Lent is a process of confession and repentance.
Yesterday I confessed my struggle with discontent and my resulting focus on what isn’t.
What I didn’t write about was the glorious results of confession and repentance.
After a good cry with Jesus I went on a couple of errands that needed to be done by the end of the business day.
I saw this:
I shared it on Instagram as soon as I saw it. What a gift.
Today I have spent the day encouraging others. Through spoken words, through hugs, through emails, so many ways. Encouragement extended to even the sweet lady who checked my groceries at Smart & Final.
I’m a nice enough person but truly I know it was the Holy Spirit working through me. I know my “fake it till you make it” and this day was not it.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
God’s plans for me on a daily basis include encouraging people with His love and His Word.
When I saw this sign last summer I knew I would need to be reminded.
There would be days like yesterday when I would be tempted to get down on myself or take in hard things that could distract me from my path.
I believe it is valuable to acknowledge the hard places, the suffering we experience when there is loss of any kind. Being misunderstood, over looked, rejected or forgotten; those are all things Jesus knows. He knows how hard and hurtful those experiences are. There is a sweet Mystery that transpires when we do endure suffering; we share in the fellowship of His sufferings.
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he expresses this Mystery this way:
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
We all have hard things. I won’t compare my things to yours; that diminishes each of our experiences. God is not surprised by what we are going through. He is sovereign over all. But in His great mercy, He helps us grow and change, little by little, to become more like His Son.
When I confessed my discontent God forgave me and showered the gracious gift of awareness and eyes to see a beautiful sunset and then He chose to work through me today to encourage others in His name.
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Learning to let go and lean in.