Stress less: Jesus' 2 tips
What would be your two top anti-stress tips? I bet they are not the same as Jesus’ observations on what will bring true rest in Him!
My top two ideas would probably be stopping and breathing deeply and counting to three, and thankfulness...
...but Jesus’ top two are:
gentleness and humility.
Let’s take a closer look...
"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of 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. " - Matthew 11:28
Gentleness and humility. Hmm.
So, if gentleness and humility are two ways to enter into rest, that must mean that a striving refusal to let-go and pride are two enemies of rest. I guess that makes sense! I don't know about you, but my stress is never about the circumstances, and always about my heart!
When I want my children to clean up after lunch and they run off instead - I have a choice - to react explosively or to gently change the spirit of the situation. I can take on their stress at embracing a task they don’t want to do and escalate the atmosphere to anger and threats, or I can speak firmly, gently and kindly (and pray in the Spirit!), see the atmosphere change and rest prevail (and the task done!).
When I have unrealistic expectations about what I want, or when I am doing something without consulting God, pride kicks in and creates striving, weariness and heaviness of heart. I want to get this homeschool plan, meal plan, the finances or latest event planning done. I want to plan a worship song set for Sunday or get my sermon written right now but I am trying to do it all in my own strength. I need to switch to humbling myself and being gentle with myself. I need to accept the Spirit’s invitation to rest and hear His voice in this situation. To hear His stop and go. In Joshua 9 the Israelites got stung making a covenant with their enemies because they did not seek God’s counsel. How often do we end up in less-than-ideal and stressful bounds on our time and resources because we failed to slow down and be gentle with ourselves and allow His voice to speak into our situations?
And humility is also closely connected to faith - when I humble myself, I realize that I can’t do it at all, but there is One who can and I lean onto Him instead, placing my confidence in Him. When I intentionally humble myself, I am putting myself back into the position of trusting child with my Powerful, Trustworthy Daddy. Humility is really just the decision to let go, be a child and let my Daddy lead the way.
Lord, stress and striving are not part of your kingdom - gentleness, humility and peace are. Lord, help us to come to you and lay our burdens at your feet. Help us to learn from you and embrace gentleness with others and ourselves and humility, laying aside our agendas and expectations. Your way is truly the way to peace and we desire to walk in it. Amen.
Where do you need to embrace gentleness and humility today and enter into His rest?