“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.”

Matthew 11:28-29 is one of my favourite scriptures in the bible. It reminds me time and time again, to turn to the Lord in all circumstances, especially in stress-filled times. He will always grace me with peace so I can continue to move forward. To be honest, this is something that  I am learning to do more and continue to work at. This is something I believe everyone can grow in, no matter who they are. If you have read my other blogs, you know that I find this rest best while on retreat.

This past June I was on an 8-day silent retreat with the Lord. I came to realize early in the retreat that I pray well with images. They can be images on paper, or just in my mind. On one of the days the person accompanying me had me sit with this particular scripture. The question I was asked to pray with was:

“What does being yoked to God look like? What image comes to mind when you think about being yoked to God?” 

A yolk in Jesus’ time would have been a wooden beam used between a pair of oxen or other animals to enable them to pull together a load when working in pairs. As I took this question to prayer, I sat with the word YOKED and found that for me, being yoked meant being tied to the Lord. The image the Lord then put on my heart and in my mind was that of a hot air balloon. The balloon itself was that of Jesus, fueled by the fire of the Holy Spirit. The basket, where I am called to be, is tied to the balloon by 4 strong ropes.

When the basket is free from any tethers or weights, the balloon can soar to great heights. However, on the other hand, when I carry the weight of sin, fear, anxiety, worry, and the like with me into the basket, the balloon cannot move as freely as it is meant to. To take His yoke upon me is to drop all of those things that may be weighing me down, trust that the Lord will take care of it, and take a risk in hopping into this basket even though I am afraid of heights. I know the Lord will not let anything happen to me while I am soaring with him. It is only He who can take me to great heights. I cannot do that on my own.

Since my retreat, I begin my morning prayer time in our chapel by surrendering my day to the Lord. During this time, I can picture in my imagination the hot air balloon and basket sitting just outside the window. On really good days, I can see myself climbing out the window eager to get in the basket and take off on whatever adventure the Lord has planned for me that day. Then there are days when I am moving slowly for some reason or another, and all I can do is say Fr. Bob Bedard’s prayer of “Not ready, Lord, but willing.” There may be some anxiety about the day, but I know the best place to be is in that basket. I still take the risk and get in, and even if I find myself sitting down in the basket, the Lord still honors that surrender and takes things slowly with me.

Finally, there are the days when everything is weighing me down, such as cares, worries, and struggles, and I feel like I simply do not have the strength to climb in. The Lord again meets me in this and I imagine him saying “It is okay to stay on the ground today. I will still be with you. I will not go anywhere without you.” Throughout each of these types of days, I learn from Him how to best navigate the day.

For example, just the other day I woke to my alarm and for some reason or another, I was already feeling anxious about the day. I had a lot to get done and wondered if I could do it all. I was also letting go of the stresses of the day before. As I sat in the chapel, there were so many things weighing me down. As I prayed and asked the Lord for help, I realized it had been a while since my last confession.  Before Mass, as I confessed my sins, I could sense those weights being cut, one at a time, as I went through my list. As the words of absolution were spoken, the fire inside the balloon was opened; the Lord and I took off on our journey of the day. At Mass, as one of my favorite hymns, “Hear I am, Lord” was sung, my heart was filled with His love as I knew freedom was received.

This image that the Lord has given me, is one I keep returning to each day. I desire to soar with the Lord and go where he wants to lead me. I may not always know where he is leading me, but I can certainly learn to enjoy the ride along the way. There is nothing to fear when the Lord is at your side.

So, what image comes to your mind when you think about being yoked to the Lord? Are you willing to take a risk and jump in the basket and let Him lead you?

Share it in the comments, I would love to hear from you.

One Comment

  1. Erika Lindig January 26, 2024 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    I struggle with loneliness. A lot. So thinking on that scripture, seeing Jesus tied up to a yoke beside me, shouldering my cares and worries.. well, that’s a perfect antidote to loneliness. Often times I forget that I am not alone, that this loneliness is not real. Jesus is real. Him shouldering my cares and worries, that is real. His Mercy is real. His love is real. Loneliness is not.

    Thank you Jesus, for always being with me, even when I couldn’t see you.

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