Just Yoke It

Alright friends, we are officially on day 3 of this devotion, so I think it’s fair if I ask: how are you really doing? How’s school? How are your forced family fun times? I can imagine that while this has been a restful time, stress has also started creeping in there too. There are a bunch of reasons why you might be stressed, and they are valid! But it begs the question: what do we do with this stress?

I know I’ve found myself counting down the days until Animal Crossing comes out on the Switch (Huzzah! It comes on the day you read this). As well as trying to throw myself into new books, but I can’t help but still feel a bit overwhelmed. So I finally decided to do what I should’ve done from the start: see what Scripture has to say about stress.

It’s a good thing Jesus talks about just what to do if we feel like this! In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us to “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.” How good is that?

Jesus invites us to come to Him for rest, but let’s not misunderstand this offer here. When we ask the Lord to take away our stresses and sorrows, we in a sense dump all of those things and expect to be changed immediately. While I wish that’s how it worked, those worries are still with us, even after we place them at the foot of the cross where the Lord invites us to place them.

Jesus’ invitation is not just to dump and run then, it is an invitation to share the yoke so you can walk with Him and navigate those hardships. The Lord does not want just your burdens, He wants you! The yoke is a symbol of discipleship in obedience to Him. So while the Lord does want us to feel a sense of relief from these burdens, He also longs for us to draw in closer to Him, trusting that He is sovereign over all. So when we take up His offer to share the yolk, He starts transforming us so we won’t return to our old ways, however we try to avoid or delegate stress in our lives.

Learning to know and understand the Lord is the beginning of the process of lightening your load. While the stress is not necessarily removed entirely, but giving this to the Lord changes our thoughts and responses to that stress as we begin to love and trust Him more. As the weight from stress moves from our shoulders to His, we discover relief even if our current circumstance has not changed.

Being yoked with the Lord fosters rest for your soul. Our current situation is unknown right now. The joy is, if you are yoked with Jesus, your soul can start the freeing process from anxieties and peace will rule in your heart rather than fear. Now is the perfect time to begin this process because you have nothing to lose but so, so much to gain. I encourage you all to surrender everything to the one who loves you most to experience the freedom that His love provides. – Katie Hufnagle

Journal Guide: Take some time to get alone today and take about 15-20 minutes to journal through these questions. Journaling is a way we pray to God, so see what God might be telling you.
1. Take an inventory on your soul: are you feeling tired? Managing? Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling.
2. What has been your favorite memory over the last week?
3. What is one feeling you would be willing to surrender to the Lord today?
4. Take some time and write a prayer response to God.

Conversation Guide: Ask three questions to your siblings and parents. We think doing it over the dinner table or right after dinner is a great time to do it.
1. What have your highs and lows been this week?
2. How can I best pray for you in the coming days?
3. When we are stressed, how we try to get rid of it?

Prayer: Read Matthew 11 and then read this prayer by yourself:
Dear God, you know my heart more than anyone else. Please show me areas of my life that are producing the most stress and help me begin the process of surrendering those things to you. You reign over all and I desire to feel the freedom and peace that only you can provide. You are good in all ways and are working out my present circumstances for the good of your Kingdom. Help me experience that today. I love you. Amen.