Release from Self-condemnation

Devotions for those who are weary of feeling not good enough, regardless of the source of those feelings.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Balance Between Discipline and Rest

Yesterday afternoon I was tired.  I found myself sitting in a comfortable chair, staring into space, feeling guilty about the two upstairs bedrooms that are in need of a thorough cleaning.  I prayed aloud, "Lord, what would you like me to do right now?"

The reply I received was so much the opposite of my self-inflicted ought-to's that I dismissed it.  I had the distinct impression that the Lord would like me to prop my feet up, lean back, wrap up in an afghan, and watch a Hallmark movie.

A Hallmark movie??

"Reverse psychology," I muttered as I heaved myself to my feet and plodded upstairs, where I puttered from room to room for the next two hours.  I finally cleaned the bathroom, and with a sense of having gotten something positive done at last, I went to bed.

This morning I was praying and once again thought about how the Lord had applied reverse psychology to get me up and moving, but I was mistaken. When I inquired of Him this was the reply I received:
Whenever you are tempted to receive your self-value from how much you have accomplished, you will most likely be invited to partake of My rest.  There are no pleasures or temptations in your path that I’ve not allowed: the pleasures as a release and a respite, the temptations as an opportunity to be strengthened.  You are very inclined to confuse the two.  This is because it is easier to say no to an allowed pleasure than it is to refuse a forbidden fruit.
How often I wear myself out because I want the sense of self-worth "getting something done" brings.  I want to list all of the things I've accomplished as proof that I have done a good job with my day.  I exhaust myself, and then have a terrible, often failing struggle to obey the Lord when he does call me to some action or act of self-denial.

Lord, help me to obey when You call me to rest, and obey when You call me to action, and grant me the wisdom to discern the difference between these two calls.  I lay down my need to prove my own self-worth and to find my worth in Christ alone.

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