Sunday, May 22, 2011


 by Susanne Dietze

“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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29

Bow yokes, courtesy of

Clichés are around for a reason, aren’t they? When it rains, it pours. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. I could go on, but I’m sure you understand where I am right now. One tired, over-committed Mama.

Spring is always like this. It's hectic, frenzied, and far too busy. School ends, and all of the band performances, awards banquets, and school plays pile over each other until the May calendar is covered in ink. Regular life continues, of course. Work. Funerals, weddings, soccer, church activities, and broken appliances. Me supposedly writing a book.

Sure, I could’ve said no to some things—and believe me, for a pastor’s wife, I am quite adept at saying no—but some circumstances take precedence over my carefully-devised schedule. People in need. Desperate pleas from teachers for help. Kids who are growing up way too fast for my taste. The extra things which I discerned God wanted me to say yes to doing.

In a moment of self-absorbed frustration, I recently told God that I felt so overwhelmed and burdened that I didn’t know how He expected me to write a book for His glory when He’d put all this other stuff on my calendar.

Umm, yeah. I said that. Not proud to admit that to the blogosphere.

You can guess what happened next. I received a gentle reminder that perhaps God doesn’t want me to write a novel—at least, perhaps not today. Tomorrow, maybe, but today He has other forms of service in mind for me. And if He gives me a job for a day or a season, it’s my job to obey, not to challenge His priorities.

Unfortunately, being overwhelmed, burdened, or overwrought can sometimes have little to do with the amount of work before me. Sometimes it's a sign that I'm not keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus.  When I focus on myself and my problems, not on God, I'm prevented from walking more fully in His will, delighting in His presence, and discerning the tasks He's given to me. I tend to labor at my own goals, not those He's given me--an exhausting and difficult path, even when my intentions are good. Then I don't want to labor at all, at anything, godly or self-centered.

Many of us all fall into what writer Sarah Young calls “drainout.” In her devotional Jesus Calling, she says it’s a better description of what busy Christians experience than burnout. “Countless interactions with needy people have drained them, without their conscious awareness. You are among these weary ones, who are like wounded soldiers needing R & R.”

Drainout sounds about right to me. So does a yearning for some R & R.

I used to have a hard time relating to the above passage from Matthew where Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon our shoulders. How can bearing a yoke—an instrument of labor—be easy or restful? It took me a while to understand that rest in the Lord isn’t the same thing as “resting on a beach with a tropical drink,” although He’s in that sort of rest, too. But in taking His yoke upon us, we put ourselves under His law, we stay closer to Him, and we allow Him to lead us through the work He’s given us to do. We’re better equipped for success when we let Him direct us through our crazy schedules and the unexpected missions He gives us along the way. We’re better able to resist drainout.

My calendar’s still just as full. But should God require something new of me today, I pray I’ll feel His gentle nudge, drop what I'm doing, and perform the tasks He sets before me. He’ll be faithful to see me through.

 If you were lounging on a beach, what sort of tropical drink would you want by your side?

Susanne Dietze has written love stories set in the nineteenth century since she was in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and spending time with family and friends. Her work has finaled in the 2010 Genesis Contest, the 2009 Gotcha! Contest, and the Touched By Love Contest, 2008 and 2009. You can visit her on her personal blog, Tea and a Good Book,
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  1. On a beach I would like a virgin pina colada. Yum!

    But first, have you been looking over my shoulder, SusieQ? I have been feeling wrung out and frazzled for several weeks now. I need to remember to let go of the good things that are not my priority and stick with my mission.

  2. On a beach, on a lounge chair? I'd be asleep in a minute. Forget the drink!

    My shoulder, too, Lisa. But I can't say it's drainout from ministering to others. I wish.

    Just plain overwhelmed and tired.

    I like the idea of thinking Yoke is not just for the burden part but for the direction part. If one ox is going one way and the other isn't they get nowhere. Hmmmm, I know I've probably been pulling too hard but it can all be for nothing if I'm not in the right direction.

    Thanks Susie. I hope your June is a it quieter.

  3. That's a great book. We've been reading it too. At the beach? Strawberry margarita please.

  4. And she's looking over my shoulder, too! This was great, Susie. Thanks for this. I've been feeling overwhelmed this past week. Exhausted from traveling, lack of sleep, and the conference, and now culture shock from the crowds of thousands of people in the "happiest place on earth" - so this is a wonderful reminder to practice what I preach. (Lol, there's another cliche for you)

    I would really like to try a mojito - probably without the alcohol since I don't drink. I joke about needing a margarita sometimes, but I don't really drink. Can you believe I'm in FL right for over a week and I haven't seen one lime or one slice of Key Lime pie or anything else with the word "lime" in it? And believe me, I've been looking.

  5. This is a timely reminder. For a high school teacher, May is probably the worst month of the year. Especially in NY state that requires state testing for high school students in order to graduate. What a stressful situation for the students! I've been doing my own griping about not having the time to write as I planned in the midst of all this preparation, recitals, plays, field days, etc.

