Give yourself a break.
Amongst the most attractive words of Jesus are the following: ‘Come to me all you who are heavily burdened and I will give you rest.’ Few reading this would not feel over-burdened. It seems to be the nature of our society: run, run, run…achieve, achieve, achieve. How we want a break, a rest from it! So how do we get it? Jesus goes on, ‘Shoulder my yoke and learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart.’ ‘Shoulder my yoke…’ he says – not the myriad of things that burden us. When I stop and think of it, I wonder how many of our burdens are of our own making, or rather come from taking on the expectations of others. How many things do we do because we are fearful that other people might think less of us! The only thing worse than other people’s expectations on us are our own. Some of us are very hard task masters.
But if I stop and ask, ‘What is the yoke Jesus wants me to bear?’ everything shifts. I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations, not even my own. I just have to accept the unique gift of myself that God is giving me and fulfil the destiny involved in that. So what does this usually entail for us? The very roles we already have: being a parent, a friend, a son, a daughter, a workmate. Of course there will be challenges in loving and serving. (This call has come, after all, from the same Jesus who calls us to carry our cross.) But these will be challenges that bring life, not a sense of being over-burdened.
Loving Father, let me be the unique person you have called me to be. Let me live, love and serve in the special way you want from me. Let Jesus be with me as I take up this yoke and may his kind and gentle heart transform my own. I ask this in his name confident that you will hear me.
Sr Kym Harris osb