“We have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If only we could slip over into that Center!” – Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion (1941)
This quotation may have been written 65 years ago, but it describes how I feel often, almost daily. I know that it could be simpler, that there could be a calm place in my life, but I’m just so busy with the day to day that I never bother to look for that peace.
I’ve just started a book that tackles this very issue. The next few posts I write will be about what I learn as I read through Keri Wyatt Kent’s book Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life. I will be blogging as I read, so these posts may seem a bit stream of conscious, and will most likely be full of first impressions. I may post later about my posts if I receive anything different after reflection. And I HIGHLY encourage readers to comment – I would love some discussion on here, whether that be you be contributing your own opinions or questioning mine.
“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.” Matthew 11:28-30
4 pages into this book I’m already discovering new things. This is a passage I have heard so many times, and have always thought that this was a difficult task. In all honesty, I wasn’t really 100% sure what this yoke was, but I knew that if it was Christ’s yoke, then it must be something really difficult and hard. Yet this book points out something that makes a lot of sense – as a teacher, Jesus told his followers how to interpret the Scriptures. So in a sense, Jesus’s yoke was to explain how we are to love our neighbors and honor our parents, etc. That’s why the disciples were always asking Jesus to clarify the Scriptures, asking things like what the most important commandment was; they were trying to determine what Jesus’s yoke was.
Now, while I’m sure there’s more to this passage than just this (and I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments), this makes a lot of sense. When Jesus calls us to take up his easy yoke, he’s simply asking us to model our life after him. Note how I’m not saying that modeling our lives after Christ is simple – far from it. I’ve always thought that I should be working towards modeling my life after Christ, but when I look at that as the yoke, it makes the whole think so less daunting. There isn’t some great, powerful thing that I’m supposed to be trying to do; I’m not supposed to be carrying a difficult, heavy weight. For some reason, this definition of the yoke makes it seem like something I can actually work towards.
And if I think I can, then I am much more willing to do it.
The first chapter of Kent’s book addresses “hurried and worried.” There are some facts that she gives about health and relational issues that correlate directly our levels of overcommitment (women, check out this site). In our society, multitasking is praised. As a college student, I’m in the middle of a world where people brag about just how last minute they were on finishing their assignments and how long they were stuck studying, rehearsing for a play, or practicing a sport. And I’m most certainly one of the worst when it comes to these things. And it just continues after college. People in the corporate world complain about 100 hour work weeks, mothers complain about all the children’s activities and church socials . . . it seems as though we’re rushing and rushing to try to get to the end. But what’s at the end? What is it that we’re rushing to?
It is in this time that we need Jesus the most. As Kent points out, “he does not say, ‘Come to me, all you who are perfect and have no problems’ . . . We don’t have to pull ourselves together. He meets us in the midst of our weariness, in our place of weakness.”
A question that Kent poses to her readers and I now pose to you: “Has hurry become normal for you? How is this affecting you emotionally, relationally, physically, spiritually?” I will be posting my answers in my next post, and I challenge you to post yours in the comments.