Holiday Devotional - December 8, 2016

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Breathe

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10

I find that December is incredibly hurried and busy. But if I'm honest with myself, it is just the culmination of an already packed, busy life. Just tack a bit more onto the last month of the year. My life is full of busyness, worry and striving… so much so that I don't even realize it's the air I'm breathing. I feel like I'm barely keeping up. If this is what my life is on the outside what is going on in my soul? Why all the busyness, worry and striving? I do and do, to make my life feel worthy. I try to make my house and my family look more beautiful, interesting, and "put together" than they are. So then I can feel okay with myself and more acceptable amidst an expected standard of living. I sign my kids up for one more activity, so they might have more confidence in themselves. Oh heavens. I try to love sincerely, give generously, pray more, read more, and still wonder, "Lord, have I done enough today? Are you pleased?" But there are times when I hear God say, "What are you striving for? Why do you think you're not enough? Why so much worry? What are your eyes fixed on?" He invites me to look at the depths of my heart and ask, "Why do you keep doing what you're doing?"

And then, he reminds me to breathe.

Jesus came to offer himself as a living sacrifice once for all. He entered into heaven to come before the presence of God on our behalf. "By a single offering, he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." (Hebrews 10:14) He came to set us free from the striving to make ourselves worthy.

So breathe, my friends. Rest. Rest from perfectionism, from all the doing. Allow your kids, your spouse, your friends to just be. Ask God to let you see yourself as He sees you. Sit down. Meditate on what Jesus has already done, and may your soul be found in Him.

The best obedience of my hands
Dares not appear before Thy throne
But faith can answer Thy demands
By pleading what my Lord has done.

Oh may my soul be found in Him
And of His righteousness partake.
Amen, amen.
(From the hymn "I Boast No More." Lyrics by Isaac Watts)

For further meditation, read Hebrews 10:19-23, Romans 12:1-2 (The Message) and listen to Caedmon's Call version of "I Boast No More" here: https://youtu.be/rWansh2PyTM

Susan Messer