Jesus, in Matthew 11:28-30, invites us to release our stress by saying, “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.”

In my last post I shared my journey to release the pressures I place on myself and seek after God’s expectations. To be honest, my heart still gets encumbered with stress, but it’s usually when I have put too many things back on my proverbial plate. Weariness sets in when I carry my burdens, instead of casting my cares upon the Lord. Jesus has the rest you need, isn’t that wonderful?

Here are a few practical things that are helping me on this journey of refocusing my priorities.

Helpful Tips

  • Write down tasks that need completion. Once you have written your daily and weekly goals in a planner, look at your list and decide which one requires the most attention immediately. Also, give yourself grace, if you do not finish your task today.
  • Turn your phone on silent. Even better—put it in another room.Did I just give you anxiety? You’re thinking, “This woman doesn’t know how dependent I am to my phone!” “I’m the busiest person EVER.” I may not know you personally, but I know you (because I struggle with similar things, you are not alone)! My suggestion: Set a timer. Also, the world will go on without you checking Facebook or Instagram when you get distracted or bored—I promise.
  • Stay on the task at hand. The celebrated term practice makes perfect is not always true. For instance, if you practice a classical piano piece with the wrong notes or bad technique, you are only going to engrain those bad practices deeper into your psyche. It will take immense self-control, or a trained professional, to teach you how to play the composition properly. Relearning something the right way will take triple the efforttime, and patience.
  • Take a break. My suggestion: do not take a break by going on Facebook or Instagram—social media is a sinkhole—it will distract you in multiple ways.
  • Be in the moment. If you are out to dinner with your spouse or a friend, leave your phone in your purse or pocket. Engage in conversations that are uplifting and meaningful. The people you spend time with deserve your undivided attention.

Remember that you are more than the sum of tasks and deadlines; you are a created being who needs rest and restoration.

It is okay to take a breakbreathe, and refocus.

Reflection Time:

Prayer: Lord, there is so much noise around me all of the time that it makes it difficult to hear Your voice. I pray that You would teach me how to rest and refocus my priorities—I desire to focus on the things You are calling me to accomplish. Help me to not worry so much—when my heart races because I feel overwhelmed, I pray You would take me to that secret place in Your presence where I can feel Your peace. In Jesus name.

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2.

The Oscillating Fan Syndrome

Have you ever sat amidst other people in a humid room that is void of air conditioning? It is insufferable unless there is a small tripod fan in the corner that is oscillating back and forth, giving you a brief moment of respite when the warm air hits your perspired brow.

One fan in a humid room can only
do so much among so many people.

Multitaskers are like an oscillating fan, trying desperately to meet people’s needs with the assemblage of their talents, aspirations, and abilities. However, people often forget that they are only one person, who can target one thing at a time. Sure, you can give fragments of yourself to ten separate endeavors, but only for a short amount of time before you have to move to something else that is petitioning for your attention.

Are you tired of trying to do everything?

Laws of Attraction

There is a certain law of attraction in the perpetual pursuance of success, accolades, and completed tasks. Is there any thrill that compares to crossing things off your to-do list? Am I right, or am I right? Oftentimes we are drawn in by the alluring concept of becoming more, by achieving more, because we are doing more.

Somehow the deception of becoming a multitasking machine has become the normality of individuals across North America, who believe busyness and exhaustion will lead to a bounty of accomplishments and prosperity. We live under the guise that there is never too much to do or too many things to do at once. But, there is too much to do. And if you’re reading this right now, chances are you have a multiplicity of things on your proverbial plate.

Far too many of us live under the pretense that we have to burden our lives with more tasks and projects to become a productivity guru. This concept is a fallacy—you are only one person.

Release the pressure you have placed on yourself to do everything and to be everywhere for everyone.

Are you not dizzy from going back and forth from task to task?

My Life Had To Change

“Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.” Proverbs 4:25.

A few years ago I went on a soul-searching vacation to Europe with my best friends. Typical, I know. I left all of my anxiety behind in Chicago and wandered through the streets of Paris, eating croissants and drinking copious amounts of coffee. existed without stress and worry. After traveling through several countries and eating enough bread and cheese to feed a small city, I began my amazing journey home.

The moment I flew into Chicago airspace, I felt the heartbeat of the city. The heartbeat of busyoverburdened, and exhausted workaholics. The heartbeat of multitaskers trying to make tattered ends meet with the leftovers of their dilapidated energy.

Instantly I became angry with myself, thinking, “How dare you take time off when you have so many things to accomplish!” So, I reached into my bag and picked up my phone so I could draft a few emails that I could send to people the moment I landed. By the time I drafted half an email, I had my day-planner in my hand, writing things on my to-do list. So, back and forth I went from several things, trying to multitask myself into doing numerous things at once for the sake of not wanting to feel like a slacker, for the sake of wanting to feel productive.

Under the stress I put upon myself, I struggled to find a deep breath as a result of self-inflicted anxiety.

At that moment, I was unaware that I did not have to share the heartbeat of the city, but that I needed to share the heartbeat of God.

Time to Reflect

Prayer: Lord, I pray that You would help me keep my eyes fixed on You. I pray that You would reveal the areas in my life that I have self-inflicted stress, because I desire to focus on the things You are calling me to do for your kingdom. I pray that You would help keep me in perfect peace—let me feel Your heartbeat. 

Reposted from: angelaoverton.com

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

God told the prophet Jeremiah to make a wooden yoke and use it as an illustration to the people of what God was planning to do.  He told them that the Lord was going to allow Babylon to take over their country as well as many other nations around him.  If they would submit to the Babylonian rule, they would be allowed to stay in their own country.  But if they rebelled, then they would be taken captive and forced to leave their country.

In Jeremiah chapter 38, we see Jeremiah going before the king with this message.  Another prophet, claiming to have heard from the Lord, took the yoke off Jeremiah and broke it in pieces, saying that within two years they would be delivered from the oppression of Babylon.  Jeremiah responded with a new message from God in verse 13, “You have broken a wooden yoke, but you have replaced it with a yoke of iron.”

When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we come under subjection to Him.  But that yoke is so much lighter than the yoke of sin, that the world offers us.  There are many voices in the world that would tell us we are missing out on a lot of things. I have heard young people say that they want to go out and partake of the things of the world and see what it is like.  They do not realize that they are stepping away from the Lord and taking on themselves yokes of iron that will eventually destroy them.

Jesus said His yoke was easy and His burden was light.  He gives us rest and peace, something this world can never do.  It is not a hardship to bear His yoke, because He is always there for us, giving us strength and guidance.

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for the rest and peace that we find in you, a shelter from the world, and our strength and guide.

Devotion by Anne Johnston