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Monday, May 10, 2010

Rest for the Weary

Most people are very tired. They have struggled to get ahead. They have achieved some things. They are worried they will lose these things. They are working harder than ever to protect what they have earned. They worry while living one day at a time. It's wearing them out.

There are two extremes which must be avoided. No one should expect everyone else to come to their rescue nor should they expect others to bail them out when they get into trouble. No one should expect others to provide when they won't do anything to provide for themselves. Making excuses of why you can't do things is just as irresponsible. I have heard people tell me why they couldn't go to college or play sports or become actors, writers or musicians. Those reasons never seem to include "I didn't try" or "I wasn't good enough." They make excuses like ,"I had to go to work and couldn't go to college." Come on, lots of people went to work and to college at the same time. No, it wasn't as easy but they still did it. So, these people with excuses which they believe expect others to take care of them. People are dishonest with themselves and those around them when they expect others to take care of them.

The other extreme is thinking that the whole universe rests in your hands. This is believing that you must worry about these things and must work without any rest if you are going to provide and protect for yourself and your family. This will make you extremely tired.

The mother who worries about her children at school, on the bus, in sports and even spending overnighters with friends is always going to be tired. She decides to worry when she can't be with them constantly. It is actually more constant than the work she would do to provide and protect them in her presence.

The man who works incessantly due to his fears of losing his job, not getting ahead fast enough or making more money than he has before becomes very tired. He also believes his world is in his hands. He works even harder as the economy goes haywire. He believes he can change his world if he only knows the secrets to things that others are missing. This is why there are so many ads telling people how they can get ahead if they will follow a simple plan. "You, too, can make money like I did!" , the ad claims. An 800 number is given and many fall into the trap. The universe is not in your hands. Holding the world on your shoulders will only make you extremely tired. There are too many factors you cannot control.

The answer to this problem is found in doing what is reasonable. It is not reasonable to do nothing. If you do nothing, you should expect nothing. It is not reasonable to think you can do everything. There is always something else that can be done. You will never sleep and never rest if you try to do everything.

What is reasonable? Who determines what reasonable is? When do I know I have done what I should and need to leave what's left over alone? At some point you must believe that there is a God of the universe who will handle what you can't handle. You must turn it over to Him or you will find yourself surrendering to irresponsibility or trying to carry the world on your shoulders.

The first step is to admit that you can't do it all. That is a huge step for some people. They have carried the world for so long that they don't know how to put it down. They feel as if the world will stop if they quit trying to do everything.

Then, say it out loud, "I can't do it all." That verbal admission should give you peace when you know there is Someone who can do it all. You can't single-handedly manipulate the stock market. You can't make the economy better. You can't make the businesses which support your business make all the right decisions so that your business will flourish. You can't do it all.

Admit that He can and will do that which you can't. The God that loves you with an everlasting love is not trying to hurt you now. He may let your business fail because He has something better for you but He won't ultimately hurt you. So, it is reasonable to turn those worries over to Him.

Once you have done these things you are ready to know what your reasonable part is. It is not reasonable to work so much that you are not able to enjoy the things you have worked for. It is not reasonable to lose your family for the sake of success. It is reasonable to stop and go home when you have worked a full day. It is reasonable to commit that which you can't reasonably do to Him who loves you without measure.

And if you don't? You will eventually be dishonest or very, very tired.

Matthew 11:28 (ESV)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

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