Two weeks ago, we moved.
As the member of our household without a job, packing (and cleaning) became my primary responsibility. I took that on like my job. When moving day rolled around, Dan and I started bright and early - and kept on going until late in the evening. To say that I was exhausted by day's end would be an understatement. The next day started bright and early again with both of us running around to various places. To top it off, the air conditioner in our new place needed charging, so our house didn't start cooling down until the afternoon of Day 2.
By mid-afternoon, I was tired, cranky, irritable...and unwilling to stop. I felt this obligation to just keep doing. This sense of duty to keep doing and going compounded my irritability. I really just wanted to stop and rest - but felt compelled to keep pushing.
I know that I am not alone in this sense of obligation and compulsion. As women, I think we derive from this feeling a sense of worthiness, almost. If I can just keep doing, that will really prove how dedicated, good of a wife, hard-working (fill in the blank) I am. In fact, I was such a good wife that I couldn't say a nice, edifying thing to my husband.
I knew by the growing knot in my stomach that I needed to sit and be still before the Lord. The question was, would I do it? Would I overcome that false sense of duty to do - and submit to my obligation to be?
I did. I picked up my daily devotional and found that Matthew 11:25-30 had been the Gospel reading for Friday.
"Come to me, all you who work hard and who carry heavy burdens and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is good and my burden is light."
This familiar passage spoke new life into my heart. First I noticed the contrast between myself and my Lord: for I am mean and proud of heart, my yoke is selfish and my burden is to be right. Yet Jesus is gentle, humble of heart and his work is to do good and be light. Oh, to be like Him! To give up my need for justification and being right and in turn, find rest!
In the translations most familiar to me, Jesus' yoke is described as easy. This seems to be a major contradiction as walking and living like Jesus is anything but easy! We fight against our nature to be right, to be justified, to win. What struck me, then, was his description of his yoke.
When a yoke is used - it's used to do work. What is Jesus' task for us, then, but to do good? If I contrast His nature with mine, then to do good would be to do what is in the best interest of another - even over myself. By nature, I am a reactor. To me, doing good requires one to be proactive - to be on the look-out for ways to elevate another above oneself - in short, to love them through service.
When I think of a burden, it is something that must be carried. Jesus' burden is to carry light. In other words, to bring light into a darkened place. How does one carry light? To me, that would be maintaining hope, faith, trust and belief. How do we maintain such hope and faith? Through prayer, meditation, time in the word, in fellowship with others, and doing good. Doing good and being light looks like encouraging and spurring on others to respond in faith, hope, love and trust to each other and their circumstances.
I may be taking artistic license with the word of God, but in this meditation, I found the antidote for myself and the prescription for my marriage & life: Do Good & Be Light.