In my busyness the last few months, I’ve not taken time to put papers, receipts, books, cards, and other miscellaneous items in their designated places. This morning, I set out to change that. As I was sorting through the items piled next to my computer, I soon realized that it would take me more than one day (likely, many days) to put my office in order; this realization made me feel depressed.
Wondering why, I prayed for insight and soon became aware of this subconscious belief: Before I die, I must correct all of my past errors and see to it that my house is in perfect order. In other words: to please God, along with needing to make up for yesterday’s mistakes and failures and not repeat any of them, I must also attain and maintain a picture-perfect house.
The impossibility of doing so finally became clear to me, and the inclusiveness of God’s forgiveness—which I’ve embraced for years—became more solidly rooted in my heart.
God knows that perfection, in any form, is beyond our capability.
He knows about our failures of yesterday; he knows about the ways in which we will fall short today, and he knows what our errors of tomorrow will look like. His forgiveness includes yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
That is called “Grace.”What are the implications of this grace? We can stop feeling anxious about our performance in life. We can take a break and relax. Even though, we have a tendency to wander during the day, we don’t have to get stressed about it.
God’s forgiveness includes a provision for our wandering–the in gift of the Holy Spirit.
This is the promised “Helper” that he told his disciples he would send to all of us who rely on and accept his sacrificial death as payment for our failures and shortcomings.
I compare the Holy Spirit to an internal GPS. In order to determine my destination and map out my action steps for the day, I prayerfully read a portion of Scripture; then, I ask the Holy Spirit to direct me in my choices. I know that sometimes I will make a wrong or unwise choice.
“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” Isaiah 53:6 NLT
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father-God, show me how to live in the now—
To slow my racing mind;
To hear your quiet voice;
To wait before I move into the traffic of today,
Where impatient vendors
Honk for my attention.
Holy Spirit, be my GPS—
Guide me to my destination;
Show me the safest route;
Quickly tell me, when I override your direction;
Recalculate my route, when I impulsively
Turn onto a dead-end street.
Jesus, you are not a mechanical device.
You are entirely God and entirely human.
You offer me not simply direction but relationship—
Understanding, compassion, wisdom
Friendship that will last forever
Why would I turn down such an offer?
When I wander from God’s pathway, I try not to beat myself up about it; my always accurate GPS will correct me when my ears or my eyes or my heart distract me. I’m learning to focus more on listening to his words than on reaching my desired goals for the day; then, even if I haven’t completed everything I set out to do, I can sleep peacefully.
INSPIRED NOT DRIVEN
That’s how I like “livin’”;
My cup overflows; I’m not drained.
When I linger in bed
‘Til the thoughts in my head
Are aligned with the Spirit’s voice,
I feel peace; I have strength;
I’m not hindered by angst.
I can handle the load called “Today.”