Have you ever wanted to go to sleep more than you want Andy Dalton to throw a touchdown pass in the playoffs, but you just can’t (I’m a Bengals fan. It comes with the territory)? One of those times that your body’s telling you “yes,” but your mind’s telling you “no,” which is the exact opposite of R. Kelly’s most famous lyrics? I experienced one of those times the other night. Truth is, I was so desperate for energy earlier in the day that I downed a couple Monsters back-to-back, and then maybe I also had a Mountain Dew Code Red right before my scheduled bedtime, which is beside the point.
I’ve been tracking my caffeine intake with the UP Coffee app. Apparently it’s not helping me control my caffeine consumption. Probably because I’m so fascinated with watching the “add caffeine” animation.
Every one of us has experienced more than a few nights like this, although my reason for experiencing my most recent sleepless night could be very different from yours. The point is that everyone loses sleep over something.
In Matthew 11, verse 28-29, Jesus said,
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
Let’s face it, “weary” is a word that grandma, George R. R. Martin, and apparently the translators of the NIV bible use. Let’s define “weary.” Bing Search thinks it means “tired, especially in having run out of strength, patience, or endurance.” I like that definition because it perfectly explains how I’ve felt on countless sleepless nights, and I know it’s exactly how you’ve felt at some point, too. Now, I say “sleepless nights,” but don’t resign that phrase to just the hours when most people are snoozing. Sometimes a “sleepless night” can turn into something more like a “sleepless week” or a "sleepless life."
Behind all of this is a 1000 thread count silver lining that can be found in this simple, yet dynamite verse. A lot of times we psych ourselves out looking for some enormous explanation to our problems, when really Jesus makes it as simple as “…come…” and “…I will…”
There’s freedom to be found when you realize you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or strong enough to fix whatever it is that’s keeping you up at night. That doesn't sound like your typical encouraging statement on a church blog, but trust me, when you find out that it's not about what you can to, but what Jesus already did, you'll sleep a lot better.
Maybe you’re on the other side of the spectrum. Maybe all you hear about when it comes to the church is, “you’re not good enough, so you need Jesus,” but maybe that’s not you. Maybe you feel like you are “good enough.” Maybe you’re losing sleep not because of your own problems, but because of everyone else's
You know that feeling you get when someone makes you their human-trashcan? We all do. Well, good news is, Jesus wants you, too. He said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened…” The word “burdened” here is talking about those of us who others depend on to be their savior. Those of us on who people drop their baggage, like we’re bellhops waiting for our $5 tip to carry their luggage – the luggage they can’t carry themselves. But what are you supposed to do with it once they give it to you? Pass it on to the next unsuspecting person? I'm not saying don't be there for people, but you also don't have to allow people to dump on you endlessly. Pastors, leaders, team members: you know what I’m talking about. There’s rest for you, and all you have to do is “come.” Jesus carried all of your baggage - even the baggage that doesn't belong to you. Jesus just wants you to stop carrying what He already carried.
Picture this: a world-class body builder dead-lifting 700 pounds. Then you run up on the stage mid-lift and jerk the bar from his hands and throw out your lower back. Now you have four ruptured disks because you have taken on weight that you were never meant to carry in the first place. What are you doing? Taking on the weight of life when Jesus wants to carry it for you is like taking the globe off of Atlas’ back.
Here's my point: whether you fall under “not good enough” or “over qualified”, we’re all in the same boat – we’re human, we all lose sleep over something, and we all have this insanely loving Savior who doesn’t require anything but that you let Him love you. Let Jesus take whatever it is that’s keeping you up at night. Give the globe back to Atlas. Give the bar back to the weightlifter. Stop trying to bear your own cross, because Jesus bore it for you.
The Message got it right on this one. It says,
“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
No one says it better than the Man Himself. The sooner you simply let yourself trust Jesus, the sooner you can get back to what you were made for – resting. Recover your life by giving it away. You’ll be amazed by how great it feels to get a good night’s sleep.
– Caleb Mills, Victory Worship