04 August 2012

{faith} promises promises

Promises. As humankind, we often take them with a grain of salt. Sure -- that's nice, but I bet you won't really keep that promise. We're cynical. Skeptical. We don't believe.

And we do it ourselves.

On many occasions, my husband has promised to take the garbage out or change that stinky diaper, but he hasn't followed through {or at least not in my timing!}. So, of course, I rush in to do it myself. I'm kinda like that. A DIYer.

But God wants us to rest in His promises. Believing He'll follow through. Letting Him follow through. He will keep every promise. I need to live inside that place of security and let Him do the doing. I need to be, not do.

hebrews 6:12
We want you to walk in the footsteps of the faithful who came before you, from whom you can learn to be steadfast in pursuing the promises of God.

joshua 21:45
He kept every promise he had made to the Israelites; each one came true.

It's about pursuing the promises. 
It's about believing that they are true to the point of 
letting ourselves rest in their goodness, 
rather than trying to fulfill them ourselves.

philippians 4:19
romans 8:28
james 1:17
ephesians 3:20
psalm 46:1
God will give me everything I need.
God will work everything out.
Every good thing I do is a gift from God.
God's power will work through me.
God will protect me and give me strength.


More often than not, I live the try-hard life. I try hard to keep the house clean. I try hard to have well-behaved, polite kids. I try hard to cook delicious meals. I try hard to be a happy wife.

But of course I fail. There are miserable days when nothing works. The kids disappoint me. The meals flop. I'm a disgruntled mess when my husband gets home from work. And very often I turn all that failure into shame. And I live inside that self-berating place until I feel discouraged to the point of giving up.

Why? Why do I try so hard? Who am I trying to impress? What motivates me to want everything just so perfect?
I'm trying hard to be good enough for grace. 

Emily Freeman writes about this very thing. She says we can believe the darkness of failure and shame OR we can trust the promises of God and rest in His strength and mercy. She reminds us that there is NOTHING we need to do to earn God's favor. 

We don't need to impress Him. We simply need to let Him love us. 
"Guilt is a good thing, a God-reminder when things aren't right and an opportunity to change them. Shame is what happens when we let guilt fester and sink deeper and don't deal with it. Shame waits until my defenses are down on a sleepless night and then begins to whisper doubt: Maybe you're not doing enough. Maybe you're not cut out for this. Maybe you're messing them up. Who do you think you are?

And in that place, I have a choice. I can believe the dark suggestions that it is up to me to get it right on my own. Or I can trust that I was made in God's image for such a time as this, to parent these children he has given and to receive grace and mercy from his hand.

Here's the truth: aside from accepting Jesus as your personal Savior, there is nothing left to do to gain God's favor. Nothing. And that means no thing."
 Receive the promises. Count the ever-multiplying gifts He gives. Remain in Him.
"As we practice receiving the lovely things as from God's hand, we are perhaps more quick to trust him even when it all goes wrong."
When we pursue the promises, we start to realize what God gives us. We need to know what we have, what we've been promised.
"Knowing what you have makes all the difference. As believers, we have been given everything we need for life and godliness, but if we don't know it, we will never experience the reality of it."
[Aaaah. This is the journey I'm on. It doesn't happen overnight. I hope writing all this down will help me remember what is most important and will be an encouragement to you, the reader, as well.]

all quotations from Emily's book Grace for the Good Girl