    Thanks for the reminder to take HIS yoke and leave ours alone. When we work with God and not on our own, life runs more smoothly.

    As for drink on the beach, I'd probably stick with my usual summertime refreshment - iced mocha coffee.

  6. I have this mental picture of my dog wearing himself out trying to get out of his collar and leash, even though he desperately wants to go for a walk.
    Reminds me of us: We desperately want to serve the Lord, to accomplish things for His glory, and yet we fight His control as though we don't trust Him to be able to bring things to pass as they should be. We want to run ahead, or stay behind, when we should (as Dina so eloquently reminded us last week) be living "freely and lightly" in His grace.
    Thanks, Susie, for making me stop and consider HIS timing, and trust HIS plan, not my own!

  7. Oh yeah, beach drink... um... the beach is one of the few places I actually crave water. : )

  8. Good morning! Oh Lisa, a virgin pina colada sounds delicious. I could take about four of those right now. With little umbrellas and fresh pineapple spears.

    "Stick with my mission." I like that. It reminds me of my overarching goal, to serve Jesus.

    I hope you feel less frazzled today!

  9. Deb, I'd be sure to fall asleep on the lounge right next to you.

    I definitely need to surrender to the Yoke for the sake of direction, Deb. As I was formulating the post, I wondered how much time I waste struggling to go my own way--a path that is ultimately fruitless. If I accomplish anything in His service, it has to be because it's what He wants, not what I want.

    Sigh. My usual battle of my will vs. His.

    June will be somewhat quieter for me, although VBS is coming up in a few weeks--an insane but glorious 5 days.

  10. I'm glad you're enjoying Jesus Calling, Dina. I often take it in the car with me and I read & pray when I'm sitting at school or before an appointment. It's short, sweet, and thought-provoking.

  11. No key lime pie, Suzie? What gives? Do you feel cheated? LOL. I hope you find something limey soon. I wonder if you could make a virgin mojito. I don't know what's in it, but the lime & mint could go with 7UP, I would think. Mm.

    Hey, you're at Disney world. You can get mint juleps in New Orleans Square (only). They aren't limey, but they're minty and fun and of course, non-alcoholic. They're an atrocious shade of green but they're delicious. I get one every trip to Disney.

    You must be so tired after your conference. I pray that you're refreshed in other ways, however, and that you'll catch up on your rest when you get home.

    Thanks for visiting during your busy week, Suzie!

  12. I could go for an iced mocha right now, Christine. Yum.

    I don't know why I thought I'd cram some writing in before the school year ends, but I should learn to expect no significant writing during May next year. You're right about the activities. Teachers need help and money, the kids have last minute projects, and then there are the assemblies and plays and so on...It's nuts! My kids both have events the same night and I have "Mom Guilt" over the whole thing, too.

    I pray that you are refreshed and blessed as you wrap up the school year. And I also pray that you're able to get some writing done soon.

    Thanks for coming by!

  13. I like your analogy of the dog on a leash, Niki. I see myself in it. I want to go faster, or head in that direction, and fight against my Master.

    The end result is fruitless, and I'm just tired and crabby.

    I still need grace to let the writing and other "wants" go right now. I get a little panicky about it. But I truly discern that God also wants me to be involved in the community and with His people, and this is one of those times when what I want has to be set aside for a while--a small while. A blip of nothingness in light of eternity. So why am I complaining?

    I drink a lot of water, too, Niki. Another basic drink? Orange juice. I love it.

  14. Thanks for the thoughts, Susie. If I were on a beach right now, I'd drink just about anything with a nap.

  15. Hmmm... It appears I'm going to have to look for this book. Drainout is a very apt expression. Since just prior to my daughter's graduation, I'm having a hard time keeping up.

    I guess I already had my nap, but for the beach I've been craving a frozen lemonade for a week now. To make it more tropical, they can throw on one of those fancy schmancy little umbrellas.

  16. Oh Barb. I want a frozen lemonade. Ooh, maybe a frozen strawberry lemonade. Sounds perfect.

    I pray that you and your family are rested, refreshed, and able to fully enjoy graduation and all that goes with it. What a hectic time for you guys!

  17. It's Victoria Day!

    On a beach with a virgin pina colada sounds so calming and refreshing.

    Although I was only driving on my research trip for 5 out of the 8 days I was gone, I came home totally exhausted. Part of that was all the walking around the historical sights between the driving, but just trying to take it all in was a bit overwhelming.

    I came back on Thurs and it's taken until today, Victoria Day, to feel ready to get back to work. I tried yesterday but kept falling asleep on my keyboard.

    It's reassuring to see I'm not the only tired Inky around here. :)

    Good post, Susie.

    Anita Mae.

  18. Welcome home, Anita Mae! I hope you're able to get some rest.

    Happy Victoria Day!


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