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Burdens-How Stressed Are You?

‘Come unto me all ye that labor 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.’ Matthew 11:28-29

Stress is an uncanny condition. It can creep up upon us quite unsuspectingly.

Perhaps you may be a person that doesn’t consider themselves to be the stressful type. Generally speaking, you may have a quiet inner sanctum that is not easily disturbed. Stress seems to be outside of you rather than within. Ripples of concern may arise, but for the most part you are not perturbed by the tossing and turbulent waves of worry. Stress is around you, but not a condition that affects you.

But don’t be misled. Even the stress of others will, over time, begin to seep into our soul. Jesus gave all of us, whether we live with stress or not, to come away to a quiet place and be alone with Him. This may present itself in any way. It doesn’t have to be a day out on a quiet island or in solitude in the forests of a National Park, as the following experience will prove.

Unwittingly, without premeditated warning, I found myself being whisked off in an ambulance to the local hospital a short time ago, whilst caring for my mother and organizing arrangements for my father’s funeral. The physical symptoms were problematic and could not be ignored. To reduce the discomfort and angst that my condition was causing my mother, spending some time in hospital and addressing my symptoms seemed the best place to be.

God works in all our situations, for the very best and often to teach us an important lesson. A day flat on my back in the short-term ward of a hospital did not seem like my idea of answering Jesus’ invitation to come away and be with Him! But it was. And He knew, just what was needed. Though I felt as if I was ‘handling’ the death of my father and the myriad of arrangements that needed to be made in the following days, clearly, I was not. The anxiety, emotion and grief of everyone else who are intricately part of our lives, will build up within us, escalating our own stress level. When we love others, we will naturally carry what they are carrying too. Love is caring and sharing, and eventually, that will add to our own stress level.

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

If you have a pastoral heart that loves to listen, pray and help carry one another’s burdens, as Scripture exhorts us to do, be aware of your own stress level that may begin to escalate over time. I needed to have time away, by being removed from the stressful situation to relax, realign my focus and remember that Jesus is my Savior, Provider and Friend. As the medical personnel fussed and did their regular procedures around me, I could sleep, pray and give thanks for the goodness and wisdom of God. No National Park to enjoy the beauty of nature. No seaside waves to soothe my soul. Just the buzzing of alarms, scramble of staff and the discomfort of a narrow hospital bed. But that was all I needed to readjust my mind and soul and be refreshed in Jesus’ presence.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Soul care is not selfish. It is essential. Jesus commands it and that should be all we need to obey. Depending upon our circumstances, a time away for refreshing may look different for each. Don’t wait until you have the right place. God, in His wisdom will provide the situation needed for a rest, and as I learnt, it may not be what you had envisaged!

‘Heavenly Father, thank You for the simple instruction that Jesus gave to His disciples. To find a place to come away and enjoy His presence. Father, you have wisely ordained that we have times of rest and refreshing with You, so that we can continue to carry the burdens of others and be there in our best state to love them. Help me to heed Your call. Amen.’

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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2 comments

  1. Jennifer,
    You are amazing and so filled with love for the LORD – He is sustaining and maintaining and providing you in all you do. Your recent loss of your beloved Dad – is a traumatic time – but God is always holding you up, as you can testify and be witness of His light that shines in you.

    Thank you for sharing this, I’m sure it will resonate with many!

    God bless you my friend~

  2. Though we have faith we are still weaker than we comprehend as our humanity is revealed through events that we don’t anticipate when multiple things swarm our minds and can throw us off balance.
    Praise the Lord that He is not taken by any surprises but is always in control over His creation.with all power and He prepares the solution for our needs as we look to Him instead of us trying to fix the situations confronting us.
    When my husband was diagnosed with a disease in 1989 by four doctors concluding that he would most likely die in 6 months, we had no plans for a funeral in a short space but we both were at peace no matter what was to come about, we knew He would see us through this turbulent time.
    It was so unexplainable as the Lord gave us perfect peace and trusting in Him was like a calm after a storm of unwelcome words.
    Now 35 years later, we both are elderly and death is inevitable unless the Lord returns first So no matter the difficulty He is our solid Rock!
    I appreciate your article. There is no shame in those moments but you have a clear message to help others when hard times come our way and the answer is knowing that God is our help and He will provide when we place ourselves in His hands.
    Saddened that your family has much sorrow with your father’s passing but it is not for good. That is where our peace and rejoicing comes in as it is only a temporary separation, hallelujah, Amen

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