Monday, July 04, 2011

His yoke is easy, His burden light

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

When I first started this blog it was only because I had a story I needed to tell. Our poor friends and family had little idea about what was going on with us.  As a fundamentally social creature who walks the fine line between introvert and extrovert, I wanted a designated place to share this new adventure with the people we know.  If anyone else was interested in our escapades, that was fine with me.  Perhaps we could offer some inspiration to others.  Maybe we could let people know about this gem of a place that is so often overlooked.  Maybe in doing the Lord's work to make our lives better, we could make another person's life better, too.

Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;

An enormous part of this adventure, the adventure of our entire marriage in fact, is the faith that my husband and I share.  The one we share with our children.  The one we attempt to cultivate and to live.  It is what brought us into our lifelong union with each other and what has brought us through our bevy of ups and downs.  It is an inextricable part of this very journey and so it easily became, or really always was, a natural part of this blog.  Reflecting on this new phase of our life helped me to appreciate my faith more deeply.

to be understood as to understand;

But then something happened.  Instead of just telling our story, I got caught up in blogging.  Being a blogger.  Until February, I didn't even know there was any such thing as a "blogging community".  Until March, I had never heard of a "blog hop" or a "link-up".  But because I am a rule lover and a people pleaser, the minute I discovered them, I decided I had to start following the rules and pleasing the people.  What if I had been alienating people?  What if someone was getting offended?  What if people stopped liking me because I wasn't doing it right? 

to be loved as to love;

Well, it's been a few months since I started doing it right and now everything feels very wrong.  On the one hand, I have 'met' a truly amazing group of people.  I've discovered wonderful writing and incredible faith.  I've learned new things and looked at things in a different light.  I've come to appreciate my considerate husband and helpful children even more.  On the other hand, I feel paralyzed.  The whole idea of rules and guidelines and statistics and having a blog with broad appeal has turned what was an exciting, cathartic activity into something that feels forced and inauthentic.  As a sweet friend has so astutely observed, it's as if I've begun to blog out of fear instead of hope and trust, which goes against my very philosophy of life.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

At the same time as I was mulling these myriad elements, I was also meditating on yesterday's Gospel reading from Matthew:

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.

I sure have been feeling labored and burdened, and a little rest seems exactly what I need.  But how?  How did it really apply to me practically in this exact circumstance?  I prayed all day.  And then in the evening I read this post by my friend Allison and it all became clear.  She and I had been meditating on the exact same passage and although we had come to totally different realizations based on our different needs in life, her post helped me to solidify what I already knew.  I had been carrying the yoke of a thousand different people.  I had been trying to learn from them.  And that yoke was not easy.  That burden was not light.

I am ready to take back that easy yoke.  His light burden.  It is our birthright as children of God to travel through life without paralyzing confusion.  We should not  feel pulled in a hundred directions.  There is only one direction: toward Him.  There is just one yoke and one burden and it is neither heavy nor hard.  I just have to keep my eye on the prize.

And it is in dying that we are born to 
eternal life.

For the full text of the prayer by St. Francis of Assisi, click here

post signature


  1. Dwija, we are SO SO SO on the very same page. It's almost frightening. Lately my life is ruled by statistics and page views and bounce rate. My entire mood can be determined by an uptick or downturn. It's not why I began writing. I write because I love to write. At least that's what I thought. Now it all seems so demanding. If I don't have something to say I panic. I find myself searching every situation for material instead of enjoying the moment.

    Maybe I should pull all the statcounters from my page and just write what I feel inspired to.

    Thanks for this reminder.

  2. I think it's so funny (as in, peculiar-funny) that you are posting this today. On Friday, dh and I were talking about this very phenomenon. Actually, I was trying to explain it to him: the feeling of obligation to "produce" posts according to others' schedules, the duty to read others' blogs everyday, the panic over coming up with pithy comments to leave, etc.
    Because he is someone who is fully secure in himself, he doesn't really "get" any of this and was trying to understand why I would feel the choking hand of pressure whenever I think about all of it. But, what you say is 100% correct, Dweej! We need to worry about only ONE opinion, ONE direction, ONE deadline. We need to worry only about impressing/disappointing ONE being.
    On a side note, it has always mildly bothered me that people who read my posts are called "followers".... But, that a whole "notha" subject...

