You just got back from an awesome Christian conference. The speakers said inspiring and deep things, so you have all the motivation and knowledge you need to begin changing the world. So you start on a project, using your God-inspired passion to lead you on. Your idea is gaining momentum. You're spreading the news among your friends. You are making a difference and things are going well. Of course there are some problems along the way, but there's nothing God can't fix. You have many people praying for you, adults counseling you and your family is supporting you one hundred percent. But then. You get sick. Really really sick. Perhaps it's the lack of sleep from all the late-night planning and brainstorming sessions. Perhaps it has something to do with the junk food you ate on your trip to the conference. Maybe it's just an attack of the enemy. But all this guessing doesn't solve your dilemma. What do you do? Your project is in full swing. You're gaining recognition and recruits to your cause by the day. You can't just leave that, right? You're the only one who can lead it. But if you keep going at your present pace, you will have no time for rest and healing. What do you do?
Okay, so not everyone lives their life like this all the time. I definitely don't. So, picture this:
You're still in highschool. Spring is coming and the snow is just starting to melt. But you hardly have time to notice. Junior year really was as hard as everyone said it would be. You're still doing interviews for colleges and have to make a decision on which school you're going to really soon. With church, school studies, music lessons, and socializing, family time is tough to fit in. And it's hard to get along with your family anyway. You don't get enough alone time to think and relax like you want to. Nothing is going wrong. In fact, most people think you have it all together and that you shouldn't complain. But trudging through this stuff day after day is getting old and you're getting tired. You're feeling frustrated. You wouldn't really change anything about your life, except you'd like to not feel so tired and stretched thin all the time.
So, what is the answer? I've faced situations rather like this myself. I've had many health issues and seem to get sick way too often and always at the wrong time (like for two full weeks right before Christmas and the day before we went to DC for the Do Hard Things conference).
A small passage of scripture that I've often quoted to myself in times like this is Matthew 11:28-30. In it, Jesus says, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The answer, I believe, the thing that we should do when we are faced with tough situations, but are too worn out, is to rest in Jesus. Just rest in Jesus.
But how do we do that? I've wondered this myself over the years as I've held tissues to my nose while vacuuming for meetings at our house, and as I played the piano for a Christmas pageant in a nursing home almost too weak to hold myself up. 1
What I've come to learn lately is that you can't always stop the world till you get well again. Time moves on whether you're excited about making a difference, or you're so discouraged that you don't want to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes the wise decision is to cut back on projects and to get other people to help you. We really can't do everything. But sometimes you can't. There are some things that we just have to do. We must look to God to decide which to do in the situation we are in. But when we are in the situation
What is rest anyway? This is one of Webster's 1828 dictionary's definitions: "To be quiet or tranquil, as the mind; not to be agitated by fear, anxiety or other passion." 2 I think this is the kind of rest that Jesus is talking about. While we cannot physically lie on the couch, we can have calm, rested minds. This is a gift of Christ if we go to Him with our worries and cares. The mind and the physical body are so connected that when your mind is rested, your body will feel more rested too. I can definitely vouch for that from experience.
The Psalmist says in Psalm 121, "From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." This is so encouraging. Our true help only comes from God. Other people can't help us. We can't help ourselves. A change in our external circumstances cannot. Ultimately it is only the Lord Almighty that really helps us.
Brett Harris told me at the Rebelution conference that even though we do come across things that are too hard for us to do alone, the same God who got us through the hard things before will get us through our hard things now.
Resting in Christ is going to Him, studying His word to learn of Him. It's casting all your cares on Him, telling Him your every worry, so you don't have to bare anything alone. He is all powerful and will never leave you to suffer alone.
Rest in Christ.
1. If any of you are wondering why I would go to a nursing home to make all those people sick, rest assured: I was not contagious. I had severe asthma and a lung infection, and not even my family got sick in those two weeks.