To recognize God’s grace in the provision of a heart of flesh is key. Much as I prefer the self-protection offered by cynicism, caution, and carbohydrates, finding my way back to my own belovedness has required receiving a new spirit, one of tenderness and one of vulnerability.
Rachel Held Evans, Wholehearted Faith
Is it possible to find “my way back to my own belovedness”? Might you be able to receive a new spirit? During the month of August I spent a week in the mountains on what I call “study leave.” This involves devouring books and plotting out the next six months of sermons but more than that it involves sitting still and staring out the window. I put on the brakes, immerse myself in the kind of solitude that allows me to listen to the noise inside my own soul, and practice the Sabbath rest that one Rabbi calls “a palace in time.” I have to admit that many days, carbohydrates, cynicism and caution seem more appealing to me than prayer.
But oftentimes God comes to us, when we drop the self-protection and pause to meditate, journal, worship, read, sing, walk, or just sit and stare out the window. I know in my mind that God loves me. But how do we experience that reality in the flesh? The Psalmist invites us to “Be still and know that I am God” And one of the 10 commandments invites us to rest, to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. The summon is not to rigidity but to freedom. The goal is to recognize God’s grace lavished upon us. We are already enough.
I know that we live in a hurry up world. Young parents especially know the constant demand to be productive. The phone buzzes with breaking news, the emails pile up, the mac and cheese must be cooked and the boss wants that proposal by 7:00am. Sometimes relaxation seems like an antique. Sometimes carbohydrates and cynicism seem the best antidote to stress. But when we turn to our faith, however flimsy and fragile it may feel, we might find our way back to our own belovedness and receive a new spirit.
Grace and Peace,