holy places

i’d had a long, hard day; a long, hard week, if i was being honest. dirt under fingernails, feet covered in dust. my bones ached, and my head and heart felt full and heavy. words were few, replaced instead by deep sighs and weighted breaths.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?
his words found me in my thin place, where i felt stretched and sore, barely hanging on. “yes, i’m tired,” i nodded. “yes, i’m worn out. worn down. burned out. yes, yes, yes.”

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 stepped into the shower, an outdoor stall enclosed by cement block. the water hit me, warm from the sun, and tears fell down under starlight, washing away the dirt from my soul. 

I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
his words washed over me like the water from the shower, like the tears that kept coming, and i saw it all so clearly. i had been collapsing under the weight of a burden i was never meant to carry. the heaviness hadn’t been intended for my shoulders, for he knew i would not be able to bear it. but i had forced a smile and bowed low, gritting my teeth as i settled into the yoke. it didn’t fit but i, never wanting to appear weak, refused to acknowledge that something was wrong. i carried the yoke, the burden, the weight, day in and day out.

and it had brought me to this place, weary in the deepest parts, kneeling on a wet concrete floor. it was then that i realized: here–in the ache and the mess, the pain, the grit–even here was holy ground. i was bent low in more ways than one, thick in this sacred moment, and it was here that his glory would come to pass me by.

Jesus doesn’t wait for our lives to be perfect, for all our problems to be solved, before he comes to us. he enters in the thin places, the messy places, the hard places.

and he calls them holy.

{scripture reference: matthew 11:28-30, The Message}

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