Growing up my value system was unknowingly ruled by 3 main things, 3 ways I managed life in order to know that I was OK.
Reputation. I was a hard worker, not for the sake of achievement or because I valued excellence really, but because I valued being thought well of. I was driven by reputation.
Relationship. I felt good about myself because of who my friends were. And I was a good and caring friend – sometimes at the expense of my own needs, and in spite of my better judgment. I was a good and caring friend so that people would like me. Because I needed them to be my friend, I needed them to like me, I needed to be needed.
Responsibility. As the oldest child in a split and blended family, I felt responsible for everyone. I was aware that the younger ones were watching, that I was expected to be a good influence. I was always aware of my responsibility. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I see: I thought I could overcome the hurt and pain and unpredictability in our family for myself, my siblings, even my parents, by the power of my own responsibility and reliability. W
This was my value system, my way of managing life and being OK: Reputation, Relationship and Responsibility (and I was much better at being responsible for others than I was for myself.) That is how I was OK in the world.
Then, halfway through college, I met Jesus. I fell head over heels in love with Him. He filled up empty spaces I didn’t even know I had.
For years, this is how I shared my story: Before Jesus, I found safety, security, LIFE in relationships & reputation. But then I met Jesus and learned to find safety, security, life in Him.
I had been a Christian and telling this story for over 10 years before I realized it was a lie.
Jesus WAS (and IS) my source of life. He gave His life for me and (more importantly) TO me, He gave Himself fully and freely and I am ALIVE.
But in many ways, all those things I did to find security and life?
Working hard to succeed and get it right? Sacrificing myself for relationships in healthy and (often) unhealthy ways? Feeling responsible for everything and everyone?
I was still doing those things – I was just doing them for Jesus now. I was working hard FOR Him. I was still driven by reputation, it was just that now the reputation I wanted was that of “good Christian girl.” My trust in Jesus for my own and others’ lives never outweighed my own feeling of responsibility.
I had come to Jesus – and I was learning from Him. But I hadn’t really found rest.
I had come to Jesus and was learning from Him. But I was still living life out of the old ways, my same old “Yoke.”
It is easy to do that isn’t it? To believe Jesus, but keep living out of our old scripts and patterns?
Do you relate?
If so, the truth is Matthew 11:28-30 is GOOD NEWS.
“Come to Me, (JESUS SAYS) all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.” (Matthew 11)
It is so easy to come to Jesus and stamp His name on our old patterns and habits and ways of being OK in the world. And then wonder why we are exhausted.
Jesus invites us to something new. As we tell our stories and listen to others’, it can seem like this is magic and instantaneous and amazing. And it is. Except when it isn’t.
We have come to a God who promised Rest. But I look around at the church in America, at my own life and I wonder: Where is this promised Rest? Could it be that we’re doing it wrong? That even we, the people of God, need to come to Jesus and LEARN?
“Come to Me,” Jesus says, and LEARN. Come to Me, Jesus calls, and learn a new way. Let go of the hustle and the work and the expectation of it all. Live your life with Me and experience a new way of being OK in the world.
I’m saying a big YES to that invitation, how about you?
Over the next few weeks, I’m sharing my own lessons and thoughts from a Bible study I wrote with my friend Stacey and did with a group of (amazing) women last Fall. This 8 week study, The Call of Jesus, is available for free here and by clicking the “Free Bible Studies and Resources” link in my blog header. If you’re looking for a Bible study to do yourself or with friends this Fall, I hope you’ll check it out!