Come Weary

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
~ Jesus, Matthew 11:28

“The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.”
~ Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life

river

Come straight from your bed with your morning breath and your sweatpants. Come with your crazy-hair and your unwashed face and last night’s dishes still sitting out on the counter.

Come as soon as the alarm goes off, or after three or four smacks at the Snooze button.

Or maybe morning’s not your thing, but you keep trying to muster yourself up to it because once someone told you that this was the best way. That morning is the best time, that you need to start your day right, with God.

(I want to tell you that there is no best time. There is you – your particular, individual heart – and there is God, his love like a deep-flowing river. And it doesn’t matter when you step into the river, love. All that matters is that you come.)

Come with your mind skittering a thousand different directions. Come with your insurmountable to-do list, and don’t feel a bit guilty when you keep drifting back to the day’s demands. Just notice it, and then make your way back to the quiet.

There will be so many trips back and forth while you’re here…from worry to planning to prayer and then back around again. That’s just part of it.

And maybe you don’t know that. Maybe you’ve heard a hundred sermons about that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus prayed deep and long, and his disciples fell asleep.  You know that verse by heart, where he says “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” and the one that says, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

(Here’s what I think about all that: this was never meant as a call to do better, to be better, to come perfect and focused and spiritually “strong”. I think Jesus was simply telling us the truth about ourselves, here in the midnight garden – that thing that we who can handle it all (who don’t need help, thank-you-very-much, who will do it all by ourselves even if it kills us) never truly believe: You are weak. You are weary. It’s okay. I am enough.)

Maybe all this time, you’ve been trying to come perfect, you’ve been trying to come wide-awake when you’re exhausted. Maybe you’ve been trying to work up the faith when your heart is sunk deep in doubt. You don’t have to hustle for approval here. Come weary. Come beloved.

Come reluctantly or expectantly. Come half-asleep or half-alive or broken into ten thousand pieces.

Stare blankly into your fluorescent sunlamp in the cold, dark morning and say nothing. Or say everything – rant and rave and whine and cry and bare it all – your whole fearful, jealous, angry heart. Both of these things are a kind of prayer, and neither is better or more honest than the other.

Swear if you need to. Say the truth you need to say even if the words sound unholy, unacceptable. There is the time when the four-letter-word is the right word, and God can handle your impolite, your wildness, your temper tantrums, your tears.

Come with a heart stone-cold in its silence. Come bitter. Come distant.

Read the Bible, or don’t. Write it out in a lined journal, or don’t. Read a bit of liturgy and feel yourself connected to a thousand other broken pieces of humanity, all trying to figure it out.

(Or don’t. There is no right way to come. There is only the honesty of showing up entirely yourself in the place you are now.)

come-weary

Maybe you won’t feel anything. Just the winter dark pressing in and the cold seeping in under the patio door and a weary dread for the mundane tasks of another day. Another week. Another year.

Come anyway.

Come even if you’re not one bit sure about this God business at all. Start here, with these open arms, the ones that are welcoming the weary. Start with a God who invites the imperfect: the mad-at-their-kids. The pissed-at-their-bosses. The one who sits in traffic, feeling a rage she cannot understand. The one who can’t stop crying. The one who’s full to the brim with happiness.

Start with Jesus, who welcomes the overwhelmed. The under-awed. The hopeful. The hopeless.

He is looking at you who don’t have one scrap of it together, and there’s not a how-to or a best-practices — just Him. Just you. Just the river.

Just one word, Come.

The first step. Really, the only step. The one you keep taking every weary, heavy-laden, joyous, hopeful, normal, average, dish-filled, noisy day of your life.

115 thoughts on “Come Weary

  1. This refreshing and beautifully told truth reminded me of a quote from The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis

    “I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.

    “Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

    “Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”

    “There is no other stream,” said the Lion.

    Thank you for these words today.

  2. I can’t quite find the right words to comment. I always enjoy your blog but I think this is one of the best posts you have ever written. I agree with Renee – you have the Gospel here, the truly good news.

  3. Thank you. I wish I could read this from a scroll on every street corner and off every roof top in the world. Instead, I’ll post it to every social media outlet I know of, because this is good news. Needed news.

  4. I am reminded of something that we sometimes sing as a call to worship at the church I attend. It is adapted from a poem by Rumi.

