Jesus said: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke is kind and its burden is small.”
Notes for Contemplation as You Use this Devotional:
- This passage, from the Gospel Writer called Matthew, is part of a conversation on the nature of wisdom. It invites us to learn from Jesus’s wisdom and be a true disciple.
- Jesus invites us to do as he does, following God’s will and God’s way because it ultimately is easier and less complicated than our own. Though following Jesus’s call may be difficult initially, its simplicity makes it more rewarding.
- Just as we do now, people in Jesus’s time felt their own levels of stress and uncertainty. So discerning our lives as Jesus recommends doesn’t mean that everything will always be easy and comfortable. Rather it offers freedom from complexity and the opportunity to decide what is sufficient for us.
- Being unburdened means being free of great difficulties and complications.
- Simplicity, by definition, denotes an element of peace, although simplifying our lives or circumstances is not always a peaceful process. When we simplify, we release any burdens which hinder our peace of mind.
- As we do our soulwork and discern what is best for us, remaining faithful may seem complicated, though it becomes simple when we trust in divine outcomes that we cannot always see or anticipate.
- When I contemplate my life now, in what ways do I feel burdened?
- Consider all aspects of your life: emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual.
- Create a category for each aspect, and list, word map, or illustrate whatever applies. Imagine this exercise as a brain dump. Don’t analyze anything on the list; just lay down the burden.
- When I contemplate my life now, in what ways am I overwhelmed or overloaded?
- Again, consider all aspects of your life: emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual.
- Create a category for each aspect, and list, word map, or illustrate whatever applies. Continue the brain dump without any analysis.
- When I contemplate my life now, in what ways am I overcommitted or overextended?
- Once more, consider all aspects of your life: emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual.
- Create a category for each aspect, and list, word map, or illustrate whatever applies. One more time, let yourself do the brain dump without any analysis.
- When I breathe deeply and sit quietly with everything I have dumped, what immediately pops out or grabs my attention?
- Circle, highlight, or decorate whatever you notice. Avoid overthinking or justifying this. Just notice.
- When I contemplate my life being simpler, what do I imagine?
- Without any analysis or justification, freely list, word map, or illustrate everything you can imagine. Let yourself want what you want.
- As I embrace my imaginings, what time and energy consumed by burdens could I use for what is most fulfilling and meaningful?
- List, word map, or illustrate whatever you can imagine.
- As I contemplate all my answers, what am I ready and willing to:
- List, word map, or illustrate as much as you can. Let it include everything from committee assignments, to paying off debts, to cancelling gym memberships, to leaving toxic relationships, to clearing overflowing closets.
- Who is at least one (1) family member, friend, or colleague who will be my trusted accountability partner, supporting and encouraging me as I simplify my life?
- Note who they are.
- Then note everything you are willing to do to stay connected with them as your discernment process unfolds.
As you work with this devotional, stay attuned to your body, one of our discernment barometers. Many of us carry our burdens somewhere in our bodies, so notice the weight of a clenched jaw, upset stomach, or aching head, as well as the joy of a big grin, tapping toes, and relaxed shoulders.
For some of us, merely laying down a burden is exhausting and we may need time to rest and catch our breath before we re-align. So, honor yourself with that time. Also remember that you made the best choices you could at a particular time, and now you are choosing differently. Celebrate both what you learned in the past and what you are doing differently now as you discover the best ways to live a simpler, peaceful, more fulfilling life.
© 2021 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved.