by Janelle Knox

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?

Come to me. Get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30
(The Message)

I have a beautiful friend, who, when she checks in on me she asks not, how are you, but, ‘how’s your heart?’

It’s a simple shift to an age-old question that takes the focus off what I’ve been doing, and gets me to dig a little deeper, to peel back the layers created over the past few weeks or months and to enquire of myself … how IS my heart?

The question used to catch me off guard. At times I’d think, I can’t tell you that. I can’t possibly let you in on what’s really going on in my heart. There’s some stuff going on there, no one need know about. But now I treasure her taking the time to listen to how I really am. I know she’s not asking about my schedule, my ministry goals or my achievements, but life, the good, the bad and the sometimes hard to navigate ‘stuff’ we all encounter as we journey.

So today, I wanted to check in on you and ask, ‘how’s your heart, my friend?’

Has it taken on some hard things lately? Tackled hurt and indecision? Shame or guilt? Have you been shaken, stirred or turned upside down? Or is your heart overflowing with gratitude, joy, and peace, purposed for the journey ahead? How are you in the season you find yourself in? Not just the hustle these holidays – but the season of life you’re walking?

Are you excited for the future? Filled with new purpose and new goals? How has this year left you? Tired, worn out? Exhausted? Wondering how to move forward, and when your breakthrough will come?

There are pressures in life that God never intended for us. The pressure we feel to conform, pressures that make us feel we’re not enough. Pressures that tell us to hustle harder to be someONE and to make someTHING of ourselves. 

Among the good intentions and the goals, we may find ourselves pursuing a version of ‘us,’ that feels clunky and heavy, an identity that doesn’t quite fit. 

The Lord reminds us in Matthew 11 that His will and His way, bring us REAL rest. Not the nap on a Saturday afternoon kind, but the kind you live from.  Soul rest; a deep assurance that no matter what comes, you can have peace amongst the storms, purpose through the pain and a new strength where there was once only striving. Soul rest allows you to walk where He leads and go where He guides. It’s HIS grace for the journey. He is the ONE THING we’re seeking. 

I love this version of Matthew 11 because it plainly points out that God promises He’ll lay nothing heavy on us, nothing ill-fitting and nothing that’s too big or too much for us. Instead, as we walk with Him and learn from Him we gain strength and strategies for the road ahead.

Not seeking something that was never intended for us, but fulfilling the very things that were!

When we find our fit, our identity and purpose in Him, we discover we have all we need to fulfill the distinct plans and purposes for our individual lives.

We come to understand that His promises for our lives replace striving with purpose, the fear of failure or comparison with the assurance that we are each uniquely loved, created, planned, purposed and positioned – in this moment of history – to show the love of a gracious Heavenly Father, like no one else can. 

Our part, you ask?

Simply, it’s to walk with Him, keep company with Him. And to remember as we make room in our heart for more of Him, we’ll hear His gentle Spirit asking, ‘dear one, how’s your heart?’

Janelle Knox is an author, speaker and the founder of MICI and MICI Girls magazines. Passionate about helping you discover your identity in Christ, Janelle founded MICI (which stands for ‘made in Christ’s image,) to encourage you, ‘it’s in Christ we find out who we are and what we’re living for.’ You ARE MICI. You are uniquely created, purposed and positioned for such a time as this! You can find her online at www.micimagazine.com, facebook.com/micimagazine or instagram.com/micimagazine

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