Thursday, May 20, 2010

soul weary

Lately, I've been feeling soul weary. Bone dry. Life circumstances beyond my control are sucking the life out of me. The same ole tricks aren't working anymore.

However I decided to go on a treasure hunt to my own bookshelves and pulled out a dusty new book. You know the kind. You buy it with every intention of reading it immediately and then it somehow gets shoved to the back burner only to be forgotten. Well I rediscovered a bible study guide entitled Grace: An Invitation to a Way of Life. It's part of the Pursuing Spiritual Transformation Series from Willow Creek.

So I set myself down to dig in to the first session: Living in Grace.
It began with Psalm 23:1-3A

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul."

This verse is an invitation. An invitation to live by grace. God's grace. I know I was saved by grace but my heavenly Father wants me to live by grace. Jesus was the perfect example of living in His Father's grace. He allowed himself to be led to green pastures. He was content. He did not want. All his needs were taken care of because he had eyes to see the steady flow of God's grace. Jesus even states in Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

So what does this mean?

First I need to start truly paying attention to the gifts of grace that I otherwise take for granted. I need to take note of the cool breezes, the laughter of my children, the encouraging word from a friend, the warm meal, cool water on a hot afternoon. Truly the list could go on and on. All these gifts of grace are moments the Shepherd want to use to replenish and restore me.

So here's a perfect example...

The other day I decided to go to my son's school to watch and take pictures of a special outdoor fun day that was planned. I asked my mom to watch my daughter while I went to spend time with my little guy. By the time I got up to the school which was still early, I had already missed out on the fun for the day. The teacher hadn't given a time so I assumed that it was going to be going on the entire morning. I decided to leave so that I could relieve my mom and let her get back to her day. I cried and fumed in the car at the wasted morning. I called my mom and she gently reminded me to enjoy the quiet time in the car. She was also enjoying the one-on-one time with her granddaughter so all was not lost. I was so discontented that I didn't allow myself to see my Shepherd's grace. Quiet time. Something I long for in my loud, busy days with two small children at home.

In the study the author, John Ortberg, states
When our spiritual eyes begin to work, we become aware of his grace all through our days. Our lives become filled with genuine gratitude instead of with ceaseless discontentment....Your Shepherd has provided everything necessary to transform your rushed soul into a restored one.

Dear Lord,
Give me fresh eyes to see your gracious gifts. Even in the ordinary. In the big things and small things. Help me to be open to the ways you, Lord, want to lead me to green pastures and quiet waters so that I don't pass up the opportunity to be restored by You. May I be conscious of Your presence in my life. Amen.

What are the everyday graces you are experiencing today?