  3. I first started reading your blog after your 1.22 post about Jesus wearing polyester shorts. Since then you have shared so much that feeds my spirit through him that I always look forward to coming back. I started my blog in Jan. too, and since then the blog has morphed a couple times as I try to maintain my focus and stay healthy with it. You do good works, thank you for sharing them :)

  4. I am of a different faith. But I understand the place from which you come with this post.

    I took time off this weekend, unplugging from the Internet completely. Blogging, still fun, social media, still enticing - but I was exhausted. I felt guilty for spending so much time online with people I only know virtually, which I felt I could put into people I know in real life. So I unplugged. And it felt good. And right.

    I am a blogger, but I'm a wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend first. Stats and all that stuff? I haven't looked at them in a long while. I have stopped worrying about followers, blog hops. It's too much like work. We should be doing this because we want to, not because we are obligated to.

    I am glad you're taking back the easy yoke. We all should.

  5. You are right on the mark - forge ahead and look to Jesus! HE is all we need. I put the flags out this morning and said a prayer for our nation. God bless America! Bless you and your family!!

  6. I totally understand what you are saying. I was obsessed with my stats for a while, even though I don't have many followers. It became addicting and I tried to produce posts at regular intervals to see if I could keep those page views steady. Like it mattered! This is not my job, I am doing it for fun! I thought. I do have to say though that you seem to have a special gift and I honestly think you could make a very good living through blogging or writing in general....I don't think you need to post every day to be successful. I think if you write for enjoyment and when you feel moved to do so, you will still have a big following. I still think you could write a book!

    for some reason this post didn't show up in my reader....not that you need to take the time to go fix it or anything:) Enjoy the holiday!!

  7. Totally get where you're coming from, Dweej. I had to give up the whole "must be successful blog!" attitude a little while back. Not that I don't still sometimes stress over stats and stuff...but I was posting solely what I thought what others wanted me to post in order to gain readers and followers. I was essentially not writing what I wanted to write but what I thought people wanted to read. Since my decision to post more fiction and less "bloggy" stuff, I feel that I've lost some interest, lost some readers, but ultimately, CNG is mine, and it will be what I want it to be...not something to please others. I do too much people pleasing in other aspects of my life. In this one, I take ownership; I do what I want.

  8. I will continue to read, even if you write about clipping your toenails or some other random topic! I love your blog because I think it is so real! I am so glad I found you!! God Bless and Happy 4th!

  9. Dweej: See, this post ministered to me today. God is using you across the internet and the miles. I'm glad you articulated what my heart has been struggling to say too. I don't often talk about my faith and I do wonder why. It's who I am in HIM that matters.

  10. For a while there, I was so eager for followers, and I've blogged about this, I would write to people as ask them to follow me. Oh dear!

    I started doing a few hops, but I was put off by people who "follow back," 'cause I'm elitist enough to want people to follow/read because they like the things I post.

    Then a month ago or so, I realized that many followers never look at my blog. Three years ago, I started my blog to keep in touch with girlfriends and family, yet they were not often reading it. BUT, I did collect a select group of cyber-friends who would read and comment often.

    They have become important to me.

    So I ditched the followers gadget, and I don't "do" hops (except for the shoe one where I "met" you), and now I write about God whenever I want to--even if it's not popular. I don't need to go to blogging conventions. I like sitting with my laptop and just reaching out to people I want to say hi to and who want to hear from me.

    It's all for Him, but it's okay to write about "dumb" stuff too, even God likes to laugh!

  11. Thank you guys. All of you! You are the part of blogging that I am so thankful for. Insightful comments from caring people. I love reading your points of view and getting your feedback.

