“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)
Did you know you had an empathetic teacher?
Our interview with Gunnar Simonsen last night on BlogTalkRadio is a “must” podcast for all of us. I’ve heard it twice now and I will listen again. It’s all about change. In his own words, “In three years, every last thing in my life has changed.”
Change is difficult to do. We all have things in our lives that need to change. Nobody’s perfect. Nobody has arrived. And in the process of coping with ourselves and our past and present circumstances, there are bad habits, hidden hurts, secret sins, toxic relationships, and dangerous addictions that need to change, but how do we do it? Change can seem impossible.
For Gunnar it was a combination of things — counseling, a 12-step program, and removing himself from a toxic relationship were among other things that helped — but he gives the real credit to “learning from the Lord.” Familiar as many of us might be with the first part of verse 29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” the next part, “for I am gentle and humble in heart” had escaped him, Gunnar said. It was that gradual process of being taught by the Lord with His gentle, humble heart that made the difference. That is not a taskmaster to change, it is an understanding, empathetic teacher. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Part of Gunnar’s change was to lose 100 pounds. For too long he had turned to food for comfort. Someone asked him how he did it. They surmised he must have used a lot of determination. Gunnar said no, it was forgiveness — forgiving the people in his life who had hurt him, and then believing his own forgiveness from the Lord. It was always the inner changes that spread to the outer ones. Self-acceptance, love — believing he was loved by God — were all a part of the change. The key was, and he quotes Bob Marley, he didn’t change himself as much as he found himself. He found his true self as loved by God.
Look at the picture of Gunnar above; now there’s a happy man. Newly married only a month ago, in addition to his own daughter, he is now the instant father of three boys adding lots of new challenges. But he will learn, because he has a gentle teacher who is humble in heart.
Gunnar has shared that his gift is encouragement and you will find in listening to our interview how true that is. I have been immensely encouraged towards changes I need to make in my own life, and listening for the third time has given me some steps I can make towards that end. I urge you to listen and find the same. Just click on Gunnar’s picture above to link to the show, and listen to our show next week because he’s going to be back to pick up where we left off.
And remember: Easy yoke, light burden. And the teacher understands. We have an empathetic teacher.