When the day is done I make my rounds through the dark house. I check the locks on all the doors (five times). I adjust the thermostat. I pick up toys (mostly I just step on them and try not to cuss). I peek in on the kids. I let the dog out one final time. Then I crawl into bed and begin the process of revisiting the past 12 hours in my mind.
I’d expect to feel relief. It’s time for some much needed rest. But there are evenings when that relief won’t come. On those evenings I am left with a feeling of guilt. A feeling of being unsettled. I feel the weight of every little thing I’ve left undone and every little thing I’ve done wrong.
It’s intense, this feeling of self doubt and remorse.
Do you have those days? Tell me I’m not alone here.
I wish I’d mopped the floors. Don’t some mothers do this daily? I am not one of those mothers. There is crusty apple sauce on my wood floor and a mystery spot on the tile in the laundry room. I can’t get it up. What is that?
I snapped at my son today. I was so tired of asking him to do the same thing over and over again. Should I wake him up and apologize? I want to crawl in his bed and hold him.
I should have put away the folded laundry. Instead I piled it high on my husband’s dresser. He probably hates it. At least he has the good sense not to tell me so.
I didn’t go to the grocery store. We’ve been out of milk for 2 days now. We’re on the last apple and there’s an overly soft pear in the refrigerator’s fruit drawer.
I wasn’t kind to my [husband/mother/person who was rude to my son at Whole Foods]. I regret it. I don’t ever want to be the low point in someone’s day.
I shouldn’t have had that sweet tea at lunch. I should have ordered a salad instead of that burger.
I wish I’d checked in on my friend. I haven’t spoken to her in a few days. A better friend would have texted her just to say hi.
These are the thoughts that weigh on me when I close my eyes.
On those occasions I struggle to recognize the things I did right.
The meals I prepared.
The kitchen counters I wiped.
The diapers I changed.
The clothes I washed.
The tickles I gave.
The stories I read.
I am not a perfect wife, daughter, sister, or friend. I am a damn good mother but I will never exhibit perfection there either.
I try hard. Yet some nights the trying isn’t enough.
So I lay there wallowing in my worry and guilt. It’s only later that I can pinpoint where I truly went wrong. I didn’t share my day with the Lord.
For the past year I have started the first few hours of my day in His Word. I’ve done this off and on for 15 years but it wasn’t a daily exercise. I cannot begin to articulate the difference that doing this makes in my life. This is my best effort to explain it to you.
I am happier when I begin my day in His Word. I am calmer. I am more confident. I feel assured of His promises. I feel secure in His plan for me.
When I don’t dedicate this time to Him my entire day is off track. I talk to Him less. I am more negative. I worry. Oh how I worry. About money. About my husband. About what people think of me. I feel frustrated and less balanced. I feel doubtful about my family’s future. Everything just feels off.
I want rest. I want peace of mind. But on those evenings I struggle to find it.
Matthew 11:28-30 is a piece of scripture I turn to often. It hangs on a sticky note on my bathroom mirror, the sides crinkled in and discolored from being regularly splashed with water. I’ll go weeks without noticing that little paper because it’s just become part of my landscape. And then one morning I’ll need that reminder of where my comfort is and I’ll see it.
Matthew 11:28 Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
He will give us rest but we have to do something. He says “come unto Me”. We have to seek Him. We have to take action. We have to come to Him.
Matthew 11:29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Again we are told to take action to find that rest.
He says “take My yoke upon you”. What does this mean? A yoke (usually for oxen) is much like a horse collar on a harness. It’s fit to the curve of the animal’s neck so that you can easily guide the animal with tugs. God is saying here that we should wear His yoke and let Him guide us.
He says “learn of Me”. He has given us this beautiful letter to guide us in this life and prepare us for the next.
We are expected to get to know Him.
When Jesus is asked questions he replies (over and over again) with “have you not read?” before He answers (Matthew 12:3, Matthew 12:5, Matthew 19:4, Matthew 21:16, Matthew 21:42, Matthew 22:31, Mark 2:25, Mark 12:10, Mark 12:26, Luke 6:3). How could He make it more clear that we are expected to know His Word?
It’s through learning of Him that we begin to allow Him to guide us. When we’re feeling tired, beaten down, and wanting answers we have only to pause, talk to Him, and study His Word. He will give us the wisdom to get through.
Matthew 11:30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
And it is. His burden is light and He is Light.
So when the day is done and you’re lying in bed recounting every misstep, remind yourself that God is your Father. He is your Comforter. He is your Savior. There is nothing in this world that can bring us the peace of mind He offers and He tells us exactly how we are to obtain it.
When I walk with Him I do better and I am better. I will still not be perfect but I will feel the security that only His love provides. The little things that bring me self doubt when the day is done do not have power over me.
Come to Him. Take on His yoke. Learn of Him. I promise you’ll find that peace of mind is not so elusive after all.