So, I haven’t been sleeping.

Most of the time, sleeping is my secret superpower, my favorite hobby, and my dearest friend. But no more. I felt restless. I tossed and turned, while tallying up our bank balance. I woke up fretting for an hour. Finally, I just prayed, “God, please help me.”

Thankfully, I read this verse. “Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Rest—the very thing I needed. Rest for my weary soul. Rest for my burdened mind. Rest from the crushing weight of getting it right. Rest in Christ’s arms—real rest.

Can I tell you this? Just reading that verse made me weep.

The dam broke, and I just poured out my soul to Jesus—all my burdens, all my weariness, all my fatigue, all of it. I gave Him my faithlessness, my lack of trust, and my desire to control.

God is the one who carries the weight of our family’s well-being. That’s on Him. He is perfectly capable and I can rest there.


What about you?

Have you ever felt completely burdened, exhausted, and worn down by life? Do you ever feel that the weight of all your negative thoughts and worries is too much for you to bear? Are you feeling that way right now?

Jesus is there calling you to lay it all down. But I want to give you more than my personal testimony. I also want you to understand the fullness of Jesus’s offer, so when you speak those words over yourself, you know their truth.

Let’s read our verse again in context, so we can see how Jesus sums up our problem and offers His solution.“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” (Matthew 11:28–30).

Here’s our problem: We are weary and burdened by things that are too heavy for us. Did you see Jesus’s solution? We can come to Him and lay down our burdens. In exchange, He will give our souls genuine rest.

First off, soul rest? Yes! Whatever that is, I want it!

Rest is the thing we know we need. God made us long for rest so that we might find our ultimate rest—our soul rest—in Him. Soul rest is more than body rest. We’ve already discovered that our burden is a soul burden, and that burden is our sin. We are worn-out and weary from the effects of sin in the world and in our own hearts. We need more than a spa day to fix our problem.

I don’t have to have it all together to come to Jesus. I simply have to be willing to give God my worn-out weariness. I can lay down my burden right here and now. And so can you!

Oh, my weary and burdened friend, this rest is for you! Do you know you need it? That’s all you need to know.

*For further reflection, listen to Matthew 11 today.

  1. Matthew 11

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*Adapted from Dwell Differently: Overcome Negative Thinking with the Simple Practice of Memorizing God’s Truth, Bethany House, May 14, 2024

You can listen to our conversation with Natalie and hear her passion for helping people memorize God’s Word.

I hate being uncomfortable. I’m the girl who immediately changes out of her cute clothes as soon as I get home and into my comfy T-shirt.

Yet, as believers, we aren’t promised a comfortable life.

In fact, Jesus warns us in John 16:33, “Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows.” The good news is found at the end of that same verse, when He says, “But, take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Friends, we already know the ending. We know that Jesus wins and we will spend eternity with Him.

However, it is the here and now that leaves us struggling as we face our troubles.

It is so much easier to turn to something physical for comfort than to God. But that comfort will not last.

When I was in college, I frequently turned to porn to numb any of my negative feelings. I left awkward social gatherings without any friends to go back to my dorm. I looked at porn and masturbated to escape the deep loneliness I felt.

Porn never cured my loneliness.

In fact, I felt more lonely afterwards because I was craving deep intimacy with God and others. If you feel discomfort, you may also turn to porn. Or you might instead become numb by binge-watching TV shows, mindlessly scrolling on social media or comfort eating.

Here are two practical ways you can turn to God in your discomfort:

1) Learn to sit in your discomfort. Sitting in this way is an important muscle to develop. One way is to journal ALL of your thoughts and feelings.

Give yourself permission to cry and to admit feeling overwhelmed, lonely, or anxious. Instead of denying your feelings, turn them over God. Write them down as a prayer to God, or pray them out loud.

2) Worship God with music and prayer.

Listening to worship music often gives you a fresh perspective. It focuses you more on the beauty of God and less on your pain and suffering.

