I'm also realizing that this time that I've been given is like an extended "Sabbath" for me. It is an extended time of rest and re-centering for me. A time for me to reconnect with my God and to truly absorb His words, His love, His compassion. A time for me to really, honestly search His heart and find my place in His plan. I am a busy person. So busy. Too busy. It is my nature to want/need to be intensely busy and overworked. I feel like if I'm not spread just a little too thin, I'm useless or lazy. I also have struggled for years with this mentality of perfectionism. I have misread and misunderstood God's "commandments". I have believed for all these years of my life that the reason why bad things happen to "seemingly" good people is that somewhere along the way we have messed up. We sinned, we broke a commandment, we didn't listen. And God is punishing us. I've believed that the 10 commandments were meant to be a "touchstone" for when we are experiencing turmoil. For example, "I didn't get that job that I was certain I was perfect for...it's probably because I coveted my neighbor. I deserved that." Like His commandments were some way for us to reason why He would "strike us down" with strife or pain.
But they are not God's "cause and effect" poster. His commandments are meant to make living in this world easier! Easier! Ha! What a revelation this is for me! God's plan will be carried out no matter what. There is not a "conditional" plan. Like if A, B, and C happen, I'll bless you with this, that, or the other. If you complete these tasks, then I'll give you your heart's desire. No! Why doesn't he want us to "worship graven images"? Because He doesn't want us to take our eyes off of Him! Why does He command us "to observe the Sabbath and keep it Holy"? Because He knows we are all prone to busyness, and He wants us to receive His peace, His rest, His centering in the midst of this hectic life. You will walk the road that God has paved for you...no matter what. But walk that road by following HIS road map. We are called to "follow His commands" because He really wants us to have the best that this life has to offer us. He wants us to keep our eyes on the prize which is an eternity with Him in Heaven!
We are not perfect, but God does not mean for us to measure our imperfection alongside His Perfection. As if to explain how inadequate and cheap we are. We are meant to lean on His Perfection and not rely on our own futile attempts to get there on our own. We are challenged to view ourselves the way God views us through the blood of Jesus Christ. In His eyes, we are robed in Righteousness, wrapped in Light, His perfect creation. So no attempt on our parts to be righteous or perfect can really get us any closer to Him seeing us in that light. He already does! And He knows every step of the journey ahead of us...all the way to Heaven. In order to receive the blessings of this life, we need only to keep our eyes on Him, keep the end in mind, remember that we are already perfection in His eyes. And realize that in order to live the good life, we just need to listen to His voice and fight the fight; finish the course as much the way He did as is humanly possible. When we stumble, when we make mistakes, those things are not "punishments". They are part of the journey!
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3