As nurses and nursing students, we eat, breathe, and sleep the nursing lifestyle. It often feels as though nursing is everything. As a student, my entire life revolves around my future career. I love the passion and care for serving others, the desire for preserving people's lives. But honestly, I do not love the consequence of a hurried and unrestful life I have created by making nursing my main goal.
In the nursing world, we normalize the lack of sleep, the constant stress and pressure to perform, and the resulting emotional and physical tolls on our bodies. We create social media accounts to laugh off the struggles and normalize the reality of this lifestyle. We talk about the exhaustion and pressure with our peers but do not discuss how to lighten the load. Weariness and life burnout begin here.
I don't want to burnout—does anyone? I love my life and my career choice and I want to stay fueled and passionate. But I know if I begin to accept a hurried and stressful life, I am headed toward the path of weariness. These words from Jesus have altered my reality.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)
Read that again, slowly. Jesus is inviting us to a life of peace and rest. During Jesus' earthly time, each rabbi had a yoke, his set of teachings on how to live. Jesus, too, had a yoke. These teachings provide us with instruction regarding how to live, yet ultimately living to make Jesus known. Matthew 11 records Jesus' offer of an invitation to take up his yoke. His yoke allows us to experience a life of peace and rest for our souls, a yoke that is easy and light. Jesus completely understands the stress and weariness our lives bring. Through inviting us to take up his yoke, Jesus encourages us to live as he did and experience a life filled with grace, rest, and satisfaction: a life that glorifies God.
When I hear of a stress-free, restful life, I think, I will never be able to obtain that. I accepted the demanding, hurried lifestyle of nursing school/working as a nurse. Is this really how I want to live?
If we desire rest and peace, we must reevaluate how we live. What sacrifices and additions must we make to accept the yoke Jesus offers and adopt his lifestyle? If we read through Jesus' life in the gospels, we discover Jesus was unhurried, present in every situation—exhibiting love, peace, patience, and kindness. Living as Jesus did does not negate the passion of a demanding career. What must change are our hearts and mindsets.
As a nurse, be present where you are. While at work or school, be present with your patients and co-workers/peers, loving and seeing them as Jesus does. At home, be present with your family and friends, encouraging and spurring them on to a life with Jesus (Hebrews 10:24). Cultivate the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Make sacrifices to allow time to be refined by the Holy Spirit; meditate on the Bible (Psalm 119:15). Soak in the lifestyle of Jesus, making him your model and source of life (Philippians 2:3-8). Allow the realities of his peace to overflow in and through you (Isaiah 26:2).
We cannot escape the craziness, busyness, and stress that life brings. But Jesus offers the most restful gift: a new way of life. Jesus's yoke is not an escape, it is equipment to guide and teach us how to be human, how to live like Jesus. How to find rest for our souls. Accepting this gift is accepting true and abundant life. I am not sure about you, but this sounds pretty good to me.
Do Not Push
“Most of the things we need in order to be fully alive never come in pushing. They grow in rest” (p. 121). Mark Buchanan