“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30
I am reminded again and again how this walk of life with Christ is not about following a set of rules. How it is not about striving, trying to be perfect, trying to cover all our grounds, trying to know all this and learn all that, doing what we ought to do because we ought to do it…. It’s so much deeper, yet so simple. It is liturgical and yet so spontaneous, it is within an institution and yet not able to be confined, it is heartache and suffering yet joy and hope, it is valleys and mountains, and all the while, it is, it truly is, walking with him, through everything, in everything. It is knowing he walks with us.
“And more important than whether something is old or new, winsome or classic is whether it is real…whether it moves us closer to God and to our suffering neighbor. Whether it has fruit outside of our own good feelings” S. Claiborne.
I think so often I lose sight of what his yoke really is. What walking with him is really like…do I even walk with him? Or am I trying to find my own ground in the rush and busyness of life that I forget that he would so love for me to slow down a little and learn his unforced rhythms of grace.
A couple days ago I was worrying about all that encompasses this life we are living right now: a lack of routine, constantly moving and traveling, no jobs, no financial security, unknown month, no house, etc. As I was in this downward pattern of thought (because worrying truly only takes me down), while heating up my coffee in the microwave of the church kitchen with the mumbling of voices fellowshipping in the background, I had a thought, a voice saying something to me…”get away with me and I’ll show you how to take a real rest, walk with me and work with me, watch how I do it, come learn the unforced rhythms of grace”. And then my coffee exploded in the microwave and I dismissed the pleasant words and said, “screw coffee today” and went to find a seat in the sanctuary.
But a little while later, while voices were mumbling and trying to sing the new song the worship team was playing, I again started worrying about how we were going to afford this and do that, and how we were going out to eat with friends to meet and celebrate the birth of their one-month-old son and how we had twenty dollars cash that we could use but we really should be spending it on something other than eating out, etc. and again I had a thought, like a quiet voice saying, “get away with me, walk with me, trust me” So I decided to listen. And I half-heartily, and almost unwillingly decided to respond when I felt like I was suppose to give ten of the twenty dollars away, but again, I heard, “walk with me, trust me”. So we headed to the restaurant with ten dollars and met our friends and ten seconds after I sit down, a friend that I haven’t seen in years came up and gave me twenty dollars that she said she owed me.
I am not equating following his unforced rhythms of grace with getting money or everything that we want. Rather, I am learning, or re-learning to get away and follow his unforced rhythms, of how he does things, not how I would like to do them. I am learning that he will provide, although it may not come how or when I think it will.
I don’t believe that living freely and light means I won’t walk through hard times or trials…I have had my fair share of those and I know I will walk through more, but when I “get away” with him and talk with him, he is really good at putting perspective on circumstances, and…honestly, sometimes he doesn’t, but although I may not understand, I know he will not leave me and I know the more I get away with him, the more I’ll learn, both intrinsically and experientially, about how truly loving, trustworthy, and faithful he really is. I will learn how to live freely and light in the midst of trials and joys, in the midst of unknowns and knowns, in the midst of routine or no routine, in the midst of coffee and my whole world exploding and his steady voice guiding me to the unforced rhythms of his grace.