Worship also allows you to express affection for your Savior. It is how you show Him admiration, love, thankfulness, and praise. When you make worshiping God a daily priority, your relationship with God will grow in intimacy. When you feel close to God, you tend to focus less on your troubles. When your God is big, your worries feel small.

A close friend once encouraged me, “I can choose to wallow in my suffering and feel sad, isolated, and hurt. But when I choose to rise above, it is amazing the strength I receive from my Lord. I put on worship music. I sing, pray, and memorize Scripture. The choice is yours. God will give you the strength you need.”

As we practice this act of daily surrender and learn to sit in our discomfort, we will exercise this much-needed muscle. This action may feel difficult now, but over time, it will get easier as we grow in intimacy and trust with the Lord.

*For further reflection, listen to John 16 today.

  1. John 16

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Her new book Her Freedom Journey: A Guide Out Of Porn to Authentic Intimacy comes out this July.

We pray that you will take her advice and listen to our encouraging conversation.

I struggled with Bible reading for years, even though I was in full-time ministry. Not only was Scripture challenging to understand, but the challenge left me with a lack of desire.

Every day I felt defeated before I even started, and many days I didn’t start at all. Eventually, I learned I was making three primary mistakes that held me back from understanding and loving Scripture.

My first major mistake was looking for myself. I viewed the Bible as a big to-do list, and if I checked the right boxes, God would respond by fulfilling all my desires. I approached the Bible primarily to get my application points and feel like a good, moral person.

So I started asking myself a few questions to narrow my focus:

  • What does God say or do in this passage?
  • What does this reveal about what God loves?
  • What does this reveal about what God hates?
  • What does this reveal about what motivates God to do what He does?
  • In all of that, what attributes of God are displayed?

The questions we ask of the Bible impact the wisdom we glean from it.

Reading the Bible is an opportunity to behold the beauty of God and be drawn in by him.

My second major mistake stemmed from mistake number one. Since I was only looking for the steps I needed to take to have a perfect, joy-filled life, I hovered over the same passages of Scripture and disregarded the rest.

But my standard approach had me dropping down in the middle of a movie and staying for five minutes, with no real idea of the storyline or who the characters were, and hoping to understand it.

Not only is it impossible to understand something when you handle it that way, but it’s impossible to love it.

To correct that mistake, I read through Scripture chronologically, not from front to back. I wanted to see the overall storyline. So I began each book by identifying who, when, to whom, and what style they wrote it in.

Much to my initial dismay, the bulk of the Bible is not promises or action points. Instead, most of it tells a story about God and His unshakeable love for His people. Reading the story in order and paying attention to the context helped me make sense of verses that appear to contradict each other and how to sift through confusing passages to find God’s character.

My first two mistakes worked together to create my other major mistake: drawing conclusions about God before I read the whole Bible. 

That was a dangerous approach because I was tempted to build a theology around one verse without knowing what other verses had to say. I wanted quick answers and didn’t take the time to consider the context.

When we zoom out and read the whole story, we see a line of grace, mercy, and rescue.

It required patience to hold my questions and conclusions with an open hand. Some of the questions I had in Leviticus weren’t answered until Hebrews.

But all good relationships require patience, and they develop over time. I spent years trying to build my life around a book I hadn’t read about a God I didn’t know.

Now that I know him, I want to help others know him better too!

*For further reflection, listen to Matthew 4 today.

  1. Matthew 4

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When I turned 50, I said to myself, “I am not THAT old.” When I turned 60, my friends told me, “Sixty is the new forty.” Finally, when I turned 70, I admitted, “Seventy is THAT old!”

Now I am almost a decade older. I’ve written a book on aging. But I am still surprised by the experience of getting older.

My soul is growing as my body is aging.

