“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
Picture this. You are at your favorite coffee shop. It has big windows, and there is a lot of light shining in. Music that speaks to you is playing over the speakers, and there across the table sitting with you is Jesus. You are trying to small talk with Jesus as we often do. He stops you, places His hand on yours, and asks “Are you tired? How you feeling?” How do you respond?
I think I would break down in tears, because it’s Jesus and He does that to me, and I would simply say through all of the tears, “I am. I am so tired.” The really great thing about Jesus is we can respond that simply, and He will understand the depths of what we are saying. We don’t need lots of words, special prayers, or passionate pleas, all we need are simple words and a genuine desire to be open and seen by Him.
Here is the deal. In this verse from Matthew 11, Jesus is asking us if we are tired. He is giving us an open door to be honest about the state of our heart, our body, our mind, and our spirit. This is not a hypothetical question happening in a scenario I made up about a coffee shop. This is a genuine invitation from Jesus to get real with Him.
So how do you respond? Are you tired? Of course you are. Everyone is tired in one way or another. This life is hard, we are constantly be accused by our enemy, and we are always comparing ourselves to an impossible standard. You are tired. I’m tired. Our barista is tired, and that girl with the crying toddler at Target is for sure tired. We are all tired, and Jesus wants to know about it. So let’s answer the question He has asked us and see what happens next.
What happens when we answer this question? Well, let’s look a little further in the verse. Jesus says, “Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” YOU GUYS! These two sentences changed the entire way I live my life. His response to our weary state is not to reprimand us, slap us on the wrist, or to get angry, but to teach us how to live in sweet, gentle, and tender unforced rhythms of grace. How good is that?
When we come to Him with vulnerability and honesty, He sees us. As we spend time with Him, He teaches us how to live in the freedom of grace. He teaches not how to check religious rituals off our list but to walk in the sweet rhythms of relationship with Him. He speaks against the lies we believe as we compare ourselves to those around us; He teaches us how to sow our time; and He multiplies what little we offer to Him to accomplish so much more than we could dream of.
What Jesus has to offer is an extraordinary, above and beyond gift but this only happens if we first come to Him. Here are a few things He has taught me as I have intentionally shown up to learn how to live in the promised, unforced rhythms of grace. I can’t show up with my laundry list of needs, my agenda, or my pride. I have to show up completely free of pretense, sincere, and willing to walk out whatever He might speak to me. I have to show up in humility, completely honest about my desperate need for Him to heal me, teach me, and lead me into a place of abundant life.
When I come to Jesus ready to just follow Him wherever He wants to take me, I find that He takes care of my laundry list of needs, my time is somehow magically multiplied, and I live a fuller life instead of merely tolerating the circumstances I’ve been placed in. I find rest for my dry bones, my weary soul, and my dull mind. I am renewed in unforced rhythms of grace.
Let’s go back to the coffee shop. You are sitting and talking to Jesus, and He sweetly and tenderly asks you, “Baby… Be honest with me… Are you tired?” How do you respond?
Make sure to share in the comments your about your journey to living in unforced rhythms of grace.
Mindy Stewart, LeadHer Teaching Team Member