Living Freely and Lightly

Focus 40  Day 35

“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.”
—Matthew 11:28–30 MSG

As wife, mother, grandmother, Sunday school teacher, and attorney, I often find myself pulled in
many directions of service. Sometimes, I become weary, worn out and burned out. Jesus certainly
knew all about being tired, burdened, sad, and overwhelmed with the needs of his family, his close
friends, and the multitudes of sick and hurting people who clamored for his attention. However,
Jesus knew when it was time to withdraw, to go away to be alone with his Father, God. The disciples
watched Jesus do this “withdrawing to pray” many times, but they did not understand why or the
benefit of doing this for themselves. Later, the disciples would simply ask Jesus to “teach them to
pray” not “teach them how to pray or the words to say”.

So, prayer is the door to a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Father. Most of the time we
wait until we are tired, worn out, or burned out before we withdraw to pray. Jesus knew that tired,
worn out, or burned out Kingdom workers are not effective workers, and more often than not, they
do more harm than good. In Matthew 11:17, Jesus gave the answer to how we can remain effective
in our relationships, in our service and in our worship.

One, get away from the crowds, alone with Jesus, and your life will be recovered through
rest. Two, walk and work with Jesus, not for Jesus, watching how he works. Three, learn to move,
to flow, with the unforced rhythms of grace. When we recognize we are pushing too hard to make
something happen, talking too much to convince people of our plans, and running ahead instead of
waiting on the Lord, we are trying to force grace. That never works. God’s grace is unforced. There
is a rhythm and a reason for the pauses as much as for the advances. Four, spending time in prayer,
depending totally upon God for all our needs, equals living freely and lightly, without a lot of
baggage weighing us down. Five, pray for joy, both in yourself and others—especially servants of
the Lord. “If you lose your joy in your religion, you will be a poor worker: you cannot bear strong
testimony, you cannot bear stern trial, you cannot lead a powerful life. In proportion as you maintain
your joy, you will be strong in the Lord, and for the Lord.”

Jesus, I long to be still, to feel your presence, to live within the unforced rhythms of grace. I am tired of being tired,
frustrated with being worn out because I have taken on too much, sick of religion that has become a production. I long
for time to sit and talk and listen at your feet. Help me free myself from obligations or participation in events which I
do not even enjoy. Teach me to live freely, without worrying. Enable me to lay aside any emotional baggage that wears
me out so I can focus on you and be what you want me to be.

– Mary Bruce Fuller, Attorney, Florence, Mississippi

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