Matthew 11:30 has often been a kind of “North Star” for me in my ministry. According to Jesus, life with Him
should look something like this: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Whenever I find that my life doesn’t
match that description I know that I am somehow off-course. When I find myself off-course I need to stop and
get my bearings again. What follows here is not to be understood as if it were written by someone who has
arrived. I am speaking from the posture of still being an active learner.
What does being off-course feel like? The answer to that can be as varied as the individual asking the
question. First and foremost, knowing that I’m off-course means I have to take who I am seriously. I have had
to invest time and energy into understanding what makes me tick. Personality profiles like: Myers-Briggs,
Strengths Finder, and Grip-Birkman have been invaluable to me. They help me understand how to best
recharge myself. They have helped me think through what kinds of work feel heavy and what kinds feel light. I
have to take both kinds of work seriously. Some kinds of “heavy” work I can share with my team. Some kinds
of “heavy” work I can’t avoid at all. In those cases I can manage my time in such a way as to create a mix of
“heavy” and “light.” If I stop paying attention to this balance I start to feel off-course. My anxiety will grow and I
will quickly start to lose my way. Knowing what off-course feels like is an important and ongoing discovery for
How do I perform a course correction after discovering I am off-course? One of my first gotos is to ensure that I
am being disciplined in my spiritual practices. Things like regularly practicing Sabbath, spending time in prayer,
caring for my body, and feeding my soul are all too easily to push to the side when life gets busy. Sometimes
getting back on track is as simple as restoring these disciplines. Other times, there is something more
significant going on. A second place I look is to see whether or not I have begun taking on burdens other than
the ones I am expected to bear. These extra burdens are sneaky. They often take the watchful eye of my
accountability partner to help me notice them. Getting back on track often starts when I commit to being known
by, and sharing my burdens with someone else.
There is great power in talking about how it is with your soul. Finally, course corrections can mean being
willing to make more significant changes. Life proceeds in stages: from childhood, to young adulthood, to early
adulthood, to being middle aged, to later adulthood, to retirement, etc… Each of these different stages requires
something new from us. We have to adjust. Being willing to go deeper with ourselves and with God is the only
way to make the necessary adjustments. Sometimes course corrections require deep change and growth.
Jesus’ words about the easy yoke are a vital touchstone for me. They help me know what balance looks like.
They help me notice when I am off-course and they help me get back on track. I hope that this simple reminder
will help you find balance as well.
[Jared Siebert is the Director of Church Planting for The Free Methodist Church in Canada | [email protected]]