“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bitterness can be associated with unforgiveness. It seldom exists in isolation, but in relationship. It’s an unhelpful emotion that keeps us stuck. When left unaddressed, its root runs deep, destroying much in its path. At the first sign of resentment, we do well to ask God to help us forgive and trust him to care for our wellbeing.
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. -Hebrews 12:15
*Psalm 61:2 “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
TRUTH: get to the rock (God) that is higher than me, and bigger than me, allows Him (God) to change my perspective. He is God. He is with me. He has it all. All of it.
*Proverbs 4:25-27 “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; keep your feet from evil.”
TRUTH: do not be distracted. Stay the course. Stop gazing at life, and glancing at God. Instead. Start gazing at God, and glancing at life! Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness. -George MacDonald
I was looking through my book of quotes and this one got my attention. I believe The Bible would refer to “sacred idleness” as the Sabbath. But what exactly is Sabbath?
My husband John and I were debating this one night. Are picking up a few things at the grocery store or Home Depot while we’re in town after church considered Sabbath? I was perturbed so I prayed about it. What should our rest look like? The next morning in my devotional, I read this from Rabbi Abraham Heschel:
Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath, we especially care for the seeds of eternity planted in the soul. -Rabbi Abraham Heschel
I don’t know if God is concerned about groceries and household project shopping, just like Jesus told the man he healed to “carry his mat”, but I have a feeling that He wants my Sabbaths to include “sacred idleness” that “cares for the seeds of eternity planted in my soul”.
Your Fellow Sojourner,
May this day bring sabbath rest to my heart and my home.
May God’s image in me be restored, and my imagination in God be re-storied.
May the gravity of material things be lightened, and the relativity of time slow down.
May I know grace to embrace my own finite smallness in the arms of God’s infinite greatness.
May God’s Word feed me and His Spirit lead me into the week and into the life to come.
Peter Greig, A Sabbath Prayer
Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
I find it so easy to forget that God's primary purpose for me is not my comfort. It is that I might know Him. I love this quote from C.S. Lewis because it highlights the fact that it is in the midst of my pain and suffering that God is doing the most important thing.... drawing me to Himself.
I love the night time, the peace that comes with it, the stillness in the air, there’s something about it. On most nights, after my daughters are in bed, I like to go outside with my dog with no plan but to pray, reflect, and think. I must admit, in my life there have been times that I have felt hopeless, I have felt hurt, and overall just down. I also know that there are so many people who struggle with mental health issues - depression, anxiety, chronic stress, etc.
One night, these things were on my mind, and I had the thought of how hectic our culture and society is. We want things to happen instantly, we are bombarded with news (oftentimes bad news) everywhere we turn! We can buy things with “one-click.” You can order food from your phone and it shows up at your door within minutes, no more waiting in lines! We have been so accustomed to immediate results and information that we forget things take time, especially when it comes to feelings of hopelessness and hurt.
Hurting, pain, grief, etc. is linear, it doesn’t have an end, and it looks different for everyone. I have been there, but there was a turning point where I could see things getting better, I felt a sense of hope albeit small, but still - hope. I was proud of myself for that small glimpse and as I was reflecting on that my hope was that others could find comfort in that. What brings you joy? Even if it’s just a glimpse - is it your children? Your significant other? Your family? Job? Creating art? Watching a movie? Coffee in the morning? Your favorite meal? Hold on to those moments that bring a smile to your face and know that there is a light, there is hope - and when you find that? Be proud that you did.
“Gratitude, help us to see what is there instead of what isn’t.”
"Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was his coat. When he was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life." -James Allan Francis
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