Think about the way you wake up. Besides feeling sleepy maybe, what are your other thoughts? Are you dreading the day? Are you anxious about the day? Or do you feel grateful for the gift, ready to step into all God has for you today?

Why do you feel the way you do? What can you do with it?

A little scientific reasoning behind your feelings reveals it’s a chemical reaction. Melatonin is a hormone produced by your brain in response to darkness, making you naturally sleepy. As you near the end of your night’s sleep, your body starts producing the hormone Cortisol instead. You likely know about Cortisol, it is the stress hormone. Think of it as your body’s built in alarm-system. It’s there to wake you up and make you move. If you wake up to a lion threatening to eat you, it’s cortisol that causes you to run like an Olympian with your eyes barely open.

Cortisol is naturally at it’s highest in the morning when you wake up. Yip, stress is naturally highest in the morning. This can make you a moody beast! It can make for a bad start. And you could claim it’s not your fault. Oh but girl, it’s your choice.

That boost of Cortisol in the morning is God’s great design to get your body going for the day. However, when you don’t respond to this rush of hormones correctly, instead you can feel immediately overwhelmed. Yes, wake up overwhelmed. Wake up anxious. Wake up with dread.

Anyone? Oh, that’s just Cortisol being misused.

Misused Cortisol, like anything and everything else in life, becomes a burden.

Honey, are you burdened? Are you weighed down? Are you dragging a load that’s too much for you to carry? Are you frustrated with your slow progress and overwhelmed by the never-ending struggle?

Jesus said in Matthew 11: 28-30 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

The MSG translation says “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” with Jesus.

Ahhhhhhh … isn’t that the opposite of what you feel? You feel a forced rhythm. You feel a daily grind of “have to”. I have to get up. I have to go to work. I have to do this and I have to do that. It’s all forced, and it’s become a burden.

But my sister, recognize it’s simply because you’re using a good thing in the wrong way.

Just like waking up, Cortisol is God’s gift to help you get up and going, but when used wrong, it is the source of anxiety and overwhelm from the moment your eyes open. Get out of this forced rhythm, and girl get into the flow Jesus is offering you. He is offering to carry your heavy burdens. He is offering you rest and peace. He is offering you a life lived freely and lightly.

You can’t live freely and lightly when you’re burdened. A burden is defined as a heavy load. What does a heavy load do to you? It makes it hard to move forward. It exhausts you. It makes you want to give up.

Your burden is a target for the enemy. He dwells in your exhaustion, because when you become weary, his whispers become loud. When you’re struggling to take the next step under the weight of it all, his lousy petitions of settling short of how far you could go, are a welcomed offer. And if you’re waking up burdened, my guess is he’s right in your ear when the alarm rings. Are you laying there and listening to him? Oh the burden grows heavier, doesn’t it?

But, what can Jesus do with your burden? He can make it lighter. He says “Take my yoke upon you. My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” What exactly does that mean? Sis, if you’re carrying around a heavy load, feeling burdened from the moment you wake up, you need to understand what Jesus is offering you here, because it sounds to me like you might need it!

Jesus is speaking in farming terms. So, let’s go to farming school together this morning. A yoke is a wooden collar placed on an animal’s neck so the owner can control it. Like a bridle on a horse or a collar and leash on a dog, a yoke is a way for the animal to be directed to complete a task. Often the yoke is wide enough for two collars for two animals. A farmer would then say those two animals are “yoked” together. Where one goes, the other will go. One yoke, two connected going in the same direction for a purpose.

Two animals yoked together could do more work than working independently. It was also a means of training a new smaller animal when paired with a larger animal. The bigger of the two could carry the burden, while the smaller one was being trained.

Make sense? This is what Jesus is offering us. He’s offering to be yoked with us so that he can carry the burden, and we can learn to do life as he does.

You see, Jesus doesn’t just make the burden go away, but he carries it for you as you stay connected to him. Again, see the mental image of the wooden collar around 2 animals. One is carrying the burden, the other is connected and being trained.

You are being trained. You’re learning. You’re learning how to walk through hard times and not grow weary. You’re learning how to face the impossible and believe it is possible. You’re learning to stop trying to do this on your own.

God has given you everything you need to live your life well. Everything. He has left nothing out. Down to the details of the Melatonin to help you sleep, and the Cortisol to wake you up. To the benefit of a Savior who will never leave you or forsake you, and promises to carry your heavy burdens and teach you how to live this life lightly and freely.

You have it all, now just use it right.

You don’t have to wake up anxious and overwhelmed. You can use that for energy to get up and start your day right. You don’t have to break your neck trying to drag this heavy load behind you. You can let Jesus carry the weight, and you can learn his ways.

There’s a right way to live this life, and a wrong way. Sometimes we best learn the wrong way by experiencing it ourselves. Then we know … oh, that’s not good. And honey, if it’s not good, why keep doing that? You know better, so now you can do better. You can take what God has given you and use it the way he intended.

Lord, I have a burden here, would you help me carry it? Jesus, would you teach me to live in the unforced rhythms of grace? And Jesus says “YES, here, take my yoke, let’s walk through this together. We will start with the way you wake up, then we’ll learn step by step the rest of your day.”

This is our prayer today … Jesus, where my burden is heavy, will you show me how to do it right?

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