I’ve been there again this week, in that place where I feel weary and small and slow, not enough for what I think life is asking of me. Not able to pick up the piles, write the next paragraph, figure out the book structure. And finding it hard, in some of those hours, to move out of frustration into rest.
Here are a few things I need to return to in those times in order to rest. I’m writing them out—a reminder for myself. And for you, if you need it.
The first thing
First and always, this one thing. The open-armed welcome to come, again and again and again, just as I am. The promise that rest is found here (and only here), as I’m held in the love of the one who calls me to come.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
The one who welcomes us to come weary is one who knows weariness in his bones. He has paused his journey to sit on a well while his followers went for lunch, fallen asleep in a boat while his friends rowed, asked to borrow another boat—even after the fishermen had been working all night—so he could back out of the crowd and sit down while he taught. He has lived in human skin, felt bone-deep weariness and all the emotions that go along with it. He knows.
Seen with compassion
Jesus’ Father (and ours!) feels the same way Jesus does about us in our weariness. Our human limitations and frailty don’t arouse in him condemnation but compassion.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103: 13-14)
Thanks be to God.
The Spirit, too, sees us with compassion, coming alongside to help us when we’re too weary even to know how to pray.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)
And because of all this?
First, we are safe here, enfolded in the gentle compassion of this Trinity who encircles us with love. Pause with me and hear that again. We are safe here. Encircled and enfolded in gentle, compassionate love.
And, second, we can lay down a big burden. The weight of the world doesn’t rest on our shoulders. We don’t have to be enough to keep it all running. He is enough. The responsibility (and authority, and ability) to keep the world running rests on His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6).
Or, to say it another way, we are enough for our small role in the world because God’s plan doesn’t depend on our strength but on His strength and mercy and grace. He simply invites us to open to all that He is.
And our weakness? It just might be our greatest strength. The weaker we are, the greater opportunity we have to lean hard into him, to let Him be strong—and gracious, and gentle, and beautiful—in us.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
Rest with me, friend, here in this place where we’re known, and loved, and welcomed, just as we are?
P.S. If you want a little more help soaking in Jesus’ invitation to come and rest, you might enjoy my five-day email mini-retreat, An Invitation to Rest. You can find it here.
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Thanks Carolyn, this came through for me at the right moment in time.
I have been very weary over this last while and your post helped me to breath a little easier and to soak up the beautiful words and scripture.
I’m so glad it was helpful, Klara. Much grace to you in this time!
Today! This is what I needed for my overwhelming lupus fatigue and it came graciously from the Father through your hand. Bless you Caroline……from Janice Cox
Thanks for your note, Janice. Isn’t it lovely how God knows what we need and finds ways to encourage us along our journey? I’m grateful that these few words offered out of my own weakness could be part of that encouragement for you this time. Much grace to you in these days!
Very timely and most appreciated. It is so reassuring to know that He is always there for us.
Yes, isn’t it wonderful to know that God is always there for us?!
Thank you so much for sharing Caroline. I really needed this. I can’t thank you enough for the reminder that God is always there and waiting for us to come to Him. For any and everything. All our pain and burdens we are going through. We have an awesome God. Amen.
I’m so glad it was helpful, Joy. Much grace to you in all that this stretch of the journey holds!