Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Have you ever needed something, known exactly where to find it but when you get there it’s juuust beyond reach?
I go to where it is, stand on the ends of my toes, convinced that, though it’s at a distance, I can reach it. I stretch and can feel it with the tips of my fingers. I scratch at it, hoping to snag a seam or a piece of the item and draw it back to myself but, alas, it remains exactly where it is (or I accidentally push it further away). So it often is with me and peace or is that trust? Eh, I’ve heard it both ways.
In my time with Heavenly Dad, the devotional Wisdom Hunters asked me the question,”Are your feelings submitted to your faith in God?”
Is it just me or are you asking the same question in your head that I am: who takes the time to run every single feeling through a meter to determine if the feeling is based on faith? That sounded too KJV for me(please don’t be offended, I just have a hard time getting past the “thee’s and thou’s” and remembering it is a conversation Heavenly Dad is having with me.) ESV is my communication language of choice/love.
“Faith based”: I need to break it down (yes, now Vanilla Ice, the rapper, is running through my pathetic mind, sigh). When a feeling emerges, particularly when something negative happens with another person, I have a “feeling.” When this happens, especially a not-so-positive one, do I instantly react reflecting the ugliness or with a verbal zinger comeback? Maybe later I explain or justify why what I did was actually ok, or at least it wasn’t “ALL my fault”, winky, wink.
Second option, the faith based one: do I take a breath and evaluate,”Ouch! That hurts! Breath…Everything is going to be ok, period. Is there something in this I’m supposed to learn, change about me, or could this be a slight course correction?” Could it possibly mean I just don’t accept constructive criticism well? The only way to learn how to react better/appropriately for that one is to receive a lot more of it (experienced that one this year, it was a doozy, buuuut then again, maybe it’s not yet over. Ugh).
I need coffee…lots of coffee, to take my fury kids out as they are crossing all eight legs and doing the “wee wee” dance, and to be honest, pray through this.
“Dad, what are you saying?”
Coffee is brewed, in my cup, steaming, pups have been pottied and are snuggled in for sleep, for extra comfort, a candle lit so I can watch the reflection of the flame dance across the bench and Heavenly Dad gave me the holy elbow in the ribs with this:
Ephesians 4:31-33 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Confession: I fail more than I succeed in hitting the pause button on my feelings and reactions. With my shortcomings, I also tuck away a little “extra” for later, a smidge of bitterness or resentment on an imaginary score card. This can be presented later as a “holy reminder” when I feel it is justified. A bit “Holier than Thou” in the attitude, aye?
Dad went on to say this:
Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Crap. He’s saying what I’m looking/reaching for is a peace and calm that can only be attained through constant forgiveness (keeping a clean slate) BUT now He’s saying I’m supposed to act like it never happened??? What the heck?
Well, I justify, He is God and has the best “forgetter” ever…right? The corner of Heavenly Dad’s mouth slump with that selfish thought and He pops in Ephesians 5:1-2
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
So much for doing,”my own thing.” I am suppose to follow His example with “forgive AND forget.”As if this entire time wasn’t convicting enough, Heavenly Dad gave me the story behind Matthew West’s song, “Forgiveness” about a woman and a family who truly did the impossible.
With that, the slate with tally marks, not only was wiped clean but hit the cutting room floor, splintering into thousands of unworthy pieces.
Until next time: Blessings!