from EVERYTHING to ONE THING

Kids need routine.  Schoolwork must be done. Your work must be done. We’re supposed to stay healthy. You know exercise and eat well. We need clothes to wear. Those last things require lots of things, shopping, cooking, drive-thru, dishes, and laundry. We do all the things while life continues to be different to say the least.

All the things can undo you.

I called a friend to sing “Happy Birthday” the other day. I couldn’t remember the tune. I sing that song six times a year to my immediate family alone. Not to mention all the friends and extended family. I sat and thought. In that moment, I couldn’t recall how to sing “Happy Birthday” for anything.

I had no idea how distracted I was by daily life.

The coronavirus pandemic up-ended life abruptly. The circumstances invited us to problem-solve and adjust quickly, often with less support and resources. Many I talk with never found their footing or just did, and now daily life changes all over again with summer around the corner. Summer without neighborhood pools, summer camps, and more.

It’s not just adults who are impacted. My six-year-old cried and kicked the other night as I sang the bedtime songs. “It’s not fair. I don’t get to play with my friends. The pool is closed. It’s too cold to go to the creek. You just don’t understand how hard it is,” he bemoaned.

If we’re honest. EVERYTHING feels hard, wearisome, and unending for each of us from time to time right now. The anger many experience lately screams at all the loss. Grief does that.

EVERYTHING can break us. The load we burden ourselves with, the things we decide we must do or the ways we think we must do them. It’s even worse, when we have no idea how to do any of it.

Jesus knows. He offers us aid and freedom.

Abstract art is a hobby of mine. There is one exercise I used to do often. Just draw with your eyes closed. Don’t lift your pencil, marker, or pen. Just keep going until you decide to stop. Then look and see what’s there. Triangles. Circles. Arches. All kinds of things start to catch your eye.

One day, while doing this exercise, I found myself in the midst of the lines. There I was loaded down with EVERYTHING life had handed me, but I was filled with joy. I was carrying it, seemingly skipping along with EVERYTHING in my hands, because I was carried by, surrounded by Jesus.

“You can carry EVERYTHING because I’ve got you. Will you let me be your ONE THING? I want to be your strength, support, teacher, aid, comfort, EVERYTHING you need. Take my yoke it is easy and light. I will carry the weight, lead you, and teach you. The joy you see can be yours,” Jesus whispered to my weary soul.

EVERYTHING changed in that moment for me. The load I carried remained, but I shifted my focus from my load to the ONE carrying me. Jesus became my EVERYTHING in a way I had never known.

A friend asked me a couple years later, “How many people can I carry?” as life demanded she care for a parent, who had moved in, and her two young kids while pregnant and working full-time.

“As many as God asks you to when you let Him carry you,” I replied in tears.

I knew the feeling of finiteness, not having enough to give.

A full-blown anxiety attack that looked like paralysis when the fear of caring for our kids by myself was too much.

I felt like I might come apart at the seams when we moved into our new home with a two-month old. I homeschooled the three oldest, kept the two youngest alive, and supported a kid who came undone daily with physical and emotional outbursts all on very little sleep.

I hit the wall again after my dad died. About six months after his memorial service, my body freaked out from the load and stress of a three-year roller coaster with lung cancer.

I learned something each time I hit the wall. I’m slow. I had to learn it again and again. I’m still learning it.

“In our weakness, His strength is made known.”

Jesus knows how hard life is here. He came and dwelled among us.

Jesus is not far from us now. He is with us. He has sent the Holy Spirit to be our comfort, teacher, and aid in all things. He offers us His yoke again and again. Oh, how Jesus wants us to be free from the burden of EVERYTHING we carry!

Friends, sharing the load with Jesus changes EVERYTHING. He carries the brunt and leads the way. He does the work. We learn from Him and He grows us up as He leads. We find life to the fullest like He made us for, even when it looks like the weight of the world just might overtake us.

Hard times expose our need. The coronavirus pandemic has definitely exposed some ugly things at our house, in my heart. We are finite, weak, and need aid for all things.

The good news?  That’s exactly who Jesus wants to be for you and me.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, because 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 11:28-29

May we each welcome Jesus in a new way to be our ONE THING, our yoke, so EVERYTHING doesn’t undo us. Instead, we will find rest for your souls. He will grow us up in His image in ways we could never imagine.

Come sweet Jesus. Help us take Your yoke and learn from You. You are gentle and humble. We want rest from EVERYTHING. You alone are our ONE THING.

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