“I am a woman. I am invincible. I am tired.” These are the words that resonated with me as I read a book a friend gave me. I have spent my life looking at what needs to be done around me and doing it. And now I find myself with a list of roles both professionally and personally: teacher, counselor, supervisor of 19 people, academic director of an additional 21 people, lead missionary with a growing team, librarian, mom, wife, daughter, sister, mentor, doctoral student, and the list goes on. I am sure your list looks similar. I don’t think there is anything wrong with fulfilling the needs you see around you. But I am having to take a hard look at whether I apply these same “roles” to my spiritual life. Do I think God needs me to fulfill roles instead of believing he loves me even when I am unproductive? Of course in my head I believe this. But in my heart, way, way down deep, do I think I have to do certain things to be loved unconditionally? Isn’t this a contradiction? And yet, how many times do I check off certain boxes believing God is proud of me fulfilling my duties. Friend, I am here to tell you that unconditional love really doesn’t come with the conditions of teaching Sunday school, leading Bible study, mentoring, volunteering, or whatever you fill in the blank with.
“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
Culture tells us that we have to hold everything together. But is this what is expected of us spiritually? He doesn’t ever say to get our lives together then go to Him. Or be all things to all people so we are viewed as the perfect Christian. No, when we go to Him for rest not only does He take our burdens but He makes clear that His burden is not heavy. He does not require that we put more work on ourselves so that we can be a “good Christian.” Quite the opposite. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Get rid of the expectations that you have placed on yourself or perhaps others have placed on you. When we rest in him, we relieve ourselves of religion and get to enjoy relationships. An unconditional acceptance and love without a checklist of productivity.
To be quite honest, I stink at this. School started for teachers this week. My to-do list is a mile long. I feel I have to fulfill all my duties flawlessly. I try regularly to give him my burdens only to find that I have taken them back later in the day. I get scared that if I am not perfect and not productive then I will disappoint the Father. But I am trying. And I am relieving myself of the guilt when I don’t measure up. Realizing that he loves me through my failure to perform. He desires to help us rest. Pray with me that I (and maybe you) will truly understand unconditional love and that perhaps we will even extend this love without expectations to others.