Saturday, December 04, 2010

Unforced rhythms of grace

My pastor pointed out Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-30 to me yesterday, verses that have given me great encouragement in the past. The NIV version reads:
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.”

How often I've felt burdened and stressed and needed that kind of rest! So encouraging that Jesus promised us a yoke that is easy to bear. These words help me so much to want to follow Jesus - to do as He did; to live as He did - as much as I can. These words are comforting and give me a feeling of peace. They promise that I can follow Jesus without stress. Not like I have been doing lately - the kind of stress that burned me out and caused such depression.

Eugene Peterson's version in the Message has an even greater impact on me:
28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Yes. I've been tired and worn out. Burned out. I want to recover my life, to get my passion and energy back. And all I have to do is to walk with Jesus and live the way He did. Actually, not such an easy thing to do. But there's a promise here that a better way to live can be learned. Jesus promises not to lay anything on me that is too heavy or ill-fitting. How comforting to know that!

God has equipped me to do a work for Him that only people like me, those who have lived with mood disorders can do well. And that's to comfort others who suffer as I do. That kind of work is not heavy for me. It fits me well. But I need to walk close to God. I need to keep company with Jesus.

Unfortunately, my bipolar disorder causes me to have moods that make all this hard to do. During episodes I start feeling and thinking in ways that I truly cannot help. I'm so thankful though to have friends who will help remind me of the way God wants me to live. Friends who will help kick me out of depression by reminding me that I'm loved. Friends who will help me regain proper perspective. This kind of support is priceless.


Hellen said...

I just wrote about this very thing on my blog:

Also, have you ever noticed how much what you eat and drink affects mood as well? There is a site that explains this well and has a plan laid out in dealing with this.

marja said...

Thank you so much for visiting, Hellen. I so enjoyed how you wrote on the topic. You went a lot deeper than I could have.