In the first part of this series, we talked about how God wants us to practice presence before pleasing. We must learn to stop trying to do anything for Him until we first take time to be with Him, basking in His glory, and absorbing the warmth of His Son-shine. Only when we spend time with Him and learn from Him will we find rest for our souls.
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.”
The chalkboard of chores
When I was a kid, my mom would go off to work on a Saturday, leaving my older sister and me with a list of chores written on the kitchen chalkboard. My sister always did her chores early, but I was a big procrastinator. All day, the chores loomed in my mind until I finally had to do them or risk punishment when Mom got home.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that I managed to carry this same sense of duty into My Christian life. I still catch myself making a list of things I have to do for God, and if I don’t complete them in a timely fashion, I struggle with the sense that I might be in trouble with Him (which of course I’m not).
Finding easy and light
If you can relate, how do you get free? How do you go from carrying the heavy yoke of Christian duty to serving Him from an overflowing heart, one that feels easy and light? Here are a few things that work for me. Leave a comment and let me know what works for you!
- Tear up your “To Do” list.
Let go of your self-constructed list of Christian works. Crumple it up, burn it, or stick it in your imaginary paper shredder and give yourself permission to stop trying to please God.
- Repent for self-effort.
Ask God to forgive you for trying to work your way toward Him. Let Him show you His way of doing things and imprint on your soul the fact that He’s not disappointed in you,
Find a comfortable place to relax and let worship music fill your soul. If you need new ideas for restful music, look up “soaking” on your favorite music app.
- Absorb the Word.
I suggest listening instead of reading. There are some awesome apps that allow you to listen to Bible books or topics. I like one called Dwell (find it on the App store or Google Play). With Dwell you can pick your favorite narrator and listen with or without music to things like “Peaceful Psalms” and “Deep Joy.”
- Let the Holy Spirit pray through you.
If you have a heavenly prayer language, use it. It’s a restful way to pray because you don’t have to “think” about what to say, you can just let the Spirit intercede for you (Jude 1:20; Rom. 8:26, 28).
- Do nothing at all.
This may be the most challenging item on the list. It’s hard to unplug from social media, TV, friends, and other distractions, but give it a try. Take time to just sit with God. Give Him room to speak to you and shift your mindset from trying to earn His love to accepting that you already have it.
God calls each of us to lay down our burdens and refresh ourselves in Him. It’s by spending time with Him that we learn to serve joyfully and easily, not from duty, but from a deepening love relationship and a tender, grateful heart.
Comfort and peace never come from anything we know about ourselves, but only and always from what we know about Him.Hannah Whitall Smith