Jesus said, “If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
I grew up with what has been described as the Protestant work ethic where being busy was high on the list of commendable behaviours. I’m not good at letting go of imagined desperately important tasks and work best with an often punishingly tight time schedule. As a result, I feel myself becoming more like Martha than Mary. You can read their story in Luke 10 where Jesus commends Mary for taking time out to sit and listen to Him instead of helping her sister Mary in her driven pursuit of domestic perfection. Lisa Debney has written about learning to let go of this self-inflicted carrying of heavy burdens in The God of Lost Property (Bare Feet and Buttercups, Wild Goose Fellowship).
“Please remember to take with you all your items of luggage and all personal belongings – all newspapers, umbrellas, bad habits, guilty secrets, feelings of worthlessness, frustration, fears and resentments… We do hope that you have enjoyed travelling with us and that you continue to have a pleasant journey.”
Dutifully, I gather my baggage. I have lost nothing, I have left nothing, I am doing well. I have no hands free to open doors, greet, hug, embrace or wave, but I carry on, proud of my ability to maintain so much stuff without losing it. And out into the roar of the crowd I walk, my sole objective to get from A to B without dropping anything.
In my blinkered determination I am painfully aware that I can’t hold on to all these wretched things for much longer. In head-down hurry I rush on, unseeing until the moment of our inevitable collision. Like hitting a rock or a wall. Shock waves send my luggage flying – bags bursting open as they hit the floor, scattering the contents of my life across the pavement. I look up in a fury of embarrassment, confronting You face-to-face. I am met by Your gaze of infinite calm and patience. I want to kick Your shins.
“You look as if you have your hands full,” You say. “It is my property,” I say, “You made me drop it.” “I know,” You say. “It looks heavy. Why not leave it here?” “But I need it”, I say. “Do you?” You ask, “Really?” I want to gather it all to my chest. I feel naked, vulnerable standing there without it. I am not quite myself. I go to pick it all up again. But, I cannot, I am too tired.
“Will You look after it?” I ask. “I will take care of it,” You answer. “Go on – I dare you. Leave it here with me. I promise it will be in good hands.”
I hesitate, I move forwards, light-headed but also suddenly light-hearted. I walk onwards, I swing my arms, I stride. It is so easy, so free and easy. I glance back and all is gone. I look forwards and all is before me. My property is lost and I am found.”
When we begin to let go of the world’s busyness and find freedom in Jesus we become lighter in spirit and in mood. “Follow Me”, invites Jesus, and “don’t look back”.
God bless you as we journey on together.