The most precious--and rarest--thing to a caregiver is a period of rest. A prolonged vacation may be unattainable, so we have to settle for small pockets of time away. A coffee break, a movie afternoon, a dinner at a restaurant--these are modest but precious leaves of absence from the bedside of a loved one. I was blessed to have siblings who could step in and care for mom and dad, giving me a chance to step away. Nevertheless, these respites were also often stressful, because I always knew the clock was running out on me...like I was being given a timed breath of fresh air before being returned to a room full of smoke.
Rest is essential to caregivers, so always make an effort to step away and clear your head whenever possible. But escape is not the answer. Do you want rest for your soul? Jesus says to yoke yourself to Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
What is a yoke? A yoke is shaped wooden beam that held two oxen together when pulling a load. I used to thing a yoke was heavy, and therefore an even greater burden for each ox. But when they walked side-by-side, a yoke actually halved the load for each animal.
God doesn’t expect you to do this on your own. He knows you can’t, and so do you. But God has the solution for us. Jesus invites us to 1) take His yoke, and 2) learn from Him. When we learn from Jesus--from Scripture, from prayer, from community with fellow believers--we tap into the amazing power and fearlessness that only He can give us. Our walk will seem so much easier and safer. Have you ever walked down a dark alley by yourself? I'll bet it didn't seem quite so scary if there was someone beside you.
But there is one more thing we must do: give up control.
"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
In a waltz, a couple will trip over themselves if both partners try to lead at the same time. So too when we are yoked to Jesus. A yoke will not lighten their load if the oxen are pulling in different directions. It is prerogative to lead, and our responsibility to "keep in step" with Him. If you let Jesus set the pace and the direction of your walk, you will find the weight of your burden disappear with each step.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
"A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed."
"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”
“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." Nahum 1:7