We can thank another school assignment for breaking my too long sabbatical from writing blog posts. We were given the option to write a talk, an essay, create a PowerPoint or podcast, a lesson, or write a blog post. I figured since I created a PowerPoint for the same section last week, I hate writing essays or outlining talks, and I haven't quite gotten back into the headspace to record a podcast, I was left with this. It's not so bad really. In fact, I'm grateful for the push. I've been recording daily in my journal but I've been remiss at sharing things here that could benefit someone out there--the whole reason I initially started a blog and a podcast in the first place.
I read a comment in class this week that got me thinking and I feel that the thoughts it inspired will satisfy the requirements of the assignment, while also allowing me to share a deep truth that has brought me to my current place of peace and hope.
She pointed out that there is another meaning we can glean from this statement by Jesus Christ,
Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 (emphasis added)
The comment suggested that we look differently at the usage of the word "light". Instead of thinking of weight, we can also think of it as "light" in the sense that Christ is the light and life of the world.
This really got me thinking and seeing this whole scripture passage completely different. Christ and the way I believe him to be, he would never place a burden on us at all. When we yoke ourselves to Him we are not "burdened" by added "weight", we are literally covered and filled with light or in other words the very essence of love.
This insight had me relating to my own present circumstances and how it is 100% true for me.
If you've read my other blog posts, or know me, you know I have been participating in a 12 steps program for codependents. In fact, I recently finished step 12 and on January 11, 2023 had my 1 year CoDA birthday. I can honestly say I am now a recovering codependent, no longer addicted to a toxic relationship, and my life is filled with more peace and joy than I ever imagined possible.
And guess what? The joy and peace became a consistent part of my life when I learned what it really meant (and how) to "yoke" myself to my Higher Power (which for me I define as God and Jesus Christ). The two have become one in importance to me as I have come to fully trust and love my Father in Heaven--a relationship that until CoDA I didn't know was seriously lacking.
In 12 steps programs you learn of acceptance and surrender. You learn how to accept your circumstances for what they are, your complete lack of control of others or the future, and how to surrender your fears and needs to control outcomes to the will of God as you understand God.
In essence, I learned how to stop trying to do it all on my own, figure it out on my own, give power to others to tell me or dictate me how to do everything, and put my trust in God and Christ (which ultimately taught me how to trust myself as well). I learned to live in the present, yoked to God and Christ, and walk forward, trusting in their light and love and the gentle guidance They offered.
It wasn't an easy path, learning to truly trust God enough to yoke myself to Him. It's taken dedicated work and I've had many falls off the wagon. But slowly, day-by-day, my personal relationship with God, my Father, has deepened to a love and appreciation more intense than I ever imagined possible.
I have always had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ--from the time I was very young.
They say we often put the attributes of male authority figures in our lives, fathers, spouses, bosses, church leaders etc, onto God. The problem with this is humans are fallible. Imperfect. When we put imperfect attributes onto a perfect God it weakens our ability to trust Him. I also made the mistake many of us do based on cultural and centuries old fables wherein God is a punisher, someone waiting to deal out wrath and judgement to sinners, rather than knowing Him for who He truly is--someone who Christ loved so much he stepped forward to offer His life for the Father's plan.
This was a key truth that helped me see God in a new light. I love Christ. I fully trust Him. I have seen him as my protective, loving older brother all my life. In the past year I could see that Christ, my best friend, wanted me to see the Father the way He does. With such humbling love and devotion he would do anything for Him. It is through Christ that I have grown to love and trust God as my loving Father who wants me to be healthy, happy, and filled with light as is mine and everyone else's birthright.
It has been through this growing relationship with God--strengthened with a daily practice of acceptance and commitment, that the deep wounds from my past have finally healed and the PTSD triggers that still come are quickly comforted. All the voids in me that I once attempted to fill with people-pleasing, perfectionism, and addictions to toxic relationships are now filled with God's love. My fear and anxiety about the unknown future has completely dissipated. I do what is necessary to stay focused in the present where I feel intensely grateful for my God, my Savior, my children, my family, my friends, my life and the beauty it continues to allow me to experience every day.
I have walked through a personal, very literal, Hell and not only survived but have been given the ability to thrive through Him. Because His light carried me when I couldn't walk and continues to strengthen my every step forward. The deep and loving purpose of His "yoke".
No, His yoke is not a burden. It has lightened my load, lifted my soul, and transformed my life into one of peace, hope, joy, and light.