    And I know for a fact that God likes to laugh. I mean have you ever SEEN a cow run? Voila. Divine humor right there!

    Hope you all are enjoying your holiday :)

  12. been there done tht. :) I actually ended an old blog I had because I realized I was focusing on the wrong things all of a sudden. I now have my current blog where I really try to remember that I don't HAVE to post something today...if I don't have anything to write about. :)

  13. I completely understand! I have started to lose focus as well, and it's becoming very exhausting. When I started this blog, I was ok if people didn't read or comment because I was really writing for myself. I liked what I wrote and that's all that mattered. Lately, however, I've been obsessed with getting more comments, posting about things I feel other people would enjoy, and also posting almost every day. I'm losing track of what is important to me, and I can't let that happen.

  14. i kind of know the feeling. i started a blog almost a year ago (on tumblr), with the sole purpose of letting it be an outlet of those ideas and thoughts of mine that would be too lengthy or uninteresting to share on facebook and twitter. soon, i found myself following other blogs and watching who'd 'like' and 'reblog' my stuff!

    stay humble and prayerful, and let God take care of the rest!

  15. Dwija, thank you thank you thank you. I have been struggling with writing more about my faith, my recent conversion to NFP etc etc and have been hesitating because I didnt want to alienate potential followers now that I have gotten wrapped up in this blogosphere of craziness. I have been feeling soooo guilty about it and your beautiful beautiful post hit the nail on the head and came as an answer to frequent and fervent prayers. You are the best. Thanks for sharing your story, your faith and your humor you are my inspiration to start doing the same. Happy Fourth to you and yours!

  16. Thank you for saying all that, Steph! I love reading your blog and keeping up with your adorable family. That fat chubby chubberson baby of yours. All those good things. Let's throw caution to the wind together!


  17. Well, you could do what I do and view social media as the junior high of technology.

  18. (Haha! Mollie you are funny!)

    Dweej. Dude. Do you realize how many lives you change? "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." :) Uncanny quote that came to my mind just now about you, because...

    It's a scripture from the LDS additional testament to the Savior, the Book of Mormon. ;D! Yeah, that's right, I'm a Mormon people! Haha, you see Dwija? You inspired me to go ahead and tell you what I was thinking of, despite the fact that I hesitated a little, imagining people reading my comment and going, "Eeek! A Mormon? Better stay away from HER blog!"

    Haha! Anyway, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by my fear of public scrutiny... You are changing lives, one (seemingly to you) small and simple thing at a time. Look at how many people - including myself - are touched and inspired so deeply by your beautiful words!!!!

    The whole scripture goes like this: "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." (Alma 37:6)

    Well Dwija, you ARE wise and you are NOT confounded. Whoa. And yes, you do have a gift. An incredible gift, girl! Obviously He gave it to you for this very reason, to lead others to Him, and not to lead you to worry or stress. The fact that you recognize this and grab it by the horns? That is something to be applauded and imitated by all.

    ...But no pressure. ;D

  19. I'm guessing we all go through this struggle at some point. I know that I've already had many ups and downs with blogging. I've decided that if it's something I want to reread or share with the littles later in life, it's worth posting.

  20. Get outta my head! I've had this exact feeling about Twitter. I realized that I'd lost contact with the people that I used to talk to all the time, the ones I had come to care about for various reasons... Last night I started culling my Twitter feed and will continue to do so until I get back to a manageable number so that I can reconnect with my friends. I miss them terribly.

  21. Ah, Dwija! I, too, felt Sunday's readings keenly. One of the things I love about our faith is how we're all on the same liturgical page. The communion of saints is so tangible sometimes, and so powerful! I don't know what else to say about this post other than what's already been said, and I have a feeling you don't need to hear it anyway. You're an inspiration. And you're awesome, and I just love you!

  22. I get this. Completely.

    Great post.

  23. I put my computer down and stepped away after I read this post. And I picked up a book on homeschooling that came in the mail last week. I'm trying to get better at making myself put aside time for reading books because I've got away from it too much. But then whoa... the book starts off with the same passage from Matthew!

