Off the Bench: come to Jesus and find rest

My heart pounds in my chest like a pep band bass drum, setting a tempo too rapid for this occasion—sharing dinner with family and friends. In this moment, my body occupies a seat on the bench. The bench is a challenging place. I watch the game blur in front of me, wanting to join in, but I still need rest from this hidden injury. This unseen wound is carved into my mind with the letters of depression and anxiety.

Coming off the bench and into the “big game” of everyday life makes my stomach churn with nausea. These thoughts are chanted from fans in the bleachers of my mind, What if I don’t know what to say tonight? What if people don’t like my answers? What if they think I look better, but inside I still don’t feel better? My body sweats, as if I am the one actually playing a real basketball game.

Apprehension swells when I think of engaging in conversation; I worry about participating in back and forth dialogue. These anxieties threaten to conquer me, making it impossible to hoist myself into the competition. And when I submerge to the base of my feelings, I am worried that if I share my anxieties, I will be rejected by those who I love.

In these moments, the response of others is outside my control; however, I can rest in the truth of God’s Word. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

—Matthew 11:28, NIV translation

In this passage, Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened.” He doesn’t say, “Come to me all you who are energized and perfect.” He wants us to bring our burden-laden selves to Him. When we do this, we can feel His rest enveloping the imperfections of our stories.

Deep breath.

I slowly rise off the bench and enter the game; my heart still pulsing adrenaline through my weary body. I can feel God with me through every conversation—He guides my hands and words, no matter how shaky and uncertain. Sometimes the expressions bubbling from my mouth are awkward, unsure, and heavy—the ball is fumbled and a turnover ensues. But Jesus is there, calling a time out, reminding me in a team huddle that I can come to Him with my imperfections and He is ready to welcome me into the most delightful rest I could ever imagine.

After the buzzer sounds, signaling the end of the big game, I am left sitting on the bench again; this time the bench looks like the cab of our silver truck, ready to make our way home from dinner. Anxiety blares across my shoulder, telling me that I am not enough. Anxiety whispers, You said too much. No one will ever understand. You are alone.

I crawl into bed, smoothing lotion over my legs and feet. You are worthy, I repeat over and over again, trying to dim the booming lies. The anxiety hangs heavy in the air, refusing to budge. Depression takes this as an invitation to remind me of the familiar lie, You are not worthy.

I am bone-weary, pain radiating from within. All I can do is tuck the covers underneath my chin and let tears roll down my face. I remind myself that I do not have to veil any of these burdens; instead, I exhale my burdens, letting them hover. And I come to Jesus, knowing that in His arms, regardless of if I can sleep, I will rest. Tomorrow I might be back on the bench recovering. Or I might fluctuate between playing and returning to the bench, trying to find my rhythm as I learn to play this game with a limp.

No matter where you find yourself in this lineup of living with depression and anxiety, let’s bring our burdens to Jesus and exchange them for rest. Let’s rest in Jesus together.

14 responses to “Off the Bench: come to Jesus and find rest”

  1. Oh my sweet friend!  I wish that I could find the right words to say to let you know how very worthy you are and to take away the worry that you aren’t enough.  You are one of the best people I know. You are caring and thoughtful and your smile is contagious. I’m always here for you.  Love you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much friend, your encouragement and support mean the world to me. Your comment brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for loving me so well. 💜😘


  2. I have been there and I know how this feels. Thank you for sharing, praying that The Lord will continue to comfort you and help you persevere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry to hear you have been here as well. It is so hard. 💔 I appreciate you sharing so vulnerably. In difficult moments, it is so helpful to know that I’m not alone and to also be praying for others who have walked a similar road. I will be praying for you. 💜


  3. God calls you worthy! You are loved. Such a great analogy. I’m so thankful that we can come to God with our imperfections and He welcomes us with open arms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this encouragement! What a blessing to me it is! 💜 I am also so grateful for
      God’s beautiful grace and rest. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! 💜


  4. Kristen O’Connor Avatar
    Kristen O’Connor

    Wow, this post makes me cry. Your honesty and your faith is such an encouragement to me. Thank you for sharing. I can relate so much to this. I was studying the story of Hannah this morning and in 1 Samuel 1:20 it says “It came about in due time…”. It reminds me that God has a timing that I don’t always recognize and that I should have patience and trust/ faith in Him while I wait. And your story is such an example to me of that kind of faith in the middle of the waiting/ enduring. Thank you Kristen♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, friend, thank you. 💜 thank you for taking the time to read and comment. You are truly such a blessing to me! I am grateful this was an encouragement to you. Thank you for sharing about your study—it is so encouraging to me to continue to endure and have faith. What a true blessing it is to encourage one another to keep the faith! 💜 love you, friend! 💜


  5. You are so vulnerable and yet so humble in your sharing! People need this. God is using you…that in and of itself is worthy! ♥️I love you and so thankful you are finding peace, joy and worthiness as you continue to heal. Your words are so beautiful in reflecting His grace and goodness!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awh, Becky! Thank you. 💜 thank you for taking the time to read, comment, and encourage me. It is such a blessing to me! 💜


  6. Your words are vulnerable and yet so humble. You are worthy! You are His! And although I have not walked in the darkness of depression and anxiety, I’m confident your words bring hope and encouragement to those who have! I love you and know He is using you and your writing gift to bring His glory and grace to a dark world! ♥️ Keep sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so so much. 💜 your encouragement means the world to me! Thank you. 💜


  7. I wish I could give you a hug right now!!! I lived with both depression and anxiety and for the most part have overcome it but I do have my moments and days. There is hope and you are sooo worthy friend. Thanks for sharing your vulnerability and know that I’m a great listener if you’d ever like to talk someday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Traci, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! It means so much to me! I am so sorry that you walked a similar road, but am grateful that you have mostly overcome it. I am praying that your moments and days of struggling become less and less. 💜I am grateful for your reminders of hope—thank you! And I might take you up on that offer of listening. Thank you! 💜


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: