Come, Take, and Learn
About the Guest
Author Hannah Anderson, who lives with her family in rural Virginia, tells of a season when the stress and anxiety of daily living kept her up at night. After considering Jesus' words about coming to Him and finding rest, Anderson realized that leaning into Christ and learning humility was the key to finding peace. Anderson joins Barbara Rainey and shares how God gave her the rest she yearned for, not by changing her circumstances, but by changing her.
Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul and All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment...more
Hannah Anderson tells of a season when the stress and anxiety of daily living kept her up at night. Anderson realized that leaning into Christ and learning humility was the key to finding peace.
Come, Take, and Learn
Bob: You know the passage where Jesus tells us that if we take His yoke on us, we’ll find rest? Just what does that mean? Hannah Anderson says taking on the yoke of Jesus means surrendering to His leadership / His lordship in our lives.
Hannah: Coming under Christ’s lordship—submitting to Him / surrendering to Him—was not a one-time act. It was surrendering to Him when my day didn’t go the way I thought it was going to. It was surrendering to Him when I reached the limit of my capacity to make something happen and recognizing His all-powerfulness to make anything He wants happen.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Wednesday, January 10th. Our host is Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. How does placing a yoke on your shoulders make your burden lighter? We’re going to spend time talking about that today with Hannah Anderson. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I always wonder about people who write books on humility; don’t you? [Laughter]
Dennis: That’s a great way to introduce our guest!
Bob: Well, stop and think about it—I mean, “I’m going to write the book on humility,”—I mean, “What’s that?”
Dennis: I’d say you better have a good amount of it, otherwise you’re in trouble. [Laughter] I want Barbara to introduce our guest.
Bob: —[whom] I’ve insulted at the beginning of the program. [Laughter]
Dennis: No. This really is about humility, but it’s a different take about an issue that women face today—and men, too, as far as that goes.
Barbara, would you do us the favor of introducing our guest?
Barbara: I would love to introduce my friend, Hannah, [whom] I met through the internet—we just met today, face to face, for the first time; but I heard about this book from a friend of mine. I was attracted to it, not so much because of the title, but because of the verse that’s the premise for her topic in this book, Humble Roots.
The verse that she uses as her jumping off point is where Jesus said to the people: “Come unto Me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I thought: “Oh, I need rest. I’m a woman, and I’m tired. I’ve always been tired, and I need rest.” I thought, “I want to hear what she has to say about finding rest,” because I have loved that verse; but I really didn’t find the rest part.
I got her book, and read it, and absolutely loved it. It resonated with me, even in this season of my life, where I’m not strapped with kids like I used to be. I know it would have resonated with me when I was at home, raising our kids, fulltime. So, I think it’s a book for women of all seasons and all ages; because I think women, in particular, tend to carry burdens in a different way than men do. We feel things differently. I think Jesus called to us to come to Him and find rest. It’s what we need.
I’m delighted to welcome Hannah to the broadcast today. Hannah and her husband live in rural Virginia. He’s the pastor of a church there—so that figures into her story. She weaves this rural environment in which they live into the story of Humble Roots. It’s a very woven-together story that she presents in this book. We’re delighted to have you.
Hannah: Well, thank you. I’m thrilled to be here. It is a very dangerous topic to tackle—it is humility. You’re absolutely right, Bob.
Bob: We’re still friends; aren’t we? Fist bump here.
Hannah: We are.
Bob: Okay; I’m just making sure.
Dennis: I’m just glad that your book’s not titled Humility and How I Attained It.
Hannah: Well, that was the working title; and the publisher axed it. [Laughter]
Dennis: You’re really speaking to the heart and soul of, not just women, but any person who is feeling stress, busyness, anxiety, and who is in need of coming close to Jesus Christ—and that’s for all of us.
Hannah: It is. I found that the message was for me first. I know other authors; and I talk about the fact that, so often, God calls us to a topic precisely because that’s what we’re dealing with; and it’s something we need to learn for ourselves first. As Barbara mentioned, my family lives in a rural setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I think, sometimes, when we hear that, we think of this very idyllic slow pace of life—we’re just kind of meandering through this beautiful space. But that was not what I was experiencing. I’m a mom of three kids / a pastor’s wife, and there had been a couple of years in my life where everything was good. I was full of good beautiful things to do—working in the church / working with my family—but I also had this profound and extended lack of peace—a restlessness / feeling overwhelmed—being driven and anxious.