    So this is kind of off topic; but I thought that if you're still mulling over the whole homeschooling idea that maybe you want to check out this book. Not that I want to add any more things to your plate right now; but I don't want to ignore the coincidence either because I find God often gets my attention by just that kind of coincidence. So take it or leave it but here's a bit from A Little Way of Catholic Homeschooling by Suzie Andres that I thought you'd appreciate:

    "What do we know as we go to our little duty, our little love? We know that if God has given us children, then He has given us the job of providing for their education. We know that we often feel burdened and even exhausted with this charge. And we know that 'It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what He says.'

    He says that His yoke (our work, done in union with Him) is easy, and His burden (which He shares with us in our daily duties) is light. How can we, alongside St Therese, find a way to make our children's education light and easy? For us and for them? The purpose of this book is to introduce Catholic unschooling as a lighter and easier way to educate our children. For myself and for the other contributors to this volume, unschooling has been a godsend.

    There are many ways to educate our children, and I am firmly convinced that God intends there to be many ways. Hi creation is so varied that it would be a bizarre aberration if nature suddenly were, in this area of education, completely simple. God's perfections exist in him simply, but we His creatures are limited, and so we express his beauty and goodness in manifold ways. Hence my first suggestion to parents is not "Unschool!" (which doesn't sound much like a suggestion), but rather, "Seek with St Therese the easy way, the way that most comfortably fits your family. Believe Jesus and let His yoke be easy, his burden light."

    Unschooling has been the easiest and most comfortable fit for my family. I knew it was right for us, becasue it was the educational approach that chased away my fear and spoke to me of love.

    [. . .]

    Spend time listening to Him, and let Him tell you what he desires for you and your family. It may be unschooling, it may be a formal homeschooling program, it may be something entirely different. Whatever it is, you will recognize it by the peace it brings to you and your children. Do not settle for anything less."

    Isn't that just so beautiful? I had to share it with you here so that everyone could see. It just fits so perfectly with what you've written here.

  24. I'm so sorry you were struggling!! I hope you find your peace, and I hope you keep blogging ABOUT finding your peace. XOXO!!!

  25. Melanie- how wonderful! I don't believe in coincidence either. I believe that God is always finding ways to guide us and if we are WILLING to see His hand in all things, we will start to do so.

    What a fabulous excerpt. I may need to get my hands on that book! Thank you so much.

  26. I totally feel you :) On the weeks I let myself "go light" on the blogging I am so much happier. Do what makes you happy. Happy Dweej = great posts and that's why we're all here, to share in your happy and spontaneous and wonderful life. And you can't do all that chained to a computer!! Enjoy yourself

  27. LOL And this is why I no longer blog, LOL.

    People ask me all the time, the people who used to be avid readers of a blog written by a girl so long ago that I dont think she was really me.

    Sometimes the all consuming tasks in our lives that were placed to pass the time, try to take all of our time and then before we know it, we are so busy talking about life, and talking about things we love, and talking about the cuteness and the love and the magic of the world, that we arent really LIVING it anymore!

    Enjoy your husband and your children, your home and your garden and the lovely lands filled with rich bounty to provide!

    Sharing your life and your family with the community should always be something you are excited to do, never an obligation.

    God bless!! <3

  28. I always told myself if blogging felt like "work" I would stop. So far so good.
    When I started blogging I wanted to have as many "followers" as I could get. I would check my stats every half hour. I'm beyond that now. I think its a trap we all get caught up in at the start.
    I like the community I belong too. I like to add new folks as well. If I do, great! If I don't I will live.
    Great post!

  29. I love this! I know I'm taking a million years to comment on it, but I couldn't let it go un-commented! Because I love your perspective and I think you're so right. This should be fun and not stressful. I blog because it makes me happy to write it all out and feel connected to awesome people who buy houses of the internet. Not because I need something else to stress me out in my life!

  30. BTW I just HAD to reference this post in my post today. You make such a difference in my life!


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