You don’t have to read a scientific study to know that Americans are exhausted.
Just look around at work…or in the neighborhood…
People are yawning on the way to the mailbox.
Everyone’s bringing in big gulp coffees into work
When you pass someone in the hallway and say, “How’s it going?”
The customary response has become: “Good, but soooo busy” Or “Good, so tired…too much to do”
The average American sleeps less than 7 hours…40% of Americans sleep less than 6 hours!
In part, because we feel like we have so much to do!
Work is hard, the demands are high
And you’re trying to prove something to your boss, your co-workers, or maybe just your mom & dad
Plus, many of you come home, and you walk in, and oh yeah, you have 3 kids…who’ve trashed your house while you were gone…
Or maybe you were home with them all day…and you’re spent from chasing them around…plus, you were trying to get some work in during nap time (well, what was supposed to be “NAP time”)
I’m getting exhausted just talking about this.
I haven’t even started talking yet about the activities…
So you finish dinner, but now you’re off to cart your kids around to their activities.
You bring your son to soccer, while your spouse brings your daughter to ballet, and you realize that you forgot that your third kid has ninja class…and so you’re texting some other parent to come get them…
And while you’re at the soccer game, you’re not even watching because your boss wants you to email him back tonight by 8pm, so you’re furiously typing up this report on your phone…
Someone just scores a goal…
So you look up and cheer (yay!!)
But you realize you’re cheering for the other team…
You get the kids put to bed about an hour later than they probably should have been
And finally you can relax…
And HOW DO YOU RELAX???
By binge watching some show on Netflix that everyone was talking about…
…all while you can’t stop checking social media…
And yet you can’t stop watching this show, so you watch another.
It’s now after midnight…you’ve got to get up at 6…
You wander into bed…
Where you read 7 more articles on your phone about the 10 things parents should do if they want to be perfect…
Fall asleep, are awakened 3 times by your phone cuz you can’t seem to part with it…
Your alarm goes off at 6…
AND REPEAT…here we go again.
Now, there is plenty of practical advice out there if you want to feel rested.
Just start googling.
And you’ll get 8,000 different answers on which sleep drug you should take or essential oil you should use or which energy drink you should try
As we walk through this series, we are going to cover some really basic and practical changes you can implement in your life… (a ton of them in weeks 2 & 3)
However, we can’t start there.
If this morning, I just gave you some tips for going to bed earlier, or tell you how to implement a time-management principle, we’d just be treating the symptoms, but not dealing with the cause.
We need to ask bigger questions.
Don’t ask: “How can I get more sleep?”
Ask, “Why am I working so much that I’m up so late in the first place?”
Don’t ask: “How can I fit more things into my day?”
Ask: “What’s causing me to feel like I need to fit so many things into my day in the first place?”
As I look at it, I believe there are 2 fundamental reasons to what’s causing our exhaustion in America :
#1: We’re living for the wrong things
#2: We’re resting in the wrong ways
Let’s work through these.
LIVING FOR THE WRONG THINGS
As we do, we need to look at a passage in the Bible, that we’ve actually covered before.
Generally, because the Bible’s such a big book, we rarely look at the same passage twice here.
But there are some passages that our current culture needs to hear more than once.
And this is one I think I could teach out of 4 times a year for modern-day Americans…and we could keep finding new, and relevant things to our lives.
Open it up with us today…I want you to keep looking at it.
These are the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to you today:
(Matthew 11:28-30) – NIV
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Notice in verse 29 that he asks you to take HIS yoke open you
Do you know what a yoke is?
(Show oxen photo)
A yoke was a device that joined together usually two oxen, so they could work together as a team.
One of the things I want to point out from this verse that we haven’t talked about before…is that Jesus is saying:
“Hey…everybody’s yoked to something…
He says, “What I’m asking you…is to take MY yoke upon you.”
He’s asking you to come under His wing, His teachings, His principles, and live for His purposes.
It may sound intense
“WHOA…get under a yoke?!?”
But listen, He’s saying, “You’re all under a yoke, so you might as well get under the one that is easy…and light…and will give you rest…NOT EXHAUSTION!”
In fact, the first of the 2 fundamental things that lead to our exhaustion is this very thing…it’s being under the wrong yoke
WHAT LEADS TO OUR EXHAUSTION:
#1: Living for the Wrong Things
Spending your time on the wrong thing…is exhausting!
I went to school…for many years…
And I can remember, especially in graduate school, sometimes I was so busy with work, and marriage, and school…
That I would stay up super late, reading some book, writing a paper to 4 in the morning…
And then you’d get to class at 8am the next morning…you can barely open your eyes…
And as the professor begins talking about your papers…it hits you… you just wrote a paper on the completely wrong topic
That’s a new level of exhausting.
But that’s exactly where the exhaustion of many Americans comes from
We’ve put ourselves under these difficult yokes…
But many of our yokes (of success, and money, and getting everyone to like us) don’t ultimately have any eternal purpose.
And spending your life living for things that won’t matter in the next life is like running on a treadmill.
It’s exhausting, and you never really get anywhere!
This is a hard question, but let me ask you: What are you living for?
I’m not sure most of us can even answer that question about ourselves.
But you know who can answer that about you?
If you’ve never done it, I encourage you to track your life for a whole week.
For 7 days, write down what you do every hour
And hand it in to your small group leader, an elder, or someone you trust…and have them tell you…what you’re living for.
I’m not sure most of us want to hear the answer.
And thus, most of you aren’t going to do this.
But too many of us are exhausted because we’re living for the wrong things.
And we’ve never stopped our chaotic and busy lives, and sat down, and asked the hard questions of our lives:
We’ve never sat down and said: :
“WHY is it, exactly, that I’m working 60 hours a week?
“WHY am I carting my kids around to multiple activities a week? What am I teaching them that life is about?
“WHY do I work so hard to get my house just perfect, or work so hard at the gym?”
What does that say about what I’m yoking myself with?
Some of us yoke ourselves with money.
And it’s exhausting.
Because you’ll never have enough.
And deep down…you know…what good is a pile of riches when there’s no U-haul behind the hearse?
It’s exhausting to yoke yourself with recognition or power or even just being the perfect parent…
Because you’ll never be perfect.
And the recognition will never be enough…
In 200 years, no one will even no you existed.
But there’s someone you can yoke yourself up with who will never tire you out: JESUS
Let me tell you something important: Don’t ever yoke yourself with something that can change.
Never find your identity in something that can change…
Like your bank account, or your house, or your status, or even your kids.
We yoke ourselves with Jesus…because that’s an identity that you can actually relax in.
Because your identity (who you are) in Christ…is not going to change.
The bible teaches that if you are a believer and follower of Him:
You are now a CHILD of God.
You are a new creation.
You are forgiven.
You are loved by God.
You are in a relationship with the most High King.
You are on your way to spending eternity with Him.
And while you’re here on earth, God has a specific PURPOSE for your life:
(Ephesians 2:10) – NIV
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
That’s saying that, if you are a follower of Christ, that God not only wants to walk next to you…under His yoke…
That He has a purpose for your life.
There are specific things God wants YOU to do with your life, in your work, in your family, that are going to please Him, help renovate the world, bring Him glory!
And listen, living under his yoke, walking with Him, living out His purpose…is still going to be hard work
But it’s like running…but actually getting somewhere.
You’re doing what you were CREATED to do.
And so…it’s not exhausting, it’s exhilarating!
The followers of Jesus in the Book of Acts in the Bible certainly must have been physically tired.
They went all over, from town to town, country to country, telling people about Jesus.
But we read that they were overflowing with peace and joy!
Because they were yoked with Jesus…doing what He created them do…doing what mattered!
A couple of weeks ago, I started reading a book called, “In His Steps” by Charles Sheldon.
I’ve heard about it a number of times, and decided to finally order it.
It’s actually the 11th best-selling Christian book of all time.
It’s from 1896, sold 30 million copies…back when there were only 70 million people in the US!
What’s it about you ask?
Well, Sheldon wrote this fictional book about a group of 100 people in a New England town who took a pledge to not do anything without first asking the question of “What Would Jesus Do?”
Now, 100 years after this book was written, someone rediscovered the book, and put the “What Would Jesus Do” phrase on awkward looking bracelets for youth group kids across America ☺
But the original novel from 1896 is fascinating.
The railroad company owner has to re-evaluate much of his work when he starts asking, “Is this how Jesus would run this company?”
The gifted and wealthy young singer has to re-evaluate how she’s spending all of her time partying and socializing by asking, “Is this what Jesus would do with these gifts…. with His time?”
The man who owns the store in town, has to completely think how he handles his employees, When he starts asking, “If Jesus was their boss, what would He do?”
And they dive into the Bible to try and figure it out.
And it’s an important question to ask of yourself at home and at work:
How would Jesus handle this project, this crisis, this person, if He were me right now?
And it’s an even better question to ask of your schedule:
If Jesus was in Blaine, and was meant to be in my job, or at my house, in my family…how would He allocate His time?
It’s a key question of Christian discipleship.
If He were raising my kids…what would He have them focus their time and energy on?
I can’t answer all of those questions for you, but I can almost guarantee you that if you start truly asking those questions, your schedules would start to look pretty different.
Next week, we’re going to get into the topic of how to practically prioritize your time so you can feel rested.
But we can’t start there.
We’ve got to ask these big questions first.
One of the things I want to challenge you to do, is to go home today, and make a list of all of the things you’re doing that are causing you stress or exhaustion:
It might look like this:
Working 50+ hour weeks
Always trying to make my home/yard look perfect
Having the kids in too many activities
Trying to keep yourself in shape
Always looking at and posting on social media
-WHY am I doing this?
-Do I need to do this?
-Is it what Jesus would do?
Snap out of the rat race for a second:
Even though we are sinners, God sent Jesus, His Son, to die in your place and rescue you from the dead…
That is, if you’ve believed in Him…and are following Him as his disciple.
And think about this, this God who rescued you from Hell, has now given you His Spirit…
And in your very short time on earth, He has things, that He’s entrusted YOU to do.
Don’t squander your short life on the “Treadmill of living for your own pleasure.”
Get off the treadmill, ask God for direction…and start living in exhilaration, not exhaustion.
RESTING IN THE WRONG THING
But it’s not just what we try to accomplish that leads to our exhaustion.
WHAT LEADS TO OUR EXHAUSTION:
#1: Living for the Wrong Things
#2: Resting in the Wrong Things
Our issue of exhaustion is thus compounded
We build our schedules and yoke ourselves to things that don’t matter in light of eternity (which exhausts us)
And then, when we’re exhausted, we try and rest and recharge through the things that, while they appear relaxing, don’t actually recharge us and help us feel rested.
A month or two ago, I mentioned an incredibly important study from Nielsen (the people who track how we engage w/ entertainment)...
And that study mentioned that Americans are now spending FIFTY of their 58 hours of free time each week, entertaining themselves.
50 hours (mostly in the evenings…some on the weekends) on our smartphones, tablets, watching Netflix, Hulu, TV, or playing video games on an app or gaming console)
You’ve had a crazy week at work, the kids are exhausting you, and you just want some rest…
So you try and relax by watching Friends on Netflix…while checking your Instagram…
But the problem is: It’s not actually bringing you REST
This isn’t just a spiritual thing, the scientific and psychological consensus is the same:
While, you are technically “doing nothing” while watching entertainment:…Engaging passively with entertainment doesn’t actually restore or recharge your body.
You watch Netflix, and your body relaxes, but it doesn’t recharge.
You engage with social media, and those dopamine hits of pleasure (with every like), and every new article…just lead your brain on this never-ending chase…that doesn’t satisfy you…and certainly doesn’t recharge you.
It’s just chasing something you can’t catch and you’re not sure why you’re chasing it.
Running on a treadmill to nowhere.
And thus your body relaxes…but never truly rests.
Let’s say you have an awful day at work…the kids are driving you INSANE…and if you were honest about how you’re feeling…
You’re dealing with some fear…some anxiety…some anger…
You’re worried about how things are going to turn out at work…or with one of your kids…
You have some burdens…
And we think, “I’m exhausted by all this…what I NEED (to treat my exhaustion)…is to just zone out”
And yes, your mind will forget about your problems while you entertain yourself…
But what about when the show’s over?
Your problems are still there.
Too many of us, even as Christians, have gotten into this habit, every night…of bringing our burdens to our devices instead of Jesus.
We’re asking Netflix to give us rest…and it can’t.
What did Jesus say to you?
(Matthew 11:28) – NIV
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Not temporary distraction, not entertainment…real rest.
This is a PROMISE…from Jesus Christ himself.
He says, “If you come to HIM with your burdens, your fatigue, He will give you rest!”
And we need to learn the discipline of doing this in the moment sometimes….
Sometimes at night instead of turning the TV on, go into your room, and get on your knees for a few minutes first.
Don’t bring your burdens to your devices, but to Jesus.
Begin to practice that “in the moment,” but also, you want to build in a daily discipline of looking for REST in Jesus, not in our devices.
That’s part of what it means to be YOKED with Jesus.
Look at what else he says in verse 29:
(Matthew 11:29a) – NIV
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me
If you want to be a disciple of a teacher…you have to learn their ways.
If you want to be a disciple of Jesus…you have to study his truth.
That’s every day, being committed to learning his ways in Scripture.
If you’re just starting out here, take a Bible with you from under your chair, and start following the Bible reading plan in it.
This is where our action (what we live for) and our rest come together.
This means, that you find time, every day…to meet with Jesus.
For many people, that’s at the beginning of the day.
If you’re a night owl, could be at the end.
And every day, you open up the Bible…
Start reading, and start talking to God.
And you’re truly bringing your burdens Him and looking for REST in Him…your conversations might look like this:
“God, a lot is coming my way today…
“God, I’m completely worn out from what’s happening at work…”
“But I know you’re with me”
“God, I’m exhausted to the max stressing about my son…
“But I know you can do all things…I give it to you”
Do you see how rest can come?”
You’re walking…yoked next to Jesus…the Savior!
Stop bringing all of your burdens to your devices, and just turn your head to the side…the SON OF GOD is with you!
He can HANDLE your burdens!
He said He’s willing to take your burdens!
If the Son of God told you He’s do that, take Him up on it!
Can you see, how that…and only that…is what begins to relieve us from the heaviness of our exhaustion.
The God who took on your sins on the cross…surely can take on your burdens.
Run for his purposes…not your own.
Give your burdens Him.
And He will walk you out of exhaustion and into rest.
Let me pray.
COME BACK UP AT THE END!!
SEND – OFF
(put up 15-Day Restart slide)
Before you head out, I just want to thank you for being here again today.
I know that SO many of you are taking the 15-Day Restart…
And you’re starting over this search for God.
Keep looking for Him.
Start praying…talking to him again.
Start reading in the Book of Matthew (maybe) in the Bible
And next Sunday is day 15…
Come back again, we’re going to have the huge petting zoo
And I’m praying that over these 15 days…that God begins to show you more and more of His love for you…and draws your whole family to Himself.
Have a great day!
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.