Baskets & Burdens
A few weeks ago I had the rare opportunity for some alone time with my younger daughter. Sutton loves toddling around the house and exploring everything that eye level has to offer. I followed a few feet behind, captivated by an overwhelming love for this little one who can’t even speak.
As Sutton waddled into her room, she made her way to a basket filled with stuffed animals. She threw all of the toys on the ground, squatted down, and picked up the basket that is almost as big as she is. She then started the journey across the house to the play room, arms full and her mom in tow.
The basket proved to be quite a struggle. Carrying something so cumbersome is no easy feat for a little one. Sutton is strong for her size, but she wasn’t going to make it to her destination while carrying the object of choice. But for me to carry the basket would have been no problem at all.
That moment struck me with the realization that I, too, carry baskets that are too big for me to handle, and I’m usually left exhausted just from trying. Some of the fatigue is simply a life stage, but much of it results from carrying burdens I was never meant to carry. Problems come in all shapes and sizes, yet God never intended for us to carry them alone. He is always in tow waiting to carry the burden for us.
There are at least 2 times that Jesus offers us the invitation to lay down our burdens and find rest in him. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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.” Again in Mark 6:31b, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Jesus’ life was one event after another of meeting people’s needs. He was constantly traveling and teaching, healing and investing. His mission did not afford much down time. So how did he re-energize? He pulled away. Alone. And gave all those baskets to his Father.
My guess is that an invitation to rest strikes a desire deep within your soul as well. While genuine, this desire is likely laced with doubt, an uncertainty that real rest can be a reality. But the reality is, if Jesus offered rest, then rest is what we will find. We just have to know where to look.
We always have a choice. Both of these invitations start with, “Come.” This is a simple offer but we must choose to accept. We often try to seek rest in physical ways, but real rest does not happen apart from a choice to be with Jesus. Go with Jesus, and go with him often.
Make some time to be alone. All. Alone. This may seem like an impossibility depending on your life stage. It does for me. However, if I honestly evaluate my day I do have small windows of opportunity to be alone. I just need to wisely choose how I spend that time.
Acknowledge whose yoke you are carrying. There are certainly burdens we do not choose like the untimely death of a loved one, illness, job loss, etc. But many of our burdens are voluntarily carried. Some of the most cumbersome problems are not our battles to fight. When we feel helpless and overwhelmed by a situation, we need to take inventory to see who handed us this basket in the first place. Whether it is from ourselves or the problems of others, if it’s heavy, it’s not from Jesus. His yoke is easy and burden is light.
Be quiet. In other words, shut-up and unplug. Quiet time most days can be a reality but not with phones, TVs, iPads, music, games, and moving mouths. These distractions come fully loaded with a silent setting and on/off switch. Let’s re-introduce ourselves to the power button and the capability to close our mouths so we can plug into the real source of power.
Enjoying rest can be our reality. We just have to accept the invitation, and stop trying to toddle across the house while carrying a basket.