When Concern Consumes Me
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
As we drove home from a weekend away in the mountains, I felt a heavy sense of dread and sadness. Laying my head back on my seat, I told my husband, JJ, "I don’t want to go home."
The stress and strain of countless commitments at home and at work were taking a toll on me. If only I could return to that little mountain town where no one knew me or needed me.
JJ asked some clarifying questions, and then he suggested I make a list of everything on my plate so I could ask God what needed to be cut back.
Honestly, at first I resented the fact that he was adding one more thing "to do" on my already long list of things I’d never get done.
But later that week I took his advice and wrote out all my commitments and concerns. I made a list of deadlines and dates on my calendar with every appointment, event, conference call and meeting I could think of for the next six months.
And I prayed: Please God, show me where I need to make changes.
I assumed the Holy Spirit would suggest adjustments in my schedule, but that’s not what happened. God didn’t tell me to make cut backs at work or in ministry. He didn’t show me our family had too many activities. He didn’t challenge me to take a sabbatical, although I was hoping He would.
Jesus showed me it was worry — not my workload — that was making me weary.
You see, during the weeks leading up to my "meltdown," I let my thoughts dwell on the possible negative outcome of several different circumstances and decisions, all at the same time. And without realizing it, I had spent as much time thinking and worrying about concerns, commitments, circumstances and deadlines as I did working on them.
It was not only how I spent my time, but how I spent my thoughts that left me depleted. It wasn’t until I brought it all to God, and wrote it all out, that I recognized what was happening.
Instead of escaping to the mountains where no one knows us or needs us, in today’s key verse from Matthew 11:28 above, Jesus invites us to come to Him so He can give us:
Rest for our weary hearts and minds.
"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’" (Psalm 91:1-2, NIV).
Freedom from the captivity of our concerns.
"‘Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and will bring you back from captivity’" (Jeremiah 29:12-14a, NIV).
Maybe there are worries making you weary. Do you hear Jesus gently inviting you to come to Him, seeking and trusting that His heart is big enough to care and strong enough to carry all that concerns you?
Dear Lord, when concerns consume me, help me remember You are there inviting me to come to You and talk about all I’m thinking and doing. Show me if my workload or my worries are making me weary and help me trust You more with both. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Peter 5:7, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (NLT)
If you ever tire of feeling like you’re not good enough, smart enough or gifted enough, you’ll enjoy A Confident Heart Devotional: 60 Days to Stop Doubting Yourself by Renee Swope.
Be sure to download Renee’s "3 Steps to Getting God’s Peace" printable and enter to win her "Heart-and-Soul Spa" gift-pack that includes Renee’s A Confident Heart Devotional book, a prayer journal and a Bath & Body Works gift card. You’ll find it all on her blog today.
If you’ve tried everything else to tackle the disease of stress in your life, with little success, maybe it’s time to give Jesus a try. Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles can help you do just that.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When you think about all you need to get done, what makes you feel like you’re coming undone?
Write three concerns on a piece of paper and put them in an envelope. On the outside of the envelope write: "Jesus, I’m giving my cares to You because You care about me." Put your envelope in a journal or notebook and let God take care of what’s concerning You today.