Dennis: Were you tired?
Hannah: Exhausted! Part of it was I could never fall asleep. I would lay down in bed at night and my mind would race with all of the things that I had to do—all of the things I was responsible for / all of the things I couldn’t forget. As I was living through that, I began to listen to my friends, and they were saying the same things. One day, as I was in the Scripture—because I didn’t know what else to do with this / I really had no means of knowing how to deal with it—I came across the verse in Matthew where Christ calls us to Himself. Matthew 11—He says, “Come unto Me all you who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And like Barbara said, I stumbled across that and I thought: “Yes! This is exactly what I need. This is exactly what I want.”
But for some reason, I had never read past that. As I kept reading, the Holy Spirit began to unlock a part of the conversation for me that I had never seen before.
And Christ continues and He says, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,”—that word, “lowly,” is the word, “humble,”—“and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Something happened in those moments as I was encountering this Scripture. I didn’t know what that meant, but I knew this was a path that I needed to go down. I needed to figure out why Jesus said learning of Him / learning humility would result in rest. That kind of began the process of trying to answer the question of “What does humility have to do with the peace and rest that I’m longing for?”
Bob: You know, Hannah, you look at the cultural solutions to anxiety and to stress and it’s a day spa / it’s “me time”—
—all of the—you’ve got to get along / you’ve got to care for yourself. That’s almost the opposite of what Jesus is saying; isn’t it?
Hannah: Jesus is actually calling us to something. A lot of the times, when we’re overwhelmed with our lives, we think it’s because we’re doing too much; and so the solution is we need to stop doing something—either we need to learn to say, “No,” to something; or we need to have a vacation.
But God is not calling us away from things only to leave them behind. He’s actually calling us to Himself. He’s calling us to a new way of living. He’s calling us to a Person so that we can re-enter the lives He’s given us with peace. One of the things that I’ve found amazing about the process God took me through—not many things about my life changed / not many of my responsibilities changed—
—I still care for my children; I still work with the church; I still am in relationship with people around me—but by calling me to Christ and calling me to learn of His humility, He changed me rather than changing my circumstances. A lot of times, our solutions to anxiety and stress are about managing the circumstances in which we find ourselves rather than allowing ourselves to be changed in the midst of those circumstances.
Dennis: I love the invitation that He gives us—actually, it’s more of a command—“Come, take, and learn.” “Come to Me” He says. I have written in my Bible here: “Who else can make this kind of invitation?” Is there anybody that you know who can stand up in a crowd of a 1,000 people and say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest”?
I guess what I want to know is—practically-speaking: “How did it give you rest as you came to Him? How did that manifest itself?”
Hannah: Well, the first thing I had to do was to do what the Scripture says—is to take up His yoke. I think we often read this passage—and we hear this peace or rest, and it’s very ethereal / it’s very abstract—we’re kind of reaching out for this kind of emotional feeling. What Christ is actually calling us to is submission to Him.
One of the first things that I had to understand—and I lay this down pretty early in the book—that when Christ calls us to Himself, He’s offering rest. It’s an invitation; but as you said, Dennis, it’s a command.
It is a command to properly orient ourselves to His sovereignty. It is a command to properly put ourselves under His lordship / under His creator-ness and to submit ourselves to the place where we actually belong in this world.
I think that’s where the idea of humility comes in; because, so often, we’re navigating life as if we were God—we’re making choices / we’re making our plans—we’re responding to situations out of pride in the sense that we are wanting to control / we are wanting to ordain. That’s why it’s so important that, when Christ calls us, the first thing He demands of us is that we come under His yoke / that we submit ourselves to Him; and if we don’t do that, we can’t learn from Him.
Bob: Explain that metaphor; because a lot of people say, “Come under His yoke,” and they go, “All I can think of is eggs. I don’t even know ‘What is this yoke?’” [Laughter]
Hannah: So the yoke that Christ is talking about in this passage is a wooden yoke that a farmer, at this time period, would have put on an ox to plow his fields. What the yoke did was allow the farmer control over the animal. So rather than being allowed to run free—to go wherever it wants—the beast comes under the guidance and control of the master. In that work of plowing, the master is breaking up his field—he is getting the field prepared to receive the seed, and to flourish, and to bring forth abundance and goodness.
