I wrote this back in November for my Christmas letter, so the context is a little dated at this point, but it is still a message of which I am daily reminding myself.
The holidays are coming, and with them the stress. Whether it be financial or time limitations or family relations, we struggle against the mounting anxieties that suppress the joy of “the best time of the year.”
This year, I come into the busy season with a mountain of ongoing stresses from the rest of the year to boot. The last few weeks I ran out of physical time to accomplish all my responsibilities. To remedy this, I have cut back on my sleep just to have extra minutes in the day. December is promising to be even busier, and I ask myself, “How am I ever going to do this all?” I am sure this sounds familiar to some of you as well.
I don’t know about you, but I often think through what I need to get done in the day or week ahead while I am driving. Lately, I have felt my blood pressure rise on these trips. With my long commute, I end up frustrated that I am in the car unable to act on any of my duties. One morning this past week, I had to face the reality, that in all likelihood I was going to fail to accomplish something I intended to do. I might let somebody down. A project might not result the way I ideally envisioned.
Facing my humanity and fallibility, I must turn to God. Ultimately, all that I do is his work. If it is his will for me to accomplish all that I plan, he will equip me with the ability. I have experienced the end of my limits and the release of my burdens onto Jesus. For He said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. … For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
We burden ourselves with so much. My greatest burden and stress results from my misplaced value on how well I do and how well I love others. What relief it is to lay that burden down at Jesus’ feet and instead take his yoke knowing that he already did the work. His work on the cross ultimately says I am good enough because he was and is perfect. We labor now for his glory and not our own. That is a lighter load to bear.
My second greatest burden is that I strive to make purpose or to enact God’s will in my life. Recently, I read a quote by Amy Carmichael, “It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desire that He creates.” Here again, I meet relief as I let go of the pressure to force events to happen in my life and trust to God the very things he has given me. Trusting God to be God; the God who really did create everything; the God that brought the dead to life; the God that brought salvation to humanity. I don’t give him enough credit. Letting God be God brings joy. Playing god ourselves results only in self-destroying stress.
On my daily commutes, my mind still gravitates to my mental checklist, but I am learning to push it aside in prayer—mentally breathing deep and reminding myself that I am about the Lord’s work. He will enable me to do all that he desires. I am not left to my own devices to do everything. How joyous that is!
I hope that as you come into this season you will release to God the burdens and stress you carry and truly know the joy he brings. “Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!”