Get Rid of Your Stress by Giving Up Control
by Rick Warren — March 9, 2023
From The Life You Were Meant to Live
“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 11:29-30 (NIV)
If you’re living life on overload, here’s one reason why: You’re trying to control too much. You think it all depends on you. You believe things like, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me. I’ve got to hold it all together. I’ve got to make it all work.”
Friend, you are not the general manager of the universe. The greater your need to control, the more stressed you’re going to be in life.
Jesus has a different plan for you: “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 11:29-30 NIV).
You say, “Wait a minute. Take something else on? That sounds like a burden. I don’t need to take on more. I’m already carrying way too much!”
Let’s take another look at what Jesus is saying in Matthew 11 when he tells you to take his yoke on yourself. If you didn’t grow up on a farm, you may never have seen a yoke. A yoke is a single piece of wood that brings two farm animals together, so they can share the burden of a load. A yoke is not a harness. When you put a harness on one animal, it has to pull the whole load. But with a yoke, you team up two or more animals, so the load is shared; it’s lightened. A yoke makes life easier on the animal, not harder.
When Jesus tells you to take his yoke upon yourself, it’s like he’s saying, “I never meant for you to carry all your problems by yourself. Let me help you! Team up with me, partner with me, and I will help you carry the load.”
If you feel stressed right now, it means you are not yoked to Jesus Christ. Stress is a warning sign. It tells you that you’re trying to control things and carry too much on your own.
Every time you get disconnected from Jesus, the stress goes up in your life. You may be a follower of Jesus Christ, but if you’re overloaded at this moment, you are not yoked up to him.
But every time you get reconnected and yoked up, Jesus helps you pull the load. And your stress goes down.
It’s tempting to think that the antidote to stress is escape. But the problem is that stress is in your mind—so you take it with you wherever you go. You can be just as stressed lying on a white sandy beach as you are right in the middle of your problems at home.
The answer is to give up control, to accept the yoke of Jesus. And when you do, God will give you peace.
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