    Come, come whoever you are
    Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving
    Ours is no caravan of despair
    Come yet again come

    1. I added that quote to my journal. I also thought of the song that says, “Come just as you are to worship, Come just as you are before God’s throne, Come”.
      After a long night of loading and unloading and a couple days of dealing with unkind people I really needed this reminder that it is not WHEN or WHERE I come, or that I have to have my act or myself all cleaned up, I can just come, and let God’s love flow over, around, and into me.
      I can come to the still waters and be renewed, refreshed, made whole and strong enough to face this moment in time, this day, with thanksgiving.
      thanks for sharing the gospel of God’s love so plainly!

  5. Everyone is right. This is such good news. This has made me feel more hopeful about prayer than anything I’ve read in years.
    Thanks, Addie.

  6. I love this Addie. It’s such a good reminder that God is so much bigger than anything we feel or go through. He can handle us, no matter what state we are in.

  7. This is where I was feeling this morning about prayer and time in the word. Hungry, but so hungry that I felt I didn’t have the strength to pull up to the table and eat. Then, I was given exactly what I needed. Beautiful reminder to just come.

  8. WOW Addie – What a spiritual breath of fresh air you are! I can’t help but wonder if, when I returned home from missionary life in Ukraine to be treated for depression and start over I would have heard this instead of “you don’t read your Bible enough or pray enough or trust enough; or any number of mostly unhelpful things, just how different my recovery would have been. I finally started to heal when someone told me, God is love. Period. He does not care if you are a missionary or a ditch digger. If you never read another verse of scripture or pray another prayer, he will still love you.” It was perfect and finally gave me the freedom to stop feeling guilty that I was not cut out for missionary life and had somehow let him down; the freedom to be my authentic self. Your message has that same power and I doubt you will ever know how healing your words will be for so many, but I have little doubt that they will.

    1. I can’t imagine what that must have been like, Pam. I think that pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps (of enough Bible reading and prayer and faith) mentality is so toxic to the soul and to our relationship with God. I love this: “If you never read another verse of scripture or pray another prayer, he will still love you.” Yes. Beautiful.

      1. that is awesome. It took a group of Alanon women to show me God’s unconditional love, and I grew up in the church. As Tom Tarver called it the “weight” of Christianity, if you just do this or that God will love you more, hear your prayers, provide for your needs. So NOT true!

  9. This is everything I needed to hear today and this week and this year and this heart is just a puddle of tears. This is relief. This is the it’s-okay-to-stop-trying-so-hard affirmation that leaves even this stone-cold heart a little bit warmer.

    Addie, thank you so much for pinning this to page. I just want to hug you.

  10. Beautiful.

    It’s impossible to argue with this. So why don’t we really believe it? After years of hearing “Come, Just As You Are” sung before every church altar call, what is it that has conditioned evangelicals to believe that because they don’t have all their stuff together, they are not good Christians? Why is depression and doubt and fear so hidden in our culture? We ostracize those who stumble, and make spiritual pariahs out of those who despair and question. If the church wants to add broken sinners to its ranks, it must first make room for hurt, doubting Christians.

    I know this isn’t really what your post is about. It’s just where I’m at today.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree. We have created a culture that prizes the difficult “testimony”…but only once you’re on the other side of the hard stuff. It’s toxic and the opposite of the heart of the Gospel. Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. Gosh, this is the best piece of writing about prayer I have ever encountered. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your writing helps me come to terms with myself and with God way more than you could imagine.

  12. This is exactly what I needed to hear: “Come with your insurmountable to-do list, and don’t feel a bit guilty when you keep drifting back to the day’s demands. Just notice it, and then make your way back to the quiet.”

    I need to begin quietly and calmly acknowledging all those frustrating parts of me and moments of my life, without letting them derail me.

    1. That was so releasing to me too. Paul E Miller goes into more depth on this in his book (which I’d highly recommend). He talks about coming to God as a child…and that part of the child-heart is distractedness…and that this is OK! I think it’s the first time in my life anyone has ever told me that.

