Inspiration: Matthew 11:28-30 KJV: “28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
You can go from high to low in a manner of moments. From Monday to Wednesday my week was on a high. I was hella productive, my mood was good, and I clocked some days at work. I was a bit stressed out preparing for the wellness retreat that I had planned for my friends, but mostly excited for them coming and the refreshing weekend that awaited me. Then Friday happened. I hit a huge pothole in the form of my advisor and his barrage of critical comments. It pushed me over the edge and I just bawled. I tried to get myself together so that my friends and partner would not have to see me in distress, but when I walked in my partner immediately picked up my mood. He hugged me and another wave of tears came. I was met with a circle of hugs, threats of bodily harm on my behalf, and laughter. Then I passed out for an hour, but emotional distress will do that to you. It was enough to patch me up until the retreat started. The weekend was exactly what I needed. I was able to kind of empty my mind of everything that burdened me and be filled up by my sister-friends. As I reflect on the happenings this weekend I’m brought back to the verse in Matthew, which is also part of my holiday favorite, Handel’s Messiah.
Life is no bullshit, to keep it all the way funky. It is easy to be wrapped up and weighed down by things you have to do, aspirations, bad news in the media, and the threat of death. It literally becomes a yoke that drives you and but also controls you. It is heavy. It produces stress, anxiety, and misery. In this season I am reminded very much of how important it is to momentarily remove yourself from life in order to breathe and refocus. It is also important to share the load. Thinking about Jesus’s words I am reminded that I am not alone. In the advent season I am always drawn to the proclamation about Jesus, “He shall be called Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). I believe that to be so true because, even when I feel lonely, I know that I know that I am not alone.
One of the most important lessons that I learned was to see God in others and to let my friends hold me up. I often feel as though I have to be the “strong one” for everyone around me. I take on far more weight for other’s than I should and I often give all I have to my relationships and then look up and have absolutely nothing for myself. As I work toward being better I have been forcing myself to hold more for myself. By that I mean, I do not make myself and my resources as available to others so that I can be well for myself. This does not mean that I have stopped extending myself to others all together, I’ve just become more discerning about when, where, how, and who I give to. I think allowing myself permission to tend to myself and allowing my friends to be there for me has made me see God’s grace even more day to day. I have more opportunities to rest in God because I allow space to step back, which is something I have always struggled with.
Rest stops are an important part of road trips because they give you opportunities on your route to stretch, walk around, use the bathroom, to take a rest on your journey. I see Matthew expressing that as being important to a relationship with God. God is never really trippin’ on situation; God already knows what the end is and rest in that. We should find rest in God because God knows. When life becomes burdensome we are called to divest ourselves of those burdens and take a rest from it. I did this this weekend with my friends. My worries and responsibilities were still there but I made a conscious decision to step back and gather my edges back together and slick them in place. My friends are one space in which I am able to do that. They make me laugh, which makes situations seem less dire or hopeless. They remind me that I am enough, which boosts my confidence that I can accomplish my goals. Sometimes you need someone to gas you up a little bit (and no one does this like women of color).
This week I encourage you to find a resting space: whether that is in God, another religious deity, your family, partner, friends, or nature. Find somewhere to just lay it all down and find some peace. Allow yourself a reset or a pause to tend to yourself.
Love and Light