Monday, May 20, 2013

Overwhelmed, Stressed Out and Tired

There is no doubt about it, the end of the school year is OVERWHELMING!!!

There are too many final projects (mine and the kids) to be finished, too many gifts to buy, too many thank you's to write, too many memories to make, and too many summer activities to plan.  It is almost burdensome.  Ask any mom of school age kids how she is feeling about now and she will most likely use words like overwhelmed, stressed out, and tired.

And it's just not moms of school age children.  Ask a mom who has preschoolers, toddlers or little babies at home and they will tell you the same thing.  The days seem to last forever and the nights go by in the blink of an eye.  They are tired, overwhelmed and stressed out.  

Surely things get better when the kids get older, don't they?  Ask the mom whose child has just graduated from high school, the one who will be moving away from home for the first time in 3 short months.  I am guessing they too are scared, overwhelmed, stressed out and tired.

And I am willing to bet that it's not just moms. I imagine that dad's today are just as stressed.  It is not easy to provide in today's over consumed culture.  Bosses want 100% all the time, families need 100% all the time, and everything seems to require more time, more energy and more skill then most men could ever dream of having.

Maybe it will be easier when we are older, the kids are grown, college is paid for.  But I don't think it will be.  Not when the company you've given 25 years to decides to lay you off. Not when the spouse you have loved for 50 years passes away.  Not when the kids you gave everything to forget to call, not because they don't love you but just because, as I stated above, we are just too overwhelmed!!!

Have I painted a hopeless picture?  Are we simply destined to be stressed out, overwhelmed, and tired.  Are we all weary and burdened?

You know Jesus has something to say to those who are weary and burdened.  Matthew 11:28-30, "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."

Okay, I know what you are thinking!  Yeah the rest part sounds wonderful, but you are simply not willing to carry anyone else's yoke right now, not matter how gentle or humble he may be or how easy the yoke is.  Your hands are full!  I get it!  But that's not quite what Jesus meant.  

You see there were many different kind of yokes during the time Jesus lived.  The Bible refers to "yoke" in several different contexts, the Egyptians held the Israelites in the "yoke" of slavery, oxen were sent under the "yoke" to plow the fields,  people "yoked" (or aligned) themselves to Baal.  In addition to these meanings, "yoke" was also used to refer to the teachings of a rabbi.  It was the way each individual rabbi would interpret the Torah.  It was the laws and customs that he felt were the most important to follow.  One would learn the "yoke" of a rabbi by asking him what the greatest commandment was.  This would let the people know which laws and rituals were the most important one to follow if you were going to follow that rabbi.  Some rabbi's had long, extensive and very complicated yokes. You think we are weary and burdened, trying doing all that you do today while following all the laws, sacrifices and rituals listed in the Old Testament.  THESE were weary and burdened people.  

So when Jesus told them that his yoke was easy and his burden was light he was referring to the greatest commandment.  Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your soul.  That is the first and the greatest commandment.  That is it, no laws, no sacrifices (Jesus took care of that), and no rituals, just love.  Put God before all else.  Then you will find peace.  Then you will find rest.  

When you are weary and burdened, and let's face it, we all are.  Come to Jesus.  Lay your burdens before him and you will find rest.  Learn from him, learn to give God all your heart, all your soul, all your mind.  And when you fail, let Jesus who is gentle and humble, help get you back on track.  In Him you will find rest for your souls.  His yoke is easy and his burden is light.