  13. What an amazing invitation! It reaches into my heart and draws this weak and weary soul nigh to the Father’s heart once more in gratitude and love. This year God has given me “Come” as the One Word to pay particular attention to. Your beautiful, insightful post has reinforced the glory of that word in all its fullness. So, with tears of awe and joy I approach Him and know beyond doubt that I am made acceptable in Christ and can ‘Come’ exactly as I am. This is such a wonderful message, Addie. It will be writing itself on my heart and mind as I seek to explore the depth of its meaning over the months ahead. Thank you so much. You have blessed us beyond measure here, sweet sister 🙂

  14. I just love this because there are so many times I don’t want to go to God. Times when I feel messy, unsure, sad, anxious or broken. Such a good reminder that he just longs for us to come. Thank you for this post :).

  15. Okay, I’m just going to sit here and bathe in this grace for a second.

    Then I’m going to finally brush my teeth. At noon. Maybe.

  16. You know, I would normally say a hearty amen and holler my agreement. Normally, I would say that yes everyone needs to hear this and that I’m going to tweet it. Tonight, however, I just want to say thanks. I’m tired, dry and gasping for air. So tonight? Thanks, I needed that.

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  19. Late to this, but so glad I came. This is deep, important truth, truth that lots of us are trying to say well – but you, my dear friend, say it exquisitely. Thank you.

  20. Thank you for these powerful words but especially for the one word ‘come’. 🙂

  21. Oh my, this. I’m undone, washed over by His love, by His call.
    Thank you.
    So happy to be here, even if I’m diet Pepsi instead of diet Coke 😉

  22. First time to your blog….and I so needed this today. Thank you for your invitation to come.

  23. I want to cry over this because it is such good news. But my heart is burned and tired and its okay not to cry. Thank you for this beautiful reminder that Jesus takes me as I am. No matter how weary, how angry, how unsure of the next step… I just need to keep coming to the water.

    1. I know that feeling. Needing to cry but too tired and numb to cry. Glad you found a little bit of hope here. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Never read your blog before. This was.. for lack of better words… amazing. But really. Water to my freaking soul. Sharing with all my friends. Thank you for writing this. You’ve gained a new follower.

    1. Thanks so much Vicky. I’m so glad that this was meaningful to you. 🙂 Thanks for reading and for sharing. It means a lot.

    1. Been there, lady. In fact, there’s a chance I was up rocking someone at about 3:27 myself…though I can’t be sure. The nights tend to be a tired blur for me too. Thanks for the kind comment.

  25. Amazing grace. I’ve never read your blog before either, & it was just what my weary heart needed.

    1. In the book I quoted, the author talks about how we tend to have no problem singing those words, Just As I Am, but when it comes to the reality of prayer, we simply don’t believe them. I know it’s true of me. This post was my way of trying to figure out what that looks like and help myself believe it’s true. (So thank you. So much. :))

  26. I needed this, right now. I have been ashamed of my weariness and questions. My daughter sent me here, to this post, and I have been blessed. I would like to add you to my list of favorites on my blog. Weariness is compounded when we feel guilty for our weariness…Thank you for showing me that Christ loves me way more than the enemy wants me to believe.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind comment, Deborah, and for making me a “favorite.” What an honor. 🙂 Also, I love this line: “Weariness is compounded when we feel guilty for our weariness…” Yes.

  27. Well, I don’t know what I can add(your commenters are quite eloquent themselves!) New to your blog, and just so so thankful for finding this tonight, balm to a wounded soul. Your words are a blessing and I am so grateful.

    1. They’re they best, aren’t they? I have great commenters. So glad that you stopped by and that you were blessed. Thanks for the kind comment.

  28. Sigh.

    You know when you think you know something, you even preach it and often, yet you hear someone else say it in just the right way and it’s true all over again? You didn’t think you needed to hear it, to know it, but oh how you do. Desperately, you do.

    So, ok. I’ll come. And although I know this is true – all of it – there is a doubter in me that is saying “I sure hope you’re right about this.” I’ll bring her with me when I go.

    1. Happens to me all the time…which is why I think we so need community and each other’s voices. To remind us of the truths we think we know.

      Bring your doubter. She can hang out and smoke with my inner-cynic in the Girl’s bathroom while we find ourselves some healing.

  29. Absolutely beautiful. A wonderful reminder, that renews my anticipation for coming again tomorrow…whatever it may look like. Thank you.