When Christ uses this imagery for the audience that would have heard Him on that hillside in Galilee, they would have known immediately that, when He says, “Take up My yoke,” He’s saying, “Come put yourself under My control.” So the very first thing that Christ calls us to, when He offers us this rest—it doesn’t come just by being in proximity to Him / like we’re around Him—it comes by submitting ourselves to Him and properly orienting ourselves to His lordship.
Bob: Now, Hannah, you had been walking with Christ for how many years when you wrote this book?
Hannah: Oh, probably 30 years.
Bob: So you had been under the lordship of Christ for decades.
Hannah: Yes; and chafed at it apparently. [Laughter]
What I had to grow in my understanding was that coming under Christ’s lordship—submitting to Him / surrendering to Him—was not a one-time act. It was surrendering to Him when my day didn’t go the way I thought it was going to. It was surrendering to Him when I reached the limit of my capacity to make something happen and recognizing His all-powerfulness to make anything He wants happen. And so, what I was growing into—and the rest that was on the other side of this mission—was directly related to my daily moment-by-moment ability to recognize His power / His limitlessness and my limitedness.
Barbara: One of the things that I enjoyed so much about your book, Hannah, was when you were telling the story of lying awake at night and you kept thinking of things that you had to do. You referenced this earlier, as we were talking; but your husband’s over there, sleeping like a log.
I remember so many times that has happened to me, through the years, when I’m lying awake at night / when I’m so tired; but I can’t go to sleep because I’m thinking of things. My husband, meanwhile, is over there, just conked; and I’m thinking: “This is so unfair! What is the difference between us?”
The way you described it really was what kind of got my attention in a way; because you said what you were wrestling with—I was wrestling with too—and that is the “shoulds.” I think that, especially for us women, we move into marriage and raising children—and we feel that sense of responsibility for their wellbeing / for their welfare—for feeding them, and clothing them, and teaching them correctly, and getting them to church on time, and all of those things that we feel responsible to teach. We begin to assume more ownership for that than we probably should—we think, “This is all on me.”
It’s a subtle shift that I think begins to happen—which speaks to you saying, a minute ago, that it’s a continual surrender—being under the yoke of Christ is a continual ongoing process. It’s not something that happens just once. I would love to hear you talk a little more about that; because I think that every woman listening to this broadcast understands what that feels like to be lying awake at night, thinking: “Oh my gosh. I should have done this,” “I’ve got to remember to do this tomorrow.” I think that pressure we put on ourselves to be more than we are and to carry more than we were meant to carry is, I think, the crux of what Jesus is saying: “You don’t have to carry all of that. If you’ll get under my yoke, I will carry it with you / for you. I will strengthen you.” To me, that was such an important part of what you were writing that I would like to hear you talk a little more about that.
Hannah: I think that was the most surprising part of this journey for me—was that I, like so many women who are committed to their families and committed to the work that God has called them to—I was looking at my life, and it was full of good things—
Hannah: —things that I wanted to be faithful to. I was not wrestling under a sense of “I want my own life, and I want to do my own thing.” I was not looking for an escape—I wasn’t dissatisfied with anything that God had brought into my life. I struggled with: “Why do I not have peace then? I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”
What God really revealed to me, and the Holy Spirit convicted me of, is that I was often entering into those callings with a lot of self-reliance. I was attempting to do these very good things in my own power.
This is where I was shocked to see pride as a source of my lack of rest, because I didn’t think of myself as a proud person. I think of a proud person—I think of someone who swaggers down the hall / someone who boasts—not someone who’s trying to do good things. What happens is—our self-righteousness and our pride is so subtle that it can take the good things we’re longing to do and turn us into little messiahs. What I saw had happened for me was that I was trying to save the world—I was trying to save my children’s world / I was trying to save the world of the people around me. There is one Savior, and it’s not Hannah Anderson.
Bob: Here’s what I hear you saying and kind of how I apply it in my own circumstance.
You get to the end of the day and you can ask one of two questions. Question number one is: “What did I accomplish today?” Question number 2 is: “Was I faithful today?” And if you ask, “What did I accomplish today?” you’ll wind up anxious and awake all night.
Barbara: —because you didn’t accomplish all you intended or wanted.
