I am continuing to participate in the Stressed-Less Living study over at Melissa Taylor Online. Check it out here!
Rest. In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. ~ Isaiah 30:15b (NIV)
I don't think I can say enough about this weeks' text. It speaks to me on so many levels.
First of all, I am tired. Bone weary. There are more days than I can count that I fall into bed, try to read and I wake up in the morning with my book on the floor beside me and I can't remember where I stopped reading. I come home from work and I'm not sure how I am going to face "being mom" for the next several hours and my patience is at a low ebb. I run and run and run and don't seem to get anywhere but weary and further behind. I read a text like this and I am overwhelmed with a sense of relief. It's possible not to feel this way. There IS a way to live differently. God has so much to offer me and rest is the gift I feel as if I need the most.
Repentance - when I first read this text at the beginning of the week, this word didn't leap out at me as much as it did as the week went on. My breakthrough came during my evening prayers on Tuesday night, I think it was. You know how there are friends who are people you like but don't really feel as if you connect with and then there are what I think of as "kindred spirits"? I am reasonably introverted and so I don't generally spend much time in the "friend" catagory, I'd much rather expend my people energy with those kindred spirits who I feel really know and get me. I've been forced to work on this over the past year, as in our circle, there is someone who I find I don't connect with and at times, it has been somewhat painful. She makes me feel very insecure and seems to trigger everything that can make me feel badly about myself. It's not deliberate on her part, she is not in any way a bad person, she and I, while on the surface it looks like we have a lot in common, see the word in a very different way and our values often clash (especially in the honesty vs. kindness department, she is someone who values honesty and I am someone of the "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it" ilk). I often come away from our conversations and even email exchanges feeling a bit diminished and then, also, feeling like I haven't treated her as kindly as I should because of the issues in me that she has triggered. It sounds small but for a brooder like me, it really weighs me down.
So, back to my revelation. I do evening prayers every night and as I did my prayers, I came to it feeling rather upset - I was feeling tension and hostility and feeling really guilty that I might have contributed to it. As I prayed, I asked God to forgive my selfishness and the fact that I was allowing my own insecurities to interfere with how I related to this person. I had not been the warm and supportive friend that I feel called to be. All of a sudden, it dawned on me (I can't explain it, my logical mind knows about forgiveness but my human heart often doesn't accept this great gift). It was over. I had given it to God, tomorrow was a new day and it was over. I was forgiven. I felt so relieved and lightened and unburdened. And, of course, a feeling of peace - that rest I crave. At that point, I truly understood that amazing way that repentance and rest are connected.
I don't know whether it is this study or whether it is something else but I have been feeling more centred this week. I am trying to do what needs doing and to release the things I can't control. One thing I can control is the amount of sleep I get and I have been working at getting to bed earlier, which certainly helps. I can't wait for next week and the next chapter of this book. I'm looking forward to reading what everyone else has to share!