  30. Thank you. I’ve been avoiding God because I can’t seem to summon the energy to read the Bible the ‘right’ way or say the ‘right’ prayers I’ve been taught, and I’ve been struggling because I’ve found more meaning and community in Nerdfighteria (see Vlogbrothers on Youtube) than in the Church. Thank you for the reminder and the call

    1. I have not watched Nerdfighters, though I’ve heard fabulous things about it. (Not much time for vlogs in my life these days.) But I know what it’s like to feel like Church is missing something. Like you don’t belong. Like it’s not what you need it to be. Hoping that someday, it will be. And for now that you can find a way to come as you are, in all of your weariness.

  31. Oh, Addie. Just come. This is such a good reminder. I am coming up for air after a long few weeks, and am so grateful to have read these words today. Thank you, Addie.

    1. Thanks so much Annie. I know what that’s like (just coming up for air a bit myself.) Thanks for the kind words.

  32. Hi Addie.

    Someone sent me a link to your blog and I love it. I’ve never written or “posted” anything on anybody’s site before but wanted to let you know your writing is so moving and real. So many Christian women, including myself, have walked in your shoes. We are lonely and hurting for whatever reasons and even though we are surrounded by “Godly” women we walk this painful path alone and afraid. We’re crying out for someone to help us or just speak a compassionate word to us but we suffer alone. Or at least that’s what Satan convinces us. We are never alone. When we come to the well, we who are weary and burdened, He brings us rest. He waters our parched and dry souls. He offers us whatever we need to find peace and joy. You wrote in another piece that after you had exhausted all the obvious resources for help you began to spiral down and it was a heartbeat that started your journey back. Isn’t it amazing how God knew what it would take to refresh your weary and grieving heart? God’s provision of life (your precious baby boy) does not explain away the sad question as to why women suffer alone. God’s intent was not for us to seek “man” for compassion or understanding or love. God designed us to be satisfied by Him and Him alone. Man will always disappoint us, always. Even that precious baby. You son may not disappoint you in a “devastating” way, but it will still be a letdown because he’s “man”. God wants us to depend on Him for everything. He never disappoints. I also believe that if you had not experienced this you might not be writing about it now and maybe, and it’s a big maybe ( but we can hope) someone, somewhere will reach out and “see” that one women who just doesn’t appear to be settled or seems like she’s struggling a bit. And maybe that woman screaming on the inside for someone to care will be “seen”. If not, then we go. Go to where He’s calling us. It doesn’t matter what we look like, where we are, what we think, or what we’ve done. He wants us just as we are. He says “Come”. So we go to where our hearts are healed and our soul is quenched and we are loved unconditionally.

    Thanks Addie. It’s comforting to know there are others that understand our pain or hurt or anger and your writings connect us, even if it is in the airwaves it still helps. Keep writing. He’s given you an incredible gift and you are blessing others by using it.

  33. you have left me speechless… this is so relevant to my life right now… thank you for opening your heart with your honesty… It’s as if you saw what was on my heart and wrote it all down just the way I would want to say it… God Bless You…

  34. I found your blog earlier this year. I know you probably hear this so many times, but I love your honesty, your heart. Some times, I feel you are a younger version of me–I hope that doesn’t sound egotistical–but I too walked away 30+ years ago, tired of being on fire and He brought me back and has been rewriting and rewriting my story. And I’m so grateful for grace, real grace, which is what I read here. Back on track, I had not read this entry till today in your reflections on 2013. I’m sitting here stunned and in tears because that verse, the one on being weary has been rolling around and around and around in my head and I’ve been calling out for understanding and it has seemed so elusive. I am weary, life is weary and everyone has a story and we could compare all day long as to whose weariness is the weariest and it doesn’t matter when you are weary. But today, I felt this entry was ordained and directed to a weary heart and soul. Thank you.

  35. Well said. We don’t come unless we are weary AND heavy laden. If we aren’t weary, we are certain that we can manage enough strength on our own to press on. Unless we have a load, we forget we are carrying what we cannot move by ourselves. Sometimes Christ joins us in the yoke to help us carry the weight. At other times, He lifts the weight off of us. Either way, He gives us rest from the pressure of thinking that it depends on us. It doesn’t. That rest is not intended to give us the strength to lift our load once more but to give us the energy to come again.

  36. You are Jesus with Skin on for this girl tonite. That is my favorite word Jesus said and I too, have written a lot about it. ‘Come’. Thank you. I appreciate you and your beautiful heart.

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