To grow means to change. Paul wrote, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” (Ephesians 4:23). As we age, we are invited to allow the Holy Spirit to change the thoughts and attitudes we have held for decades. Some perspectives and spiritual disciplines that helped me when I was younger are no longer life-giving.

As my body ages, I have less energy and fewer opportunities. The Holy Spirit is changing my expectations and priorities.

I need to unlearn some of the things that I used to believe.

I used to feel responsible for many things. Now that I can do less, God is inviting me to think about my days in terms of fruitfulness rather than productivity.

The list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22–23 reminds me that it is more important to love others than to finish my “to-do” list.

I want to focus on the invitations God gives in my losses.

Jesus said,“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20). When I was younger, I had important jobs to do and places where I found significance. Now I am losing some of that sense of importance. Some days my spirit feels “poor” about all I have lost.

Jesus promises I will experience the Kingdom of God even as I experience this part of aging.

He said God’s Kingdom is like “a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.” (Mark 4:26-27)

What a comfort this is! I can toss seeds on the ground (when I have the energy!) and then go to bed. I don’t understand it, but whether I am asleep or awake, the seeds are growing.

I thank God for the fruit of this season of life.

*For deeper reflection, listen to Ephesians 4 today.

  1. Ephesians 4

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I picked up my phone off the nightstand that morning and opened it with dread. I felt anxiety fill my body. On social media, I knew what I would find: other people enjoying their lives while I cried about mine.

Life felt so unfair. Hot tears filled my eyes, and I immediately tried to blink them back while I whispered a desperate prayer, “Lord, am I going to feel like this forever?”

As I poured my coffee, I made a mental list of what I felt like I could no longer handle.

For starters, I battled relentlessly with my mental health. And I also juggled two kids under five, my husband’s unforeseen job loss, the sudden passing of my father-in-law, and ongoing financial pressures, just to name a few.

I saw no relief in sight. It was hard not to feel frustrated, fed-up, and maybe even a little forgotten by God.

My soul was exhausted, and I was tired of trying. It seemed I had prayed every prayer I knew how to pray and read every Scripture I knew that pertained to my circumstances. Yet, nothing seemed to change.

Maybe you know this season all too well. Maybe you’ve been hurting so deeply and for so long. Maybe you expected to handle this better and to be stronger when everything came crashing down.

But it’s okay that you’re feeling weak and unsure. God wants us to let go of trying to figure it all out, and let him do what he does bestsave us.

When God commanded Moses to save his people from their slavery in Egypt, they never expected their journey to freedom to take so long or be so very hard.

But God had not taken them to the wilderness to simply punish them. Instead, he brought them there to both teach them dependence on him and bring them to the good land he had prepared for them.

In Jeremiah 31:2-3, we see the Lord say in reference to that time, “‘This is what the Lord says: ‘Those who survive the coming destruction will find blessings even in the barren land, for I will give rest to the people of Israel…I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.'”

God hears your cries for deliverance, and he has grace for you in your wilderness.

I continued to walk through my own wilderness. I realized God was using those things I thought were breaking me to make me more like Jesus.

I felt exhausted because I believed it was all up to me.

When I chose to trust him to hold my broken heart and receive his grace, he began to reveal the good plans he had all along.

Friend, will you dare to remember the heart of God when it is hard to understand why he is not fixing your most hurtful seasons?

Will you trust that, like the Israelites, you, too will find grace in our wilderness? Will you cling to the truth that he has rest for your worn-out souls and that he will never stop loving you?

Regardless of how you feel, you can stand in confidence that God will continue to be faithful.

Dear Lord, Thank you that you hear my prayers when my life feels like it is too much, and I am desperate for solutions. I pray you would help me to hold onto you in faith. Cause me to stand on the truth of who I know you to be; a good, faithful and loving Father. Thank you that you always have my best in mind. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*For further reflection, listen to Jeremiah 31 today.

  1. Jeremiah 39

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Enjoy further insights with Ashley Morgan Jackson in our interview with her here.