It's my birthday! And as normal, I began to take a few moments this past week to be introspective and self –reflective, taking stock of the past year, and years of my life. Wondering what area, I would like to improve on. But, as I headed down this familiar path, I realized that my practice of self -reflection and introspection really meant minimizing my accomplishments and maximizing the areas of my life where I feel like I've fallen short. It wasn’t really a balanced practice, where I celebrated the good things, and acknowledged my challenges. Instead, I tended to focus on only on the challenges and how I had missed the mark, not ever really giving myself a chance to say, “Wow, but that other stuff, was pretty amazing”! So, this year, I decided that I would take a different approach to my practice of introspection and self-reflection and focusing on what went wrong. This year, I decided, I WILL...”BREATHE”!
Recently, I was invited by a friend to join a women's Bible study at a local church. We studied Priscilla Shirer's book entitled "Breathe". In the study, she explained, that God did not create the Sabbath because He was tired after creating the world, He created the Sabbath, so He could look at His finished work and declare, “IT IS GOOD”! She talked about the importance of each of us practicing the Sabbath as a day of rest and reflection to honor God for the "GOOD" He has "created" in our lives.
Shirer also talked about how we as society gather, gather, gather, and never take a moment to rest. This concept resonated so loudly in my spirit that it disturbed the little rest I thought I possessed, and caused me to ask myself these questions:
Why do I take the commandment "thou shall not murder” so seriously, yet neglect the commandment to "remember the Sabbath and keep it holy"?
Why do I feel the need to gather, gather, gather?
Why is it that I don't trust God to make provision for the Sabbath Day, and instead try to gather instead of rest?
Like the Israelites, who gathered too much manna in disobedience to God and in the end, it was spoiled and of no use to them. I realized too, that my gathering instead of resting has caused what was meant to be my blessing into something that is spoiled and unable to be used for its true purpose in my life. I am forced to admit that I have too much and that I do too much! And if the truth be told, I have gathered so much… that I don't even really enjoy what I have. This was a startling revelation for me, the shopper, the planner, the doer. The person who really believed, that more was well…more! A perfect example of this is the use of my time. I have “gathered” so many things to do, good things, things I love, but because I am already thinking about the next “thing to do”, I am not present in the “thing” I am doing! And I am already resenting the “thing” I have to do next, because I have some “thing” to do after that! CRAY! CRAY!
My too much has caused me to forget why I was gathering in the first place! My gathering started off purposeful. To look nice, to make my husband proud, make a nice home...what happened? How did my gathering turn into greed...and my greed to pride...and my pride a direct consequence of not trusting God to make provision for me? I thank God for His unfailing love and grace towards me...revealing what's real, before the fall!
So, although I know it’s probably not your birthday, I encourage you to join me this year as I "BREATHE". Join me, as I purposefully take the time to reflect on what God is doing in me and through me, and not on what “I” haven’t achieved. As I intentionally "BREATHE" and commit myself to be present in the moment, trusting that I serve a God who has my next moment in His hands. This year, I will "BREATHE" knowing that each breath I take is God's own way of saying to me that what He has and is creating in me is GOOD!
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 NLT