Breathing Room Week 1: Count the Cost

Breathing Room is the space, the gap, the margin between where we’re living our lives, and our limits. We all have limits; nothing is impossible for God, but some things are impossible for us, and we live within our limits. As we come to understand how to live within our limits, we have greater wisdom of heart to actually live a life with breathing room. Our culture will try to push us to our limits. Sometimes in life we can so easily drift into periods where we are just overwhelmed, living at our limits or even beyond them. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” When your life is overwhelmed, Jesus invites us simply to “Come to me.” Maybe this means simply closing our eyes in prayer, and saying, “Jesus I’m coming to you for rest; I need rest.” Maybe it’s going on your knees to the church or to the Blessed Sacrament in the Adoration Chapel. We have to come to him in some way when we feel overwhelmed. Jesus’ “yoke” has a double meaning in this passage – first, a yoke is put onto two animals. A yoke lessens the burden of each individual animal, and it enables more work to be done. In other words, Jesus can help to carry our emotional and spiritual burden. Another meaning for “yoke” is the content of the teaching Jesus is giving us. Jesus is meek and humble of heart, and he’s saying here to learn to be lowly and humble, in the face of the attacks of this world. Jesus literally had the world on his shoulders, and he did this thorough gentleness and humility of heart. Jesus is teaching us to learn to be like him: to rely on him, just as Jesus relies on his Father. When we “yoke” ourselves to him, our lives will feel lighter. Our lives will feel less burdensome if we carve out time every day to give to him, and sometimes our lives feel so overwhelming if we don’t take time to spend with him. Questions for Small Groups:

  1. Last week, we talked about counting the cost of the drains on our time and money. Did you learn anything this past week about your schedule or workload or finances?

  2. What does it look like for you to come to Jesus? How do you best connect with Jesus?

  3. What burdens are you carrying right now? What would it look like for Jesus to lighten your load?

  4. Read aloud Matthew 11:29. Why would learning gentleness and lowliness help you have more margin in your life?

  5. Is there something in your schedule or financial burden or emotional burden you should subtract from your life? What are you carrying that Jesus doesn’t want you to carry?

  6. How does having a childlike faith and trust in our heavenly Father help us to establish more breathing room?

With blessings,

Fr. Reichlen

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Church of St. John 

Love God, Love People, Make Disciples

Church of St. John

570-223-9144 Ext. #2

5171 Milford Rd.

E. Stroudsburg, PA 18302

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