It is nearly 6:00 am. I’ve been turning off the snooze every ten minutes since 4:30. As I lay there between buzzes, I struggled with all too familiar guilt and anxiousness. How could I have fallen so behind? How am I going to write a reflection about gratitude for forgiveness and righteousness outside of works when I feel so burdened by guilt over works undone? I don’t feel prepared for two of my classes. Today is the day that I’m going to have my teaching evaluated by my chair in one of those classes. I have papers in two classes that need to be graded and returned. My time and affection towards my husband have also been coming up short for too many weeks now. As I lay there I prayed for the grace of the readings to sink in. Flashes of grace would come in assurances that my hope rests in something greater than jobs done and that God is merciful. But assurance still wrestled with convictions such as a Pauline warning of taking advantage of liberty. All the while, I recognized that allowing myself to sit in the mire of guilt renders me less loving and less useful.
I want to turn to the Lord and be filled with the joy of salvation. I want to hear and be corrected by conviction that comes from God. However, I do not want to be distracted or pulled away from listening to Jesus by guilt fired by the deceiver. So, I will turn to the Lord today and claim the promise of the joy of salvation. I will acknowledge my sin and ask forgiveness. I will pray for the grace to accept forgiveness and to appreciate more deeply the awesome blessing of this forgiveness. I have acknowledged my fault to my husband this morning and am grateful that I was able to see the grace of forgiveness through him. The gift of human forgiveness is so powerful. We can bless others and feel the blessing of God’s forgiveness so concretely. I will acknowledge to my students that I have not graded their papers and ask for their forgiveness. I will do my best to lovingly work with my students in all my classes and put hope in God’s ability to bless those efforts above and beyond my own works. Though all my faults may be revealed, I will not fear any human repercussions. I will only fear falling away from abiding in God’s love.
I’m feeling better already. Oh, no! Now I’m late getting the kids to breakfast. Oh, Lord, save us from self-pity and self-doubt. Give us the grace to put our hope in you and to dwell on the blessings of your mercy and love. Save us from all that pulls us away from loving you and loving one another.
I turn to you, Lord, in times of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.
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