It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.
A friend recently told me, “When I saw on instagram everything you’ve been up to, I was exhausted just seeing it!” She was complimenting me, commending my ability to hustle and “get it done”.
Instagram has a way of making us all seem more put together, successful, and let’s face it, more photogenetic than we are. That said, when you put the highlight reel aside, my life is pretty full at the moment:
- Iridescent Women, a community I launched with Alex Brown last summer to awaken brilliance in young women, continues to grow and new exciting doors continue to open.
- Ben and I are passionate contributors in our local church both as elders and community group leaders. Ben also runs Visionaries, our church’s ministry for business-minded professionals. I am a part of the teaching team and oversee our series development and platform training.
- At the end of last year, I launched The 365 Plan, a Bible reading program designed to help people approach the Bible in a way that is simple and powerful- not overwhelming and sporadic.
- I continue to travel and speak at conferences, churches and events.
- I am writing a book proposal and working on a book.
- I am part of an advisory leadership board for Claim Your Campus 2020, a national gathering to inspire and equip middle school and high school students to pray for their schools.
- I write blogs, articles, and record videos to encourage, inspire and empower people to grow in their faith, maximize their potential, cultivate a deep intimacy with Jesus, and make a difference.
- I also try to keep our NYC apartment tidy, cook dinner, keep up with laundry, hang out with my girlfriends, go on date nights, and get to the gym a few times a week.
I’m not alone. Most of us have full plates. College students are holding down internships and jobs, while pulling all-nighters to prep for exams. Young moms are perpetually tired as they try to tend to their children, love their husbands, advance in their careers, and stay connected in their friendships. The executive is trying to keep the inbox empty, the project within budget, and the team hitting deadlines, all while prepping for the next board meeting or presentation.
It’s not that hard to become busy in our society. Just have a dream, start pursuing it, and before long you will be hitting the limits of your calendar, your physical energy, or your mental capacity.
I’ve been reading the book of Mark as part of The 365 Plan and have become once again in awe of how Jesus lived. He carried great weight on His shoulders- the weight of the world and all humanity! And yet, it didn’t break Him. At least it didn’t until He chose it to (for us on the cross). He was entrusted with the greatest mission for all eternity, and He somehow managed to do it with grace and strength, and yes, joy.
When haters attacked His ministry and His motives (Mark 2), Jesus didn’t stress out. When caught in a storm (Mark 3), while His disciples were panicking, Jesus was busy taking a nap. When His day got interrupted by a crowd wanting more of Him (Mark 6), He didn’t grumble and complain. He was moved with compassion, taught them, and even multiplied a small meal to feed thousands.
Jesus found a way to not only fulfill His mission, but to be at peace and joy while He did it. He carried the greatest load anyone has ever carried, while also living the greatest life ever lived.
Jesus invites us to a life of mission, but not to crush us by the weight of it’s responsibilities and demands. He calls us to something more:
28 “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. 29 Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. 30 For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”
-Matthew 11:28-30 The Passion Translation
In verse 29, Jesus is referring to the act of an ox bending its neck to a yoke that joins them to another animal. Jesus metaphorically invites us all to work not simply for Him, but with Him.
You know how I said that instagram tends to make us look more put-together than we really are? Well, while some of my friends were scrolling and praising my ability to hustle a couple weeks ago, I was balling my eyes out in my bed next to my husband. We were both shocked at the amount of tears pouring down my face. It was a cry fest that was unpolished, unfiltered, and a bit messy. Somewhere in between exciting opportunities, promising progress, extra hustle, and long nights last month, I forgot Who was with me in the work. I forgot Who was setting the pace for my life and directing my steps. I forgot Who was teaching me how to carry the burden of calling with ease and joy. My peace was hijacked by stress, and my joy was stolen by anxiety.
In between the tears birthed out of worry and exhaustion, I felt the Presence of God in my room. I began to pray. I chose to remember that Jesus is with me, and I once again bent my neck to His yoke. In that moment, for the first time in a couple weeks, I felt true peace.
My to-do list didn’t get smaller, and my schedule didn’t suddenly get cleared. I realized I didn’t need them to. The things I was working on were the things I was meant to be doing. It wasn’t the load that was breaking me; it was the way I was carrying it. I was trying to carry them without the strength of my Savior, and that’s no way to live.
May you pursue with bold faith and great hustle the things God has called you to. May you live a life of mission that makes an eternal impact in the lives of others. May you do good, and leave this world better than when you found it. But most of all, may you do it with Jesus. May you lean on Him, learn from Him, work with Him. May you know peace and joy, wisdom and strength is not beyond your reach- no matter how busy the season or great the demands. Know, dear friend, Who is by your side, and know that He is all you need.