip: Instead of layering on the guilt and shame, let God love you by getting some TLC. Are you needing sleep? Maybe you just need a little something yummy-and-healthy to eat? Or maybe it is a friend’s touch that you need? Perhaps, it is emotional safety or physical rest that your soul is longing for?
Though regularly practicing TLC may feel selfish God’s Word says we comfort others with the comfort we first receive ourselves. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
God understands. By making our own self-care a top priority and injecting pockets of rest, we arrive at the doorway of God’s love for us.
So, my sweet sister, I want to cordially invite you to rest in your loving Savior’s arms, today. Take it one day at a time, and trust that God will provide.