Thursday, June 10, 2010

Finding Fault

Romans 15:13
"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace, because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."

There is an air of discontent about me in recent days. I find myself waking up and thinking that I just don't want to get out of bed and face the same old routine. Normally I am very content with having one day flow into the next with very little variation. I have grown very wary of change. But there are seasons of discontent it seems, and this is one of them.

I find myself longing for the summers of my childhood, when we visited that enchanted island, walked on pristine beaches and played in the frigid waves. Summers with that sense of timelessness and no responsibilities.

When unchecked, the discontent spills over into an impatience with myself. I look at my life and my heart, see the faults and failings and want to give up. I examine closely the work I love best to do, compare it with others and find it sadly lacking. "What place is there for me," I think, "when so many others do it so much better than I could ever hope to?"

Without much enthusiasm I opened my little devotional book to today's reading, and there was Romans 15:13 - a verse I had memorized some time last year. It had spoken volumes to my heart back then, and I began to feel a stirring as I read the devotional passage:

"I think that many of your troubles arise from an exaggerated anxiety, a secret impatience with your own faults; and this restlessness, when once it has possession of your mind, is the cause of numberless trifling faults, which worry you and go on adding to your burden until it becomes unbearable. I would have you honest in checking and correcting yourself, but at the same time patient under the consciousness of your frailty. Remember that Jesus our Lord loves to dwell within a quiet heart, and to come to those who are at peace with themselves; restlessness and anxiety hinder our seeing Him, even when He is beside us and speaking to us."
Pere Hyacinthe Besson (1829-1896)

I know that I tend to be very hard on myself; some have even said I am a perfectionist (who me?). It is especially true about the creative things I do. When Michael Neale was here he told a little story that made me weep. He had been on the verge of having some of his music recorded. At the last moment, the company decided they wouldn't be able to use his music after all. They were "going in a different direction." He was hugely disappointed.

Later, during a time of worship, he heard the Lord speak to his heart. I cannot remember his exact words, but the thought was, "Who are you writing your songs for Michael; who is more important to you than Me?" He said the tears just began to flow. Then He heard the Father whisper, "Michael, I love your songs."

I thought of that this morning after I read my devotional. Then I read a post at Ann's that beautifully reinforced what the Father had been speaking to my heart.

When I am tempted to compare myself to others; when I wallow in self-pity and find fault with what I've done and who I am, I am denying what the Father says about me. When I bring my offering to Him, with no other motive than to bring honor and glory to Him, He is well pleased.

I don't know why it is so difficult for the human heart to receive such unconditional love. We have only to look at a cross to know the depth of that love.

I come today asking forgiveness for my own foolishness, knowing I will receive grace and love beyond anything I could ask or think. Make me new Lord, and fill me with your Spirit so that I may love You more.