Bob: That’s right. There’s so much more that needed to be accomplished that you never got to. But if you ask the question: “Was I faithful?”—sometimes, the answer to that is: “No; I’ve wasted time,” “No; I was self-indulgent.” But it’s a very different question, and it leaves the accomplishment where it belongs—in the hands of the real Savior—rather than putting you in the position, where it says: “The weight of accomplishment is on me.” Jesus is the One who said: “You be faithful. I’m responsible for the increase in all of this.”
And so I think, for a mom or a dad, to begin to change the grading scale in your life.
You know, when I was in elementary school, we got grades for academic performance and then grades for behavior; right? Sometimes, I would get an okay grade in academics but not so great on the behavior side. Well, rather than saying, “My grade for myself today is based on ‘What were my achievements?’”—say, “My grade for my day is ‘Was I faithful to what God had called me to?’” If you can answer that with a “Yes,” you can sleep soundly that night.
Barbara: And I think, in addition to that, it’s also “Who am I pleasing?” because I think part of what I struggled with, as I was reading this part about the “shoulds” is, I was putting a burden on myself to be something that I, physically—I couldn’t do all of those things. I was really trying to please myself by being the best mom and all of those things rather than saying, “Jesus, how can I please You?” If that is my standard—my life/my daily activities are in light of what He’s calling me to do and “Am I pleasing Him?”—
—that’s really life-altering as well.
Dennis: And I think the message of this passage is the same one I read last night. Psalm 42 says “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” The message Jesus was giving is: “You can tell whose yoke you are wearing on the basis of what it weighs.” He said, “My yoke is easy and My load is light,”—that He invited those—who are heavy-burdened, who are downcast, who are in turmoil, who really may not even know all of what they’re not doing or feeling. And it’s at that moment—you don’t turn to a principle / you don’t turn to a book—you come to Him. He is the One who invites you: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden.”
And His promise is: “I will give you rest.” Your assignment is to take the yoke, as Hannah said—to be in submission and surrendered, over and over and over again, to the only One who is worthy of being surrendered to.
Bob: And it may be that there are people who have seen Hannah’s book and thought, “Well, I don’t really need a book on humility,”—which, by the way, if that’s your first thought, you probably need a book on humility; right?—[Laughter]—if you thought, “No; I have other things…”; but if we said you need a book that will help you know how to rest / that will help you deal with stress and anxiety in your life—
Barbara: Everyone will say, “Yes,” to that.
Dennis: —well, that will help you counsel your soul—the subtitle is How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul.
Bob: Exactly. We have copies of Hannah’s book in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. It’s available when you go, online, to order at FamilyLifeToday.com. Or you can call to order—800-358-6329—
—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.” Again, the website: FamilyLIfeToday.com. The name of the book is Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson. You can also order by calling 1-800-FL-TODAY.
You know, I’ve heard from enough listeners, over the years, about how conversations like the one we’ve had today can be just what a young exasperated mom / a frustrated dad—just what they need in the middle of their week / in the middle of their day to help them go, “Okay; I need to recalibrate my thinking / I need to counsel my own soul,”—like we were talking about, Dennis. This is our goal, here, at FamilyLife®—to daily provide you with encouragement, support, help, hope as you seek to live out your responsibilities, as a husband / as a wife, as a mom / as a dad. Our goal is to effectively develop godly families.
FamilyLife Today is one of the primary ways we do that. FamilyLife Today is now heard, not only on a network of radio stations all across the country, but a lot of you are listening to our podcast through our app on your mobile devices. We’re reaching more people more regularly thanks to those of you who help support this ministry and help cover the cost for producing and syndicating this daily radio program. We have monthly Legacy Partners who help with the financial foundation for this ministry; and we have those of you who will, from time to time, make a donation to support what you’re hearing on the air. We’re grateful for any of you who step forward to make a donation.
In fact, if you are a regular listener, and you’ve never donated, we’d love to have you join the team—it’s easy to do. You can donate, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call to donate: 1-800-FL-TODAY. If you want to find out about becoming a monthly Legacy Partner, we’d love to have you do that.
Again, there’s information, online, at FamilyLifeToday.com; or just ask about it when you call 1-800-358-6329—that’s 1-800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”
Tomorrow, we’ll talk more about how Jesus gives rest in the middle of our stressed-out frustrating existence as parents of young children. Hannah Anderson joins us again tomorrow. I hope you can be here as well.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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