Life can be overwhelming. Work stresses, financial and relationship strains take their toll. There are hurts, past and present, that may also carry weight in our lives. For me, in recent months, it's been the weight of the unknown that has felt the most unwieldy. We can research and plan, but ultimately the ins and outs of our future are largely unknown.
So what do I do with these weighty feelings of uncertainty? I've prayed, read my Bible and (most often) resorted to bingeing Netflix. Yesterday I watched the last episode of a 7 season series. I started it in September. I feel a mixture of accomplishment and embarrassment. That's just over 123 hours of mind-numbing distraction.
I could have chosen to work out. I could have volunteered more. I didn't. I didn't particularly feel like helping others or pushing myself; I already feel exhausted. Netflix doesn't require any effort, so I turned it on whenever there was a lull. It was a very effective distraction from worries and boredom.
We all have our pet distractions; our crutches that numb us from feeling. They can be risky, self-destructive, wasteful or even productive. Ultimately it's part of the human condition to need a break every now and then when the weight of life feels too heavy to bear.
Matthew 11:28-30 says, "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.”
I know from experience that when I lean into the presence of God and meditate on Him, the weight becomes lighter. My perspective changes and I feel energized. That practice takes time and intention. It's a discipline that I sometimes don't have the attention-span to do well. What I can do is recognize and forgive myself for indulging in gluttony, sloth or any other dysfunctional way of numbing myself. I can admit where I've gotten off-track and chose to do better. Netflix bingeing isn't going to get me through the tough times. It isn't going to give me reserves of strength, hope